IR6011 - Decolonial Politics

What will I learn on this module?

This module will give students a theoretical and empirical understanding of decolonial politics. The first part of the module will cover key schools of thought in decolonial theory and the historical context of the five hundred years of European colonialism on which they draw. The second part of the module will apply decolonial theories and concepts to a number of contemporary issues and topics, including humans’ relationship to nature and the climate emergency, indigenous sovereignty, decolonial research methodologies, the case for reparations, and debates around decolonising higher education itself. Students will be encouraged to think and learn through objects and museum exhibits alongside standard, text-based resources, and this aspect of the module is fully integrated into the form of assessment.

How will I learn on this module?

Students will be given weekly academic input through lectures, interactive workshops and, where possible, site visits to local museums. These will guide their independent study on the module, which will consist in preparing for the weekly workshops and assessments. A workshop will be devoted to advice and guidance on preparing the exhibition portfolio. Students will devise their own essay topic in close consultation with the module leader, and essay guidance will be provided at pertinent points throughout the module. Students will also be expected to engage in group learning activities during workshops, with the support of the module leader.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module tutor will be available throughout the module for questions and enquiries, whether it be during class time, scheduled office hours, or via email. Additional, individual tutorial time will also be available for all students who wish to take advantage of the opportunity. Students will be introduced to the module assessment criteria during class time so that they are fully aware of how their work will be marked. Feedback on their first assessment, which is designed to encourage creativity and self-reflection, will also feed forward to the second assessment.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1) Knowledge and understanding of key concepts and theories in decolonial thought
2) Informed overview of key current debates in decolonial politics, including how they are represented in museums

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3) Ability to evaluate and critique decolonial theories and concepts from different perspectives
4) Ability to apply decolonial theories and concepts to a range of contemporary political debates and museum exhibits

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5) Ability to reflect on one’s own learning in the process of planning a museum exhibit

How will I be assessed?

Formative feedback will be provided in workshops, tutorials and through Blackboard discussion boards on the exhibition planning process and the development of essay questions.

1 exhibition project portfolio including 1000 word reflective commentary: 50% (MLO 1, 2, 4, 5)

The project portfolio will include the following:

1. Site plan

2. Titled Exhibition Catalogue to include:

(a) Object descriptors (name of object, size, material and source);

(b) Original object interpretative labels (no more than 80 words per label, up to a total of 750 words)

(c) Up to 5 original interpretative poster boards (no more than 150 words per board)

1 2000 word essay: 50% (MLO 1, 2, 3, 4)





Module abstract

Decolonial politics explores how and why Eurocentrism, capitalism and racism have proven more durable than colonialism itself and continue to permeate societies and dominant knowledge systems to this day. Politics is about governments and economies and trade and defence, but just as importantly, it’s about who gets to dominate others in all sorts of ways. Politics is also about the many identifiers that distinguish those who ‘belong’ from those who do not. Belonging to a powerful group tends to bestow privilege, security, confidence and an appetite for risk that can entrench and perpetuate power. In turn, museums are entrusted with discerning what is valuable and worth preserving as heritage, making them remarkably powerful - and hence political – institutions that tell people what should be considered central to their understanding of history, beauty and memory. That is why this module uses museums to understand contemporary decolonial politics.

Course info

UCAS Code L2L2

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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