International relations

Policing Racial Capitalism

Module code: 020IRA
Level 6
30 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Essay, Coursework

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.

Module learning outcomes

  • Examine the relationship between racism, capitalism, and carcerality using a variety of theoretical approaches.
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the transnational history of borders, prisons, and police.
  • Identify and summarise the historical connections between a range of geographically distinct carceral sites.
  • Critically evaluate core academic debates about prisons and policing in a historical perspective.