Beyond Regions: Cultures in the Diaspora

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Module overview

In Year 1, students have been introduced to the ways in which global movements have constructed and affected London. Students have explored how space, culture, language and behaviour are flexible, dynamic and embodied, both within the city space and ourselves. In Beyond Regions, students may build on the theme of global movement through the analysis of cultural objects. It moves beyond the idea that Western Empires have dominated all global movement, to think broadly about the exchange of languages and cultures of Asia, Africa and the Middle East within and between the cultures of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. From this starting point students will focus on topics which explore the rich history of exchanges in premodern, imperial and contemporary disaporic cultures who have and continue to move within and through Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  1. Analyse and evaluate topics on diasporic cultures.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of historical relations between and among cultures in relevant geographies.
  3. Critically analyze cultural objects/texts from diasporic cultures in history and the contemporary


Two hours of lectures every week for 10 weeks.

The module will involve two hours of contact time per-week. Designated as "lectures", these will incorporate class discussion time, break-out sessions, Q&A, and other interactive approaches as appropriate. It will be made clear to students that they should complete readings in advance of class, in order to incorporate the best elements of "flipped classroom" practice. All required materials will be made available in accessible formats in advance.

Scope and syllabus

  • The spread of language through religion
  • Language and the nation-state
  • Language mixing
  • Mapping
  • Forced movement of people
  • Language supremacy
  • Ethnic violence
  • Communal Violence
  • Cultures of Resistance
  • Writing Back
  • Racism
  • Colorism
  • Gender
  • Sexuality

This is a team-taught module drawing on the expertise of the department. Not all topics will be taught every year.

Method of assessment

  • 30% Essay, 1000 words
  • 70% Group Podcast or Group Annotated Bibliography, 10 minutes or 1500 words
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page

Suggested reading

  • Alpers, Edward A., The Indian Ocean in World History, Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Amrith, Sunil, Crossing the Bay of Bengal: The Furies of Nature and the Fortunes of Migrants, Harvard University Press, 2013.
  • Anzaldúa, Gloria, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Aunt Lute Books, 1987.
  • Armitage, David, Alison Bashford, and Sujit Sivasundaram (eds), Oceanic Histories, Cambridge University Press, 2017.
  • Bentley, Jerry H., Renate Bridenthal, and Kären Wigen (eds), Seascapes: Maritime Histories, Littoral Cultures, and Transoceanic Exchanges, University of Hawaii Press, 2016.
  • Bishara, Fahad Ahmad, A Sea of Debt: Law and Economic Life in the Western Indian Ocean, 1780–1950, Cambridge University Press, 2017.
  • Bose, Sugata, A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire, Harvard University Press, 2006.
  • Chakrabarty, Dipesh, Provincializing Europe: postcolonial thought & historical difference, Princeton University Press, 2000.
  • Feener, R. Michael and Terenjit Sevea (eds), Islamic Connections: Muslim Societies in South and Southeast Asia, ISEAS, 2009.
  • Frankopan, Peter, The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, Bloomsbury, 2015.
  • Frankopan, Peter, The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World, Bloomsbury, 2019.
  • Gilroy, Paul, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, Verso, 1993.
  • Glissant, Édouard, Poetics of Relation, University of Michigan Press, 1997 [1990].
  • Gould, Rebecca, ‘The Death of Caucasus Philology: Towards a Discipline beyond Areal Divides’, Iran and the Caucasus 17 (2013): 275–93.
  • Green, Nile, Terrains of Exchange: Religious Economies of Global Islam, Hurst, 2014.
  • Halim, Hala, ‘Lotus, the Afro-Asian Nexus, and Global South Comparatism’, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 32, 3 (2012): 563–83.
  • Ho, Engseng, The graves of Tarim: Genealogy & Mobility across the Indian Ocean, University of California Press, 2006.
  • Laffan, Michael (ed.), Belonging across the Bay of Bengal: Religious Rites, Colonial Migrations, National Rights, Bloomsbury, 2017.
  • Lee, Benjamin, ‘Critical Internationalism’, Public Culture 7 (1995): 559–92.
  • Lewis, Martin W. and Kären Wigen, The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography, University of California Press, 1997.
  • Mawani, Renisa, Across Oceans of Law: The Komagata Maru and Jurisdiction in the Time of Empire, Duke University Press, 2018.
  • Mignolo, Walter D. and Madina V. Tlostanova, ‘Theorizing from the Borders: Shifting to a Geo- and Body-Politics of Knowledge’, European Journal of Social Theory 9, 2 (2006): 205–21.
  • Newell, Stephanie. ‘“Paracolonial” Networks: Some Speculations on Local Readerships in Colonial West Africa’, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 3, 3 (2011): 336–54.
  • Pearson, Michael N., The World of the Indian Ocean, 1500–1800: a Political and Economic History, Ashgate, 2003.
  • Pernau, Margrit, ‘Whither Conceptual History? From National to Entangled Histories’, Contributions to the History of Concepts 7, 1 (2012): 1–11.
  • Prashad, Vijay, Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity, Beacon Press, 2002.
  • Ricci, Ronit, Islam Translated: Literature, Conversion, and the Arabic Cosmopolis of South and Southeast Asia, University of Chicago, 2011.
  • Sheriff, Abdul and Enseng Ho (eds), The Indian Ocean: Oceanic Connections and the Creation of New Societies, Hurst, 2014.
  • Shilliam, Robbie, The Black Pacific: Anti-Colonial Struggles and Oceanic Connections, Bloomsbury, 2015.
  • Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, Explorations in Connected History, Oxford University Press, 2005.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules