Policing Racial Capitalism (020IRA)

30 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

What role do prisons play in our everyday economy? Do borders resemble a global form of apartheid? Should the police be abolished?

Taking the 2020 George Floyd uprisings as a starting point, we examine the relationship between racial capitalism and different forms of state violence. Drawing on the black radical tradition, anticolonial theory, feminism, and critical disability studies, we explore the racial, sexual, ableist, and colonial histories of:

  • borders
  • prisons
  • police
  • psychiatric institutions
  • family surveillance.

By moving from the local to the global and back again, we probe what an abolitionist world without prisons, police, and other forms of state violence 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: