Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Philosophy of Race
Code PHIL274
Coordinator Dr KE Furman
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2023-24 Level 5 FHEQ Second Semester 15


To enable students to engage in important social debates.

To acquaint students with key debates in philosophy of race.

To equip students with the skills to evaluate and participate in these debates.

To consolidate student’s research skills.

To consolidate students’ written skills.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will be able to understand and explain some key debates in Philosophy of Race.

(LO2) Students will be able to critically engage with popular debates about race and racism.

(LO3) Students will be able to conduct independent research in support of their work, using appropriate print and online resources.

(LO4) Students will be able to express themselves via different written forms, including opinion pieces and academic essays.

(S1) Students will enhance their abilities in reading and understanding texts and in comprehending abstract material.

(S2) Students will develop their skills in thinking critically, analysing problems and analysing and assessing arguments.

(S3) Students will enhance their ability to identify the issues that underlie debates.

(S4) Students will develop confidence in considering previously unfamiliar ideas and approaches, and their ability to identify presuppositions and to reflect critically upon them.

(S5) Students will enhance their ability to marshal arguments and present them orally and in writing.

(S6) Students will develop the ability to perform bibliographical searches, and (to include to professional standard) citations and bibliographies in their work.

(S7) Students will enhance their oral and written communications skills and develop skill in explaining complex material in a precise manner.

(S8) Students will develop their ability to work independently.

(S9) Students will develop their ability to sift through information, assessing the relevance and importance of the information to what is at issue.

(S10) Students will develop their skills in making appropriate use of information technology, information on the World Wide Web and reference works and databases relevant to the discipline.

(S11) Students will develop the ability to write to a professional standard.

(S12) Students will enhance their capacity to participate, in a dispassionate and respectful manner, in debates about controversial and profound matters.

(S13) Students will develop their willingness critically to evaluate and reflect upon arguments, beliefs, proposals and values, both their own and those of others.

(S14) Through developing their analytical and critical skills and observing good standards of academic practice, students will develop their intellectual honesty.



The syllabus will shift from year to year, according to the interests of the teaching staff. But the focus will remain on philosophical approaches to race and racism. Topics may include:

Aesthetics. What role do aesthetic concepts like 'beauty' play in racist oppression, and what role in anti-racist emancipation? Can art be used to resist racist stereotypes?

Politics. Key political thinkers in Black Political Thought, including W.E.B Du Bois and Martin Luther King Junior. This will also cover question of whether race is a legitimate justification for civil unrest, including the civil rights movement in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, and current Black Lives Matter protests.

Metaphysics. Is race real? What do we mean about the “reality” of race? Do we mean biologically real or socially real?

Science. Regardless of the reality of race (as discussed in metaphysics), does it make sense to maintain race as a scientif ic category? Does having race as a category allow for productive scientific work to take place?

Epistemology. What impact does race have on who counts as a legitimate knower? Does occupying specific raced standpoints allow individuals privileged epistemic access to particular social topics?

Language. What are the impacts of racialised language? Should we talk about race?

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 – Lecture

Description: 6 x 1 hour lecture, in weeks 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 11

Lectures are tutor-led activities, offering an introduction to the topic to be studied in that two-week period. Suggestions for further independent research will be made during the lecture, and relevant material provided via Canvas. The lectures thus provide a framework for independent enquiry-led research. The topic introduced in each lecture will serve as the basis for the seminar in the following week. So the topic introduced in week 2 will be the basis for the seminar in week 3, and so on. (The lecture in week 1 will be an introductory lecture, explaining how the course works).

Students are encouraged to engage actively with lectures through, for example: (i) taking opportunities to ask questions during or after the session; (ii) responding to questions posed to them; (iii) reflecting on topics and issues presented in the lectures; (iv) producing questions and notes o n issues for subsequent discussion in seminars.

Lectures may take place online if required.

Attendance Recorded: No

Teaching Method 2 - 5 x 2 hour seminars, in weeks 3, 5, 8, 10, 12

Description: Seminars are formative spaces of applied and enquiry-led learning based on pre-set readings and tasks. They are facilitated by the tutor. Seminars thus offer opportunities for students to respond to tutor- and peer-set questions, deepen understanding, apply ideas, develop arguments and build confidence through group discussion.

Seminars may take place online if required.

Attendance recorded: Yes

Teaching Method 3: - 5 x 1 hour writing workshops, in weeks 2, 4, 7, 9, 11

Descriptions: Writing workshops will help students develop writing skills, especially for popular audiences. Students will submit 100 - 200 word paragraphs via Canvas in advance of workshops, linking the focus topic to popular debates. These will not be marked, but students wi ll receive 2 points for each submission as a participation mark. These paragraphs will form the basis of the writing workshops.

Writing workshops may take place online if required.

Attendance Recorded: Yes

Independent study consists of: study of the set reading; further independent research spurred by this reading; preparation of opinion pieces and essays; reflection on the peer and formative feedback provided by markers on summaries produced in class; use of online support materials.

Attendance Recorded: No

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 6



Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 129


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Assessment 3 – Essay. There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment.    60       
Assessment 2 – Opinion Piece/Blogpost. There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment.    30       
Assessment 1 – Weekly Paragraphs. There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission.    10       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.