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SO356-15 Postcolonial Theory and Politics

Undergraduate Level 3
Module leader
Sivamohan Valluvan
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

An engagement of the key thinkers that have given shape to the tradition of postcolonial theory. To also explore the different themes that this theoretical body attends to: racialisation, Orientalism and culture, capitalism and global economics, feminism, secularism and religion, war and violence, nation and nationalism.

Module web page

Module aims

This course is focused on developing students’ ability to engage with a range of approaches that shaped postcolonial thinking and practice. The course explores the different concepts and themes proposed by different fields of postcolonial theory in order to better understand both contemporary and historical social processes – ranging from a critical understanding of the broader historical sweep of capitalism to the particularities of contemporary war, migration and nationalisms.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Introduction: the postcolonial perspective and situation the history of colonialism
Fanon on racialisation and subjectivity
Said on Orientalism and discourse
Postcolonial challenge to sociology
Postcolonial Marxism on capitalism
Postcolonial Feminism
Postcolonialism on nationalism and cosmopolitanism
Postcolonialism on war and violence
Postcolonialism on religion and secularism

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • be familiar with contemporary debates in postcolonial theory and politics
  • have developed advanced skills in reading and presenting primary texts in postcolonial theory
  • understand the importance of different theoretical frameworks in postcolonial accounts of substantive contemporary political issues
  • be able to critically examine major contemporary political, social, and cultural issues.

incorporates perspectives from across the humanities - with english/literary theory thinkers in particular


Postcolonial theory assumes an explicitly global perspective and awareness.

Subject specific skills

Engaging close readings of formative theoretical texts

Transferable skills

Close engagement of complex written material
Written skills involved in converting complex theoretical texts into accessible written presentation
Debate and verbal skills involved in workshop activity.

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 9 sessions of 1 hour (6%)
Practical classes 9 sessions of 2 hours (12%)
Private study 123 hours (82%)
Total 150 hours
Private study description

close reading of key text for each work and preparation through answering written form questions set for each reading.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A1
Weighting Study time
3000 word essay 100%

Student to answer one essay question - each substantive week will have a corresponding essay question the the student may chose from.

Feedback on assessment

Written feedback on 1 x 100% essay


This module is Core optional for:

  • ULAA-ML33 Undergraduate Law and Sociology
    • Year 3 of ML33 Law and Sociology
    • Year 3 of ML33 Law and Sociology

This module is Optional for:

  • USOA-L301 BA in Sociology
    • Year 3 of L301 Sociology
    • Year 3 of L301 Sociology
    • Year 3 of L301 Sociology
  • Year 4 of USOA-L306 BA in Sociology (with Intercalated Year)
  • Year 3 of USOA-L314 Undergraduate Sociology and Criminology

This module is Unusual option for:

  • UPHA-V7ML Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics
    • Year 3 of V7ML Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Tripartite)
    • Year 3 of V7ML Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Tripartite)
    • Year 3 of V7ML Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Tripartite)

This module is Option list A for:

  • ULAA-ML34 BA in Law and Sociology (Qualifying Degree)
    • Year 3 of ML34 Law and Sociology (Qualifying Degree)
    • Year 4 of ML34 Law and Sociology (Qualifying Degree)
  • Year 4 of ULAA-ML33 Undergraduate Law and Sociology

This module is Option list B for:

  • Year 3 of UPOA-ML13 Undergraduate Politics and Sociology
  • Year 4 of UPOA-ML14 Undergraduate Politics and Sociology (with Intercalated year)