ASTK18382U Anti-colonial and postcolonial theory

Volume 2022/2023

MSc in Political Science

MSc in Social Science

MSc in Security Risk Management

Bachelor in Political Science


From spring 2023 the course is also offered to students at the


- Master Programme in Social Data Science

- Bachelor and Master Programmes in Anthropology

- Bachelor and Master Programmes in Sociology

- Bachelor and Master Programmes in Economics

- Bachelor and Master Programmes in Psychology

- Master Programme in Security Risk Management

- Master programme in Global Development


Enrolled students register the course through the Selfservice. Please contact the study administration at each programme for questions regarding registration.


Notice: It is only possible to enroll for one course having a 3-day compulsory written take-home assignment exam due to coincident exam periods.


How did methods of identification first used in colonialism become routine state practices of counting and registering citizens? How do forms of surveillance, detention, and policing employed in imperial warfare return to the metropole? How do international hierarchies first defined under colonialism endure in today’s global order? This course will ask how colonial legacies and forms of colonial governance persist today. It does so by examining debates within anti-colonial and postcolonial theory about the aftermath of colonialism. In particular, we will consider how postcolonial thought articulates conceptions of freedom, justice, the state, and democracy and how these challenge liberal and republican ideas. Moreover, the course considers how postcolonial and anticolonial thought has influenced the formation of other critical traditions including abolitionist thought, poststructuralism, surveillance studies, and critical border studies. In doing so, critical reflections on colonialism and empire offer new ways to think about state and corporate power, political subjectivity, violence, and borders and migration.

Learning Outcome

Upon completing this course, students will be able to identify and define key concepts in anti-colonial and postcolonial political theory.

Students will be able to analyze arguments and concepts in political theory texts. They will learn to critically evaluate theorists’ arguments and be able to apply relevant concepts to a broader understanding of our political world.

Students will be able to critically assess and combine complex theories. Furthermore, they will learn to develop an argument, provide effective evidence for relevant claims made in support of that argument, and present the argument in clear and effective writing.


Browne, Simone. Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness. Durham: Duke University Press, 2015.


Césaire, Aimé. Discourse on Colonialism. Trans. Joan Pinkham. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2000.


Davis, Angela Y. Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement. Haymarket Books, 2015.


Fanon, Frantz. Wretched of the Earth. Trans. Constance Farrington. London: Penguin Books, 2001.


Getachew, Adom. Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019.


Gilroy, Paul. Postcolonial Melancholia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.


Gopal, Priyamvada. Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent. London: Verso, 2019.


Kotef, Hagar. The Colonizing Self: or, Home and Homelessness in Israel/Palestine. London: Duke University Press, 2020.


Mamdani, Mahmood. Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018


Mbembe, Achille. Necropolitics. Trans. Steven Corcoran. London: Duke University Press, 2019.


Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism. London: Vintage, 1994.


Spivak, Gayatri. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” in Can the Subaltern Speak?: Reflections on the History of an Idea. Ed. Rosalind C. Morris. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010. 21–78.


Stoler, Ann Laura. Duress. Imperial Durabilities in our Times. London: Duke University Press, 2016.


Walia, Harsha. Border and Rule: Global Migration, Capitalism, and the Rise of Racist Nationalism. Haymarket Books, 2021.


Wolfe, Patrick. “Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native.” Journal of Genocide Research. Vol. 8, No. 4 (2006): 387–409.


Lecture, student-led discussion, student presentations, and group work.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
Continuous feedback during the course
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
Type of assessment details
Three-day compulsory written take-home assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

- In the semester where the course takes place: Three-day compulsory written take-home assignment

- In subsequent semesters: Free written assignment

Criteria for exam assesment

Criteria for exam assesment

  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner.