SOAS University of London

School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Cultures of Africa, the Middle East, South and South East Asia II: Selected Topics

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

With interconnected histories of cultural exchange and locally anchored traditions, these regions contain the world’s most ancient cultural heritage alongside dynamic contemporary artistic production.

This module builds on the themes of the first year module Cultures of Africa, the Middle East, South and South East Asia I: Basic Terms and Concepts. “Selected Topics” will introduce students to theoretical debates around the questions of power, violence and resistance in the producing of local, regional and transregional cultures. Whether discussing pre-colonial local cultures, European Empires or the postcolonial nation states, we will focus manners in which languages and cultures are shaped by historical, social and political dynamics. The lecturers for this module come from different academic disciplines and regional backgrounds to offer a vast and locally-anchored overview of diverse cultural landscapes in Africa, the Middle East, South and South East Asia. At the end of the module the students will be equipped with a good understanding of approaches to the critical analysis study of culture in these regions. Topics could include language and nationalism; the role of trauma in cultural production, settler colonialism and its cultural ramifications; postcolonialism and decolonisation; cultures of liberation; cultural appropriation, cultural diffusion. The broad range of cultural areas and critical methodologies covered, will assist them in choosing their individual fields of specialization in the subsequent years of their studies.    

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will:

  • have become familiar with key debates around the questions of power, violence and resistance in the productions of local, regional and transregional cultures

  • have understood differences between colonial, postcolonial and decolonial approaches to these cultures and societies 
  • have critically analysed different framings of cultural production and their implications to the regions studied
  • have explored alternative ways of conceptualizing culture(s)    

Scope and syllabus

Topics covered in this module will typically include the following, all based on case studies from the regions and their diasporas:

  • Language and nationalism
  • Settler colonialism and its cultural ramifications
  • Postcolonialism and decolonisation
  • Ideologies of liberation
  • Trauma in cultural production
  • Modernism and post-modernism
  • Diasporas: global regions    

Method of assessment

  • A digital assignment (wikiedia page of 1,000 words or podcast/video of 10 minutes) 40%
  • Essay (1500 words) 60%


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules