Race and Power - ENGL8001

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 7 30 (15) Sarah Dustagheer checkmark-circle


This module examines the relation between race and power from the premodern period to the contemporary. Through symptomatic readings of a range of literary and theoretical texts, this module introduces students to critical concepts and historical moments that are essential for understanding race and power. Key questions addressed are: how does race emerge and develop as a concept, how does its relation to power change, and what role does literature, theatre and film play in shaping and challenging racial identity? From Shakespeare's Othello and Zadie Smith’s The Wife of Willesden (2021) to race theory and anti-racist politics, this module explores discourses that grapple with the stark realities of our age.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 280
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Formative assessment – (1,000 words) 20%
Assignment – essay (4,000 words) 80%

Reassessment methods
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Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.
The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages: https://kent.rl.talis.com/index.html

Indicative reading list

Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race (2018)
Bessie Head, A Question of Power (1974)
Tessa McWatt, Shame on Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging (2019)
William Shakespeare, Othello (1622)
A. Sivanandan, Catching History on the Wing: Race, Culture and Globalisation (2008)
Zadie Smith, The Wife of Willesden (2021)
Ayanna Thompson, Blackface (2021)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module, students will be able to:

1 Identify the main concerns of theories of race and power, including critiques of imperialism and colonialism and the theorisation of decolonisation struggles
2 Understand the role of literature and artist expression in the articulation of race and power
3 Demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the works of key intellectuals in the field
4 Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the historical contexts of racial and political discourses

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module, students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate an ability to apply close reading techniques to a diverse range of material (text, film, theatre)
2 Conduct self-directed research and demonstrate an ability to discuss, evaluate and creatively deploy critical and theoretical sources of relevance.
3 Construct original, articulate and well-substantiated arguments.
4 Identify and evaluate advanced research questions.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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