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Gender and Race in Historical International Relations


Admission requirements

Open to students of the MA IR only.


This course will explore the intersections of race and gender in the making of our world. Not only will we explore how race and gender have been central to world politics, but we will also centre our narrative around how people of colour have experienced, navigated and theorized about the world. In this course, we will explore the myriad lives, manifestations and intersections of race and gender across the world.

Over the twelve weeks of this course, we will read some key texts that explore the intersectionality of race and gender across geographies. Underscoring the social construction of these identities, we will explore the historical alternatives which were erased in the colonial encounter. We’ll consider how colonialism imposed homogenizing ideologies and identities, but also attempt to understand the forms of resistance to such efforts by the colonized. Further, how the racial and gendered nature of world politics continues to shape our present, from the war on terror to our responses to pandemics, will be discussed in the last section of this course.

This course will be reading intensive. Over the twelve weeks we’ll read and discuss key texts from several authors, among others Oyeronke Oyuwemi, Sylvia Winter, Angela Davis, Ann Stoler, Saba Mahmood, and Jasbir Puar.

If it is not yet obvious -- We’ll NOT talk about ‘Great White Men’!

Course objectives

The course aims to provide students with deep and comprehensive understanding of of the intersectionalty of race and gender and its formative role in the making of the modern world. Through a close engagements with key texts in this literature, which cover a wide historical and geographical expanse, the students will not only familiarize themselves with salient concepts, debates and issues around race and gender, but also learn non-traditional, innovative methodological skills which are often employed by feminist and critical race scholars. Indeed, the texts used in this course often also serve as primary texts on feminism and critical race theory. In general, through a strong emphasis on both history and theory, the course enables students to develop critical thinking skills in researching contemporary issues. These insights are also crucial to policy making, considering a just society and world order are unimaginable without understanding and confronting how structures of oppression are enabled through non-reflective policies. Through course assessments, students will develop skills in independent as well as group research, writing and presentation.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

The grading for this course will be based on:

  • Presentation: 20%

  • Class participation: 10%

  • Written Assignments: 70%

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average. However, students are required to pass every component of the assessment to be able to receive a final passing grade. Re-sits are offered only on the written assignments, if they are found to be insufficient. The resubmission should be made within two weeks of being advised on the insufficiency of the original.

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

You are not required to pre-read any textbook for this course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


Not applicable