SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 1 or Year 2
Taught in:
Term 1

The aim of this course is to take an interdisciplinary approach in order to chart the development of transnational African and Asian cultures in the world today. The course draws on established bodies of work as well contemporary literature on migration studies, issues of space and identity, transnationalism, postcolonialism, and theories of diaspora, and globalisation. By exploring the emergence of international African and Asian diasporas through labour migrations, trade, and displacement, the course incorporates a strong historical perspective as well as contemporary issues. 

Drawing on historical memory and personal narratives of slavery and indentured labour, the course charts the changing processes of international migration and the subsequent emergent forms of identity in diasporic communities in the modern world. The course will encourage students to examine concepts such as 'diaspora' and 'postcolonialism' from a critical perspective, and to challenge the 'new orthodoxies' in diaspora and migration studies.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

Aims and Objectives: 
  • To critically examine important areas of contemporary social theory which deals with issues of migration, globalisation, the postcolonial world, and cultural transformations.
  • To ground students in the historical basis of these issues
  • To explore ideas of representation in relation to identity and experience
Learning Outcomes:
  • Students will develop an appropriate knowledge base.
  • Students will develop an awareness of methodological issues in the study of global cultures and postcolonial theory.
  • Students will develop appropriate analytical skills.
  • Students will develop appropriate research and communication skills.

Method of assessment

90% coursework and 10% class discussion.  There is no exam for this course.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules