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Unit information: Race and Resistance in South Africa (Level H Special Subject) in 2021/22

Unit name Race and Resistance in South Africa (Level H Special Subject)
Unit code HIST37010
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Rob Skinner
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit explores opposition to systems of racial segregation and apartheid in twentieth-century South Africa. Using a range of sources, including visual sources, personal accounts and literature, the unit addresses the ideological foundations of resistance to white supremacy and the legislative framework that sustained it and relates them to the social and cultural changes wrought by the processes of industrialization and urbanization. It deals with the development of nationalist and pan-African responses to the apartheid ‘project’, and sets these alongside histories of international solidarity movements, cold war rivalries and decolonization. The unit explores themes critical to an understanding of the social, cultural and ideological foundations of anti-apartheid within, and external to, South Africa. Students will examine the ways in which individuals experienced and enacted their opposition to apartheid with reference to local structures of power as well as transnational ideologies, such as liberal humanitarianism, emerging global norms of anti-racism and human rights.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit students should have:

  • Developed an in depth understanding of race and resistance in South Africa
  • Become more experienced and competent in working with an increasingly specialist range of primary sources
  • Become more adept at contributing to and learning from a small-group environment.

Teaching Information

Classes will involve a combination of class discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Information

1 x 3500-word Essay (50%) [ILOs 1-3]; 1 x Timed Assessment (50%) [ILOs 1-3]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. HIST37010).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.