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Unit information: Ethnicity and Racism in 2015/16

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Unit name Ethnicity and Racism
Unit code SOCI20017
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Therese O'Toole
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The unit provides a theoretical understanding of ethnicity, race and racism in the modern world. Students are encouraged to think about the contested nature of the concepts of race and ethnicity, and consider the complexities involved in researching these concepts. The unit examines developments in the sociological study of ethnicity, race and racism, including the emergence of areas of study such as the study of white ethnicities, ‘mixed-race’ identities or intersecting identities. Finally, the unit encourages students to locate ideas about ethnicity, race and racism in relation to broader debates concerning the nation, the governance of diversity and globalisation.

The aims of this unit are to:

  • highlight the distinctive contribution of sociological concepts and methods to the analysis of ethnicity, race and racism
  • communicate the contested nature of concepts of ‘ethnicity’ and ‘race’
  • consider the development of the sociological study of ethnicity, race and racism and reflect on the emergence of areas of study within the discipline
  • locate ethnicity, race and racism within broader contexts of the nation-state, globalisation and the governance of ethnic and cultural diversity

Intended Learning Outcomes

At Level 5 (second year), on successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the contested nature of ethnicity and race
  • demonstrate awareness of the different sociological approaches to analysing ethnicity, race and racism
  • appreciate ways in which the sociological study of ethnicity, race and racism has developed
  • show an ability to apply sociological concepts and theory in a specific area such as the relationship between ethnicity, race and national identity, the relationship between race, ethnicity and gender, the impact of globalisation on ethnic identities, or the implications of a politics of recognition for governing ethnically diverse societies.

Teaching Information

1hr lecture and 2hr seminar.

Assessment Information

Essay 100%

Reading and References

  • Les Back and John Solomos (eds.) (2009) Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader (London: Routledge)
  • Martin Bulmer and John Solomos (eds.) (1999) Racism (Delhi: OUP)
  • Floya Anthias and Nira Yuval-Davies (1992) Racialized Boundaries (London: Routledge)
  • Montserrat Guibernau and John Rex, (eds.) (1997) The Ethnicity Reader: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and Migration, (Cambridge: Polity Press)
  • Steve Fenton (2003) Ethnicity (Cambridge: Polity Press)
  • Peter Ratcliffe (2004) ‘Race’, Ethnicity and Difference (Maidenhead: Open University Press)