Policing Racial Capitalism (020IRA)

30 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

What are prisons? How is state violence linked to extraction and accumulation? Should the police be abolished?

On this module, we examine the relationship between racism, carcerality and the history of global capitalism. Drawing on Marxist approaches, post/decolonial theory, feminism, and Critical Indigenous studies, we examine the colonial and transnational roots of:

  • borders
  • detention centres
  • prisons
  • policing.

Moving from the local to the global – from Grenfell to Guantanamo, Windrush to Palestine, Yarl's Wood to Standing Rock – we think about how seemingly 'new' and 'neoliberal' forms of state violence have been a constant feature of racial and colonial capitalism. In doing so we ultimately explore what an abolitionist world without prisons, police and borders might look like.


100%: Seminar


30%: Coursework (Essay, Group presentation)
70%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 30 hours of contact time and about 270 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: