SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Postcolonial theory

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 2
Taught in:
Term 2

This module seeks to provide an advanced background in key issues in postcolonial political thought. It will work on some of the key issues and key authors in the field, including questions of translation and translatability, decolonization, subaltern studies, and more.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • Acquire a familiarity with key debates in postcolonial political theory
  • Engage critically with the canon of political thought; Contextualize and question the canon
  • Develop analytical skills and reading strategies to allow deep engagement with theoretically sophisticated (and challenging) material
  • Acquire familiarity with some of the most recent work in decolonial and postcolonial theory


This module will be taught over 10 weeks with:

  • 1 hour lecture per week
  • 1 hour tutorial per week

Method of assessment

Assignment 1: Essay 30%
Assignment 2: Essay 70%

Suggested reading

  • Edward Said, Orientalism
  • Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture
  • Gayatri Spivak, 'Can the Subaltern Speak?'; Critique of Postcolonial Reason
  • Achille Mbembe, Critique of Black Reason
  • Chandra Mohanty, Feminism Without Borders


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules