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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Anticolonial Political Thought (PLIT10164)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course introduces some of the key texts and figures of anticolonial political thought, and some of the major responses to this tradition. It is grounded in the global history of colonialism/imperialism and anticolonial resistance, in both theory and practice. It thereby provides students with the tools critically to to assess the engagement - and lack thereof - with this tradition across the Western human and social sciences.
Course description This course has three main strands. The first introduces conceptual approaches to the study of colonialism: topics may include liberal imperialism, civilization and empire, (settler) colonialism, etc. The second surveys practices and strategies of anticolonial resistance: topics may include Pan-Africanism, Négritude, anticolonial nationalism, revolutionary (non-) violence, the limits of formal decolonization, etc. The third critically assesses academic approaches to this tradition: topics here may include orientalism, subaltern studies, decoloniality, indigeneity, etc. Throughout, we will be concerned with the relevance and legacies of this tradition to contemporary political struggles: these may include indigenous land claims, climate colonialism, reparations for slavery, etc.

The course prioritizes dialogical seminar engagement grounded in close, careful reading of classic texts of anticolonial political thought. Some sessions may be introduced by a brief theoretical overview or historical contextualization. But students primarily engage with difficult ideas and concepts directly through group exercises, moderated online discussions, and/or student-led discussions, rather than relying on clarificatory lectures from the instructor. This dialogical approach to classroom discussion is paired with a graduated system of seminar writing: students begin by writing a conceptual analysis of a single author/text for their mid-term essay before moving to comparison of (at least) two authors/texts for their final paper.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Politics and International Relations 1A: Concepts and Debates (PLIT08017) OR Politics in a Changing World: An Introduction for non-specialists (PLIT08012) OR Introduction to Politics and International Relations (PLIT08004)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students who lack the compulsory pre-requisites but have completed comparable courses should contact the Course Organiser to confirm if they are eligible to take this course.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least four Politics/IR courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). Only university/college level courses will be considered.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 80 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Seminar Participation 20%:
- Active participation in seminar discussions - 5%
- (Bi-)Weekly Discussion Posts - 5%
- Class leadership of one session (pairs/small groups)- 10%

Written Work - 80%:
- Midterm Essay (1500 words) - 30% - Students will answer one question focusing on conceptual analysis of one text and/or author covered in the weekly seminar.
- Final Essay (2500 words) - 50% - Students will answer one question focusing on comparative analysis of (at least) two texts and/or authors covered in the weekly seminar.

Essay questions will be set by the instructor, and students will have a choice between them. Alternatively, with guidance and discretionary approval of the course convenor, students can devise their own essay question for the final essay only.
Feedback Feedback on all assessed work shall normally be returned within three weeks of submission. Where this is not possible, students shall be given clear expectations regarding the timing and methods of feedback
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate an understanding of key texts and thinkers of the anticolonial tradition of political thought.
  2. evaluate arguments about the nature and implications of colonization/imperialism
  3. assess normative and strategic questions about how colonialism can be resisted
  4. write clearly and confidently about core concepts in political theory and the history of political thought
  5. defend interpretations of challenging historical and theoretical texts which discuss (anti)colonialism
Reading List
Lorenzo Veracini, Settler Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview
E.W. Blyden. The Origin and Purpose of African Colonization
Amilcar Cabral. Resistance and Decolonization
Françoise Vergès, Decolonial Feminism
James Tully, Dialogue and Decolonization
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course will aim to make students

- creative problem solvers and researchers, by confronting them with complex and rewarding tasks in class;
- critical and reflective thinkers, by giving them the opportunity to choose their own assignment topic and by prompting them to develop distinct viewpoints on the complex topic discussed;
- skilled communicators, by focusing on in-seminar debates.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Jared Holley
Course secretaryMr Ethan Alexander
Tel: (0131 6)50 4001
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