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Resisting Racial Capitalism (15 credits)

Key information

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Module description

This module enables students to understand the ways in which race has been used as a mode of resistance to various inequalities generated by capitalism. The module will teach students about how capitalism has to be seen through the prism of racial capitalism and draw attention to how anti-racist forms of resistance have targeted the historical entanglement of race and class.

It critically engages with key historical moments in the shaping of 'modernity' from the Haitian Revolution and beyond. Equally importantly, it examines the modes of resistance to particular European forms of 'being modern', that is, it focuses on the resistance to the European trade in human beings and to other forms of imperialism and colonialism. It also addresses key moments in the reconstruction of the global order, on the basis of universal values such as equality and justice, as exemplified by the movements of decolonisation, the Third World Project, and Black Power movements. Finally, the module engages with contemporary sites of anti-racist resistance such as anti-austerity movements by women of colour in Europe, #Blacklivesmatter and calls for climate change reparations in the Global South.

The module uses historical sources as well as critical Black scholarship from writers such as C.L.R. James, W.E.B DuBois, Claudia Jones, Angela Davis and Cedric Robinson to examine these issues in global context and welcomes students bringing their own knowledge and expertise to bear on the discussions.

Please note that module information is provisional and may change year to year.

Assessment details

One 1000-word Encyclopedia Entry (35%) and one 2000-word essay (65%) 

Educational aims & objectives

  • Introduce students to how racialization and racism and systems of racial exploitation (slavery, colonialism, empire) are interwoven with the expansion of modern capitalism.
  • Explore the ways in which anti-racist thought has theorised inequalities (race, class, gender) generated by modern capitalism.
  • Investigate different forms of anti-racist thought/theory and their different approaches to issues such as solidarity and internationalism.
  • Provide students with knowledge about the history of Black Power and Decolonization as global anti-racist movements
  • Assess the relevance of contemporary movements for racial justice as a mode of resistance to the inequalities generated by modern capitalism.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the ways in which race has been used as a mode of resistance to the inequalities generated by the modern capitalism.
  • Assess and analyse the relationship between race, class and gender and global capitalism.
  • Compare and contrast different cases of anti-racist politics in Europe, the US and wider Global South.
  • Critically assess the history of movements for decolonization and Black Power and the thought/theory generated such movements.
  • Appraise contemporary movements for racial justice as a mode of resistance to the inequalities generated by capitalism


The module will enable to students to develop transferable writing and presentational skills that can be taken both into private and public sector employment and also foster an awareness of diversity and inclusion issues that have now become paramount in workplaces:

  • Select a range of range sources, craft written commentary and summarise extensive information concisely and in a user-friendly form for non- academic audiences
  • Foster an awareness of issues of Diversity and Inclusion, which are now key action points in workplaces and positions of management.
  • Develop an understanding of how issues of race, ethnicity and racism lead to institutional inequality and how these issues intersect with gender, class and other variables.

Teaching pattern

Two hours per week, one lecture and one seminar 

Module description disclaimer

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.

Please note that modules with a practical component will be capped due to educational requirements, which may mean that we cannot guarantee a place to all students who elect to study this module.

Please note that the module descriptions above are related to the current academic year and are subject to change.