Module code: SOCM075

Module Overview

This module centres around the core concepts of race, ethnicity, racism and intersectionality. It explores how modern society emerged and developed in tandem with the concept of race and strategies of racism. The module will examine the historical construction of race in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries before considering theoretical approaches to the study of race and gender, race and class, whiteness, multiculturalism and cultural racism, space and segregation, mixed-race studies and decolonisation. We will consider whether we are moving towards a 'post-race' society, and whether this is possible and indeed desirable.


The module relates to the programme more broadly by focusing on notions of identity and diversity with a particular focus on ethnicity, racism, and social justice.

Module provider


Module Leader

HARMAN Vicki (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative key content themes include:


  • Key concepts of race, racism, ethnicity, whiteness and intersectionality

  • Historical manifestations of race and racism and the politics of immigration

  • Recent and contemporary examples of racial discrimination

  • Different approaches to living with diversity such as assimilationism, community cohesion and anti-racism

  • Decolonisation, activism and social change


Indicative weekly themes which may be amended for each year of study, include:

  • Historical perspectives on race, ethnicity, the enlightenment and empire

  • The politics of race and immigration 1940s - present

  • Race and the meaning of ‘whiteness’

  • Intersectionality

  • Multiculturalism, community cohesion and beyond

  • Decolonisation, education and racial justice

  • Connecting race, space and place

  • Theorising ‘mixed-race’

  • Activism and social change

  • ‘Post-race’ and neo-liberalism

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Essay 50
Coursework Case Study 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:


The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of key debates in ethnic and racial studies.


Summative assessment


The summative assessment for this module consists of:


Coursework  essay (2000 words) 50% (addresses learning outcomes 1, 3, 4, 5)

Coursework  case study (2000 words) 50% (addresses learning outcomes 1, 2 and 5)


The summative essay will enable students to demonstrate their ability to construct an argument in relation to key debates that is well structured, well supported with academic literature and shows an appreciation of academic techniques and practices.

The case study will enable students to apply selected concepts and theories from the module to a real-world example of their choice.



Formative assessment

Informal formative assessment is conducted throughout the module during seminars where students have the opportunity to engage in a variety of activities and to receive both peer and tutor feedback, with the aim of allowing students to assess their progress week by week. Formative feedback will be provided on essay and case study plans during the seminars where students will be encouraged to bring a one-page plan for discussion. Students can also discuss their assignment plan with the module leader for formative feedback.



Formative feedback will be provided throughout the module within in-class discussions and seminars. Students will be supported in the in-class activities to recognise strengths and areas for improvement.


Summative feedback will be provided on all written work submitted, highlighting both areas of strength within the writing and areas that could be developed or strengthened further.

Feedback and feedforward on summative assignments will be provided via SurreyLearn. This will indicate what students did well, less well, and what they need to do to improve in the future and will relate both to issues specific to the module and to transferable written skills.

Module aims

  • To provide an understanding of theorisations of racism and ethnicity
  • To critically explore media responses, policy debates and popular discourse around race, racism and ethnicity
  • To develop students' understandings of intersectionality by exploring the ways in which racism and ethnicity interact with other forms of social difference such as gender and social class
  • To encourage students to explore current theoretical debates around mixed-race, 'post-race', and critical whiteness studies
  • To provide an understanding of social movements debates seeking decolonisation, racial justice, activism and social change

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate knowledge of a range of theoretical tools to understand contemporary debates about race, ethnicity and difference KC 1
002 Be able to critically engage with key texts and theoretical ideas and apply them to contemporary media, policy and popular discourse CP 2
003 Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the relationship between race, ethnicity and other forms of social difference KCT 3
004 Have a critical understanding of contemporary developments in the sociology of race and racism KC 4
005 Demonstrate a critical awareness of the role of 'racism' in the structure of contemporary societies KC 5

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

  The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: 


  • Allow students to acquire knowledge and develop their critical thinking and other relevant skills

  • Encourage students to be active participants in their own learning

  • Maximise learning by engaging students with different learning backgrounds (including through their engagement with each other) and maximising their learning by drawing on their own experiences and contributions to group discussions


The methods of teaching and learning is designed to provide students understanding of key topics in ethnic and racial studies. The lectures will expose students to key thinkers, theories and debates and these will be supported by required reading each week. The seminars provide the opportunity to discuss these ideas in more depth and work in groups on particular tasks. Seminar activities will encourage students to think critically and independently, and will help them in the writing of their essay and case study. Weekly readings and seminar preparation helps to underpin students’ knowledge and understanding.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOCM075

Other information

The Department of Sociology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience: This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:


Global and Cultural Capabilities: Recognising and understanding the significance and impact of diversity, inequality and the lived experience within institutions, communities, and societies is of central importance for this module. The central issues of social justice and inclusivity permeate the learning, with the purpose of developing students’ global and cultural awareness and competence. Students will be empowered to discuss the concept of decolonisation in a range of contexts including the education system and the criminal justice system. The module leader will create a safe space for open and reflexive discussion across difference. Through the guided seminar activities, students will be actively encouraged to share experiences and knowledge from their own backgrounds and cultures, respect and value different experiences and perspectives, and come to appreciate the value of recognising and appreciating diverse perspectives.


Employability: Working across difference is an important skill valued by many employers. The reflexivity and critical thinking imbued on this module, for example in relation to terminology employed around racial categories, will be important for working in a cross-cultural environment. By participating in class discussions and personal writing tasks during the seminars, students will consolidate their ability to reflect on one’s own learning and experiences. The module fosters the development of critical thinking skills, particularly through class learning activities and the first assignment (essay), where students will critically evaluate key concepts and theoretical ideas concerning race and ethnicity. The second assessment (case study) is designed specifically with employability in mind, requiring students to select a specific real-world case study to apply relevant concepts from the module. This fosters students’ ability to link theory with practice, particularly concerning issues of racial inequality and ethnic diversity.


Digital Capabilities: Students will continue developing their digital capabilities through the use of SurreyLearn, where they will navigate and utilise the VLE for multiple aspects of the module online provision. Students will also make extensive use of the library catalogue to identify and utilize relevant texts for their assignments.


Sustainability: Social and political inequalities are embedded within the concept of sustainability, and these issues are vital in understanding social structures and processes including that of racism and discrimination. Through the learning, teaching and assessment activities on this module, students will have the opportunity to critically reflect on issues aligned with aspects of Goal 10 of the Sustainable Goals of the United Nations – Reduced Inequalities and Goal 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. By examining the concept of institutional racism and practical examples of this, the module will help towards building effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels. 


Resourcefulness and Resilience: Speaking, reading and writing about race and racism can be challenging for many people. As part of the authentic learning experience, students may face uncomfortable ideas in this module - for example they will learn about the history slavery and colonialism, as well as examples of contemporary racism. Throughout the module they will be supported to develop their capabilities to adapt and manage these difficult scenarios. Drawing on their own reading, observations and seminar discussions, they will be encouraged to think critically and originally about opportunities for anti-racist activism and positive social change. The second assessment – the case study, is particularly designed to challenge and stretch student capabilities. Students will therefore need to exhibit resourcefulness in identifying a relevant context on which to focus and apply selected concepts from the module. Throughout the module they will be encouraged to understand and appreciate the experiences of those from different ethnic and racial backgrounds to themselves, and to identify opportunities to challenge racism.

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.