Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Politics of Difference
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 22 Hours. 1 x 2 hours seminar per week


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 1,000 word outline of research paper  10%
Semester Assessment 1 x 4,000 word research paper  70%
Semester Assessment Seminar participation  20%
Supplementary Exam Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module, normally during the supplementary examination period. For further clarification please contact the Teaching Programme Administrator in the Department of International Politics. 

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

- discuss in depth questions of identity, subjectivity and difference
- critically assess and situate a contribution to the field
- express themselves clearly and cogently on these topics both in writing and in seminars
- prepare and present an extended review paper

Brief description

The study of international and national politics needs to take account of the ways in which political community relies on difference. Difference cannot be traced at an abstract level - it arises out of embodied and located practice or, in other words, it involves real people and real places. In an era of globalisation the diversity of ways of being human has become increasingly apparent. Identities seem complex, fragmented, and hybrid. People move from place to place, forcing a redefinition of community and boundary. Transnational families have become as much a focus of study as territorially bounded communities. The politics of identity has been replaced by a politics of difference.


The module will:

1. give students an in-depth introduction to these issues
2. develop students' skills in contributing to and leading seminars on complex and controversial topics, and
3. enable them to prepare and present an extended academic paper


The module explores how we can understand some of the processes at work in the formation and transformation of identities and the politics of difference. This raises many questions. Is difference skin deep? How are power relations inscribed in everyday social interactions? Where does the notion of difference come from? How does it work politically? How do racial and sexual difference intersect?

In addressing these issues and others, the module draws on fascinating work in postcolonial studies - work until recently neglected by international relations theorists. It also considers explorations of subjectivity and power from feminist, post-stucturalist, Marxist and psychoanalytic work. Students unfamiliar with these areas can attend lectures on a parallel introductory undergraduate module if they wish.

Transferable skills

Reading, writing, summarising, speaking, listening and thinking Contributing to and leading discussions on complex and controversial topics.

15 ECTS credits


This module is at CQFW Level 7