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Ethnicity, identity and citizenship in modern British life HI3014-05

This course provides an understanding both of the history of 'visible' Britons and their current position in British society.

  • It examines reasons for their migration and patterns of settlement and work, the evolution of their religious, social and cultural organisation, and their involvement in British politics
  • Looks at the origins of racism in Britain and its impact on contemporary society
  • Explores constructions of British identity in the context of racism in Britain and encourages students to re-examine their own identities and beliefs and those of others
  • Assesses both a range of minority responses to the institutions and norms of British society reflecting the diversity of minority peoples, and white British perceptions and reactions to them
  • Analyses the connection between the historical development of white perceptions of minority people and the framing of contemporary policy, and the wider issues of immigration and race relations in a variety of contexts
  • Develops analytical, written and communication skills, including critical analysis of a range of historical and empirical secondary material.


30 Credits

Topics covered

  • This course provides a comprehensive treatment of the history and functioning of multi-ethnic Britain
  • Students study the history of migration and settlement of minorities and explore relevant contemporary issues
  • The politics of race and identity are examined in order to understand minority experience and ethnic conflict
  • The ways in which racism and ethnicity have affected relationships between various groups in Britain, the responses of minority ethnic groups to British society, as well as the effectiveness of public policy, are investigated.

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the main issues involved in the migration and formation of minority communities in Britain
  • Engage with and comprehend debates on ethnicity and 'race' in academic works with a degree of confidence and sophistication.
  • Evaluate and analyse critically the range of interactions between colonialism, race, gender and class
  • Critically distinguish, analyse and evaluate different types of sources and texts in terms of argument and evidence and formulate coherent arguments for essays and seminar presentations
  • Communicate clearly, constructing coherent and fluent arguments, both in seminars and in written work.
  • Define tasks clearly and work independently on them.
  • Adapt and apply knowledge to specific contexts.
  • Students should have developed the following transferable skills:
  • Identifying, categorising and being able to use different types of source material
  • Taking part in an online seminar discussions.
  • Time management


  • Exam (80%)
  • Essay (10%)
  • Reflective journal and forum posts (10%)

Essential reading

  • M. Anwar The Myth of Return: Pakistanis in Britain, 1979
  • P. Fryer Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain, 1984
  • D. Hiro Black British, White British: A History of Race Relations in Britain, 1991
  • C. Husband (ed) 'Race' in Britain: continuity and change, 1982
  • C. Holmes Immigrants and Minorities in British Society, 1978
  • C. Holmes John Bull's Island: Immigration & British Society, 1871-1971, 1988
  • J. Solomos Race and Racism in Britain, 1993
  • R. Visram Ayahs, Lascars and Princes: Indians in Britain, 1700-1947, 1986
  • J. Walvin Passage to Britain, 1984
  • J. Watson (ed) Between Two Cultures: migrants and minorities in Britain, 1977