Race and Racism - SOCI5370

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


What is meant by 'racism'? Charges of racism are seemingly everywhere – in the workplace, in the streets, in everyday interactions. But what exactly is racism? Is it beliefs about racial inferiority or superiority? Is it found in actions and consequences whether people intended to be racist or not? We will first review various theories of racism, and critically assess how changing conceptualisations of racism arise in specific, socio-political contexts. We will also consider whether a colour-blind future is desirable and/or possible.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


BA Sociology and associated courses

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Essay (2500 words) - 50%.
Examination (2 hours) - 50%

Reassessment methods

100% coursework

Indicative reading

Eds. Martin Bulmer & John Solomos, Racism (1999)
George Fredrickson, Racism: a Short history (2002)
Andrew Pilkington, Racial Disadvantage and Ethnic Diversity (2003)
John Solomos & Les Back, Racism and Society (1996)
Mairtin Mac an Ghaill, Contemporary Racisms and Ethnicities (1999)
Ali Rattansi, Racism: an Introduction (2008)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

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

8.1 Clarify and debate the meanings surrounding the term 'racism'. 'Racism' has come to be used so broadly, so that it is in danger of
becoming an inflated term. Students taking this module should be able to demonstrate their understanding of the historical evolution of
this term, and the contemporary debates surrounding this term;
8.2 Critically assess how changing conceptualizations of racism arise in specific historical, sociopolitical contexts;
8.3 Rethink and refine the traditional emphasis upon racism, as something which predominantly affects 'Black' people. Much recent work in
this area has addressed the need to explore the potentially disparate experiences of racisms by various ethnic minority groups;
8.4 Explore the comparative experiences of ethnic minorities, for example the ways in which they experience and respond to forms of racial
discrimination and abuse in Western advanced capitalist societies;
8.5 Assess the effectiveness of state policies to combat racism, for instance through 'positive discrimination' and EO policies.

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

9.1 Understand and disseminate complex theoretical material;
9.2 Develop an ability to present arguments orally in seminar discussions;
9.3 Organize information in a clear and coherent manner through essay writing and seminar discussion;
9.4 Develop research skills via use of online sources and e-journals.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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