Black Radical Social Thought SOCIO4004

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The experiences of people of African origin, and of those from other parts of the colonized world, have tended to feature only peripherally in conventional histories of the modern era. Even among sympathetic commentators, black men and women tend to figure as noble, but largely silent, victims of processes such as slavery or colonization. This course seeks to challenge such a view, by recognizing the degree to which those whose origins were outside of Europe were important contributors to the processes that formed that the modern world, and to the intellectual debates that characterized that world. It introduces a number of important thinkers whose work serves to stretch, reorient and often openly criticize the assumptions of classical social theory. While, to some extent, these figures share certain concerns by virtue of shared historical experiences (of racism, dispossession, etc) there are also huge differences in experience and in the responses that those individuals offered to those experiences. Therefore, although the course uses the term 'black social thought' as a way of recognizing a certain community of historical resistance, it also questions whether such a label is, in the long-run, helpful: does it repeat, in its own way, a kind of exclusionary view of the world?


20 contact hours over the course of a single semester. This will normally consist of 2 hours per week and may be a combination of lectures and seminars/workshops.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Entry to Honours Sociology requires a grade point average of 12 (Grade C) over Sociology 2A and Sociology 2B as a first attempt.


Excluded Courses





A 2-Question, 1,5000 words each, 3-Hour Exam. Students will be given a range of questions from which they may choose.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable


Course Aims

This module forms part of the Sociology Honours programme and its aims embody the intentions of that programme. The principle aim is to build on some of the central themes of courses at Levels 1 and 2, in particular the introduction to classical social theory provided in those courses, along with the consideration given there to modern forms of racism. Thus the  principal aims of the course are to allow you to:


1. challenge an account of modern history, and of modern social thought, which is insufficiently attentive to the experience of racism, and the practices of imperialism;

2. encourage students to engage with the work of important black social thinkers, recognizing how these writers offer important resources for anyone interested in thinking critically about the modern world;

3. reflect critically on the categorization 'black' itself, and to recognize its limitations and problems...'.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Demonstrate an understanding of the contribution of non-European thinkers in the modern era, and a willingness to make critical and creative use of the contributions of these thinkers;

■ Display an appreciation for the ways in which specific social and historical contexts inform the responses of particular writers;

■ Use and develop their of powers of synthesis and critical assimilation;

■ Both recognize and think analytically about the problems of categorization on the basis of perceived 'race'

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

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