Decolonisation & International Economic Relations ESH5069

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Spanning over a century, from the 1920s to the present, this seminar course immerses students in global histories of capitalism, empire, and decolonisation to educate them about the sources of inequality in the modern world. Covering topics of global political economy from the 1920s "Geneva school" of economics, the 1950s structural economics and dependency theories, the 1970s oil crises, the 1980s Thatcherism and Reaganomics, to the 2020s planetary crises of climate change and pandemics, this course introduces students to the concept of decolonisation as both a moment and an ongoing process. Students will make sense of the present through the past, applying history as a tool, to understand and craft policy. Students will write a policy memo in three phases and two policy op-eds applying their knowledge of the past to the present, and where possible, the future.


Lecture: one hour per week for ten weeks

Seminar: one hour per week for ten weeks

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Entry to the IM Global Markets Local Creativities requires a 2.1 degree or equivalent

Entry to MSc in Global Economy requires 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent


75% - One policy memo of 3,800 words divided into two parts (20%+55%)

■ 20%: draft policy memo of 1,000 words +/- 10%

■ 55%: final policy memo of 3,800 words total +/- 10%

25% - One policy op-ed of 1,200 words each +/- 10%

Course Aims

■ To gain familiarity with global histories of capitalism, empire, and decolonization from the 1920s to the present.

■ To encourage critical skills of historical analysis with an eye on contemporary policies of global political economy through writing policy memos.

■ To develop skills of written communication and lucidly making evidence-driven arguments through writing policy op-eds.

■ To develop the capacity to apply the concepts and ideas from the course in wider academic, intellectual, and social realms. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Demonstrate a strong basis of knowledge of the 20th and 21st-century worlds and their connections with corporate colonialism and decolonisation.

■ Undertake critical analysis of primary and secondary sources with a problem-solving approach.

■ Evaluate local and global forces of change and status quo in the Global South and the Global North.

■ Manifest a comparative economic, social, and political understanding of contemporary global political economy in light of the past. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.