The World from SOAS

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 1
Term 1
Module code

Module overview

This thematic module introduces students to key issues and debates in the contemporary world, such as inequality, diversity and pluralism, migration, human rights, global justice, environmental change and democracy. The module develops critical thinking by challenging students to re-assess their pre-existing views and encouraging them to think critically about areas of the world in which SOAS specialises. During the course of the module, students consider all of SOAS’s specialist regions and study the significance in different regions of the global themes and issues discussed.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

1. Outline some of the major global themes and debates.
2. Critically reflect on those themes and debates, including the different ideas and perspectives presented.
3. Identify each of SOAS’s specialist regions.

Explain how the learning outcomes fit with the programme(s) for which the module will be available:

The knowledge and understanding delivered in the module and the skills to be developed have been determined with the programme aims in mind – including the overall aim of preparing students for UG study at SOAS.


  • Lectures: 1 hour per week
  • Seminars: 1 hour per week

Scope and syllabus

Global themes and issues:

  • Globalisation
  • Inequality
  • Diversity and pluralism
  • Religion and secularism
  • Migration
  • Human rights
  • Global justice
  • Environmental change
  • Democracy and populism
  • Urbanisation
  • Nationalism
  • Colonialism
  • Peace and war
  • Revolutions

Method of assessment

  • Essay: (50%) - 1,500 words
  • Portfolio: (50%) - 1,500 words


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules