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The Postcolonial Empire: Race, Gender, and Power in World Politics


Admission requirements

Admission to the Master International Relations, track International Studies. Other students who are interested in this course, please contact the co-ordinator of studies


This course centres the question of power in the current world order and analyses the constitutive absence of race and gender in International Relations. By using insight from other disciplines including sociology and cultural studies, the course examines some prominent issues that animate and configure contemporary global politics, including debates around migration, citizenship, security and development. The course will be structured in three parts: the first will be devoted to ‘themes’, the second to ‘critique’ and the last third to ‘alternatives’. Rather than providing answers to complex questions, the course will be designed to get students to think about what is often accepted as “common-sense” in the field of International Relations and to highlight the Eurocentric and gendered dimensions of the discipline.

Course objectives

The course is aimed at students who want to engage critically with and challenge the conventional disciplinary boundaries of International Relations. In so doing, the objective is to encourage students to think deeply about how knowledge is produced and cultivated in Western academia. Students would need to read widely and should be able to appraise and analyse literature pertinent to each seminar topic from week to week and be able to think broadly about their position on the issues raised.


See the website

Mode of instruction


Course Load

  • 24 Hours of classes

  • 120 hours of reading and writing of reviews (5 hours per week over 12 weeks)

  • 60 hours to prepare and complete literature and document analyses

  • 30 hours to prepare presentation

  • 46 hours to complete the final essay

Total: 280 Hours for 10 ECTS

Assessment method

Students are expected to:

  • do the pre-assigned readings prior to each class, and participate fully in the discussions. You should bring the readings to class;

  • submit a short discussion paper every week before class (max 1 page) reviewing the main arguments of the pre-assigned readings (no summaries!)

  • submit a proposal for an end of term paper, which contains: research
    question or hypothesis; a 1 page outline, and a preliminary bibliography;

  • write and present end of term paper on a well-defined aspect of the course (max.
    3,500 words).

Resit: The resit for the final examined element is only available to students whose mark of the final examined element is insufficient.


Some reading will be available on Blackboard. Students should check Blackboard regularly for announcements.

Reading list

Background reading and core texts:

Derek Greogry, The Colonial Present: Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, WB Press (2004)

Ann McClintock, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Conquest, Routledge (1995)

Anne Laura Stoler, Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule, University of California Press (2010)

Edward Said, Orientialism, Penguin Books (2003)


Via uSis

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Dr. N. Manchanda