Postcolonial Politics is one of the most exciting areas in the study of global relationships. It challenges conventional thinking about international politics by questioning the fundamental assumptions about the world that underpin the contemporary global order. Indeed, it invites us to imagine the world from another perspective entirely. Drawing on the disciplines of history, cultural studies, sociology, area studies and anthropology, postcolonial politics brings an interdisciplinary approach to understanding power and inequality in the social world and on a global scale. It also stretches beyond the intellectual compartments of ‘the west’ and ‘the rest’, to look for continuities and global interactions especially those steeped in the experience of colonialism – in the past and in the present. It starts from the assumption that although formal colonialism may be a thing of the past, its legacies continue, both in the form of practices such as aid, development, state-building, immigration policies and intervention and in more subtle ways.
Aberystwyth is at the forefront of research and teaching in the field, with a number of internationally renowned faculty in this area. Our degree scheme, the first Masters programme in Postcolonial Politics established here in 1999 and developed continuously since, remains unique. Indeed, it is now increasingly relevant in the context of current moves in international relations to examine the potential of non-Western and decolonial approaches and the possibilities of provincialising Europe. These perspectives are no longer marginal to the study of world politics, but situated at the heart of cutting-edge critical approaches. They provide key tools for those who wish to go on to make their contribution in both academic study and practical engagement in international politics in a postcolonial world.
One year full-time. The academic year (September to September) is
divided into three semesters: September to January; January to June;
June to September.
During the first two semesters you will normally take one two-hour seminar per module per week. You will also have contact with academic staff through participation in research groups, attendance in departmental research seminars and masters workshops and through staff office hours (two one hour sessions per week). There will also be additional sessions working towards developing your master’s dissertation. During semester three you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned supervisor.
Assessment will be through a combination of essays and
dissertation. It may, depending on the modules chosen, include seminar
presentations, review essays and literature searches.
Good Undergraduate degree 2.2 (UK) (or above) equating to a mark
of 56.5 or above. European and International applicants can find their
grade equivalence on our comparability page.
Those who are not graduates must satisfy the University that they are
of the required academic standard to pursue postgraduate study.
English Language Requirements:
If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test.
Non-native English speakers who do not meet this requirement must
take a University-recognised test of academic English language
proficiency. For further information please see our English Language requirements page.
Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.
The Department is renowned for its pioneering research and is recognised as number one in the UK for the study of international politics. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014), the Department of International Politics was placed best in Wales with 76% of publications submitted rated as world leading and internationally excellent.
The MA Postcolonial Politics explores the assumptions, theories and practices that have defined traditional studies of relations between developed and underdeveloped states, and the alternative conceptualisation provided by a postcolonial perspective on international politics. It traces the continuing impact of colonialism on the contemporary world, examines in depth how colonial practices work, and critically assesses possibilities for change.
For 2016-17, the degree scheme will comprise a core module in Postcolonial Politics, worth 20 credits and two further key modules chosen from a basket of options (40 credits). The Specialist degree involves three further modules, chosen either from the degree scheme basket, or from other modules offered by the department (60 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits). These may include a maximum of one module from across the university. This provides a strong grounding in postcolonial politics with a degree of choice.
CURRENT DEGREE SCHEME COORDINATOR: Professor Jenny Edkins Please contact me if you have further enquiries about the degree scheme: firstname.lastname@example.org
Core degree scheme team:
Professor Jenny Edkins, Professor of International Politics: works on personhood and political community in a postcolonial context. She engages with these practices through detailed, grounded studies in particular areas, for example: famine and aid in Eritrea and Ethiopia; tracing the displaced, missing and disappeared in Europe, the US and Argentina; the humanitarian crisis in Kosovo; struggles over memory in the aftermath of war or genocide.
Dr Ayla Göl , Senior Lecturer in International Politics: focuses on Islam, nationalism, identity politics, foreign policy analysis and Third World politics with particular reference to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Eurasia and the Caucasus, and Turkey. Her most recent paper is ‘Ethnic Radicalisation: Kurdishness as Extremism in Hegemonic Discourses of Turkey’. She was a Visiting Scholar at the Centre of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge, November 2009 - March 2010.
Professor Mustapha Kamal Pasha, Chair in International Politics: works broadly within Post-Western IR and draws from varied genealogies, notably decolonial thought, post colonialism, post structuralism, critical theory, and classical political economy (influenced by Hegel, Marx, Gramsci, and Subaltern Studies). His work interrogates the immanent structure of modernity as it confronts particular constellations of transcendental commitment in the Islamic Cultural Zones. He is also concerned with the linkage between deterritorialization and inequality.
Dr Lucy Taylor, Senior Lecturer in Latin American Studies: works on Latin American – especially Argentinian – politics and is currently researching the relationship dynamics of political representation in a barrio of Buenos Aires. Her theoretical work explores how Latin American postcolonial ideas and experiences might enrich mainstream postcolonial thinking, as well as the significant challenge which they pose for IR theory. Lucy speaks Spanish and Welsh.
Dr Berit Bliesemann de Guevara, Senior Lecturer in Peacebuilding, Post-War Reconstruction and Transitional Justice
Dr Charalampos Efstathopoulos, Lecturer in International Politics of the Newly Emergent Powers and the Global Order
Dr Innana Hamati-Ataya, Reader in International Politics
Dr Brieg Powel, Lecturer in International Politics
Lecturers in the Department of International Politics are all research active and qualified to PhD level, and most also have a PGCHE.
Welsh medium modules available
Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.
Year 1 Options Students must take the following Degree Scheme Core Module.
Year 1 Options In addition to the Degree Scheme core module and 40 credits from the 'basket' list, students on the Specialist pathway must take an additional 60 credits (3 modules) of modules which may include 1 x 20 credit modules outside the department if desired.
Polisi A Chyunllunio Iaith Yng Nghymru Heddiw GWM9520
Intelligence, Security And International Politics 1900-45 IPM0320
International Politics 1: Theories And Concepts (s) IPM0520
Thoughts Of War: Strategic Theory & Thinkers (s) IPM0920
Year 1 Core (60 Credits) Students must submit a dissertation on a topic relevant to their degree scheme. Students may submit their dissertation in either Welsh or English. Students wishing to submit their Dissertation in Welsh should register for GWM0060.
If you want to study Postcolonial Politics at Masters level
If you wish to develop a critical appreciation postcolonial politics
If you wish to nurture a career in politics
If you desire formal recognition of skills highly sought-after by any postgraduate employer
Every course at Aberystwyth University is designed to enhance your vocational and general employability. Your Masters will place you in the jobs market as a highly-trained political specialist with a strength in depth of knowledge on vital subjects such as the assumptions, theories and practices that have defined traditional studies of relations between developed and underdeveloped states, and the alternative conceptualisation provided by a postcolonial perspective on international relations. You will also graduate with a wealth of postgraduate-level skills which are transferable into any workplace. In addition, the prestige of a masters from the Department of International Politics will open doors for you into workplaces in every industry.
Graduates from the programme regularly go on to hold key posts in institutions throughout the world for example, working for NGOs in development and other areas, or careers as diplomats in foreign offices. Many others have gone on to doctoral study and academic work. Many alumni are now well established figures in their own right, as their own web sites testify. See for example: Megan Daigle, recently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden; Carl Death, Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy, The University of Manchester; Madeleine Fagan, Institute of Advanced Studies Global Research Fellow at Warwick University, UK; Owain Llyr ap Gareth, Campaigns and Research Officer with the Electoral Reform Society; Sara Ababneh, Assistant Professor, Center for Strategic Studies, University of Jordan; Aoileann Ni Mhurchu, Lecturer in International Politics, The University of Manchester; Elizabeth Wheatley, Lecturer in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University.
Key Skills and Competencies
Alongside the wealth of world-class critical expertise, you will master highly desirable skills in academic research, analysis, argument-formation, presentation and debate. You will also prove your abilities in reflection and self-improvement; you will be able to identify your academic weaknesses and remove them whilst building on your strengths.
Self-Motivation and discipline
Studying at Masters level requires discipline and self-motivation from every candidate. You will have access to the expertise and helpful guidance of departmental staff, but you are ultimately responsible for devising and completing a sustained programme of scholarly research in pursuit of your Master’s degree. This process of independent study at an extremely high level will strengthen your skills as an independent and self-sufficient worker, a trait prized by most employers.
The International Relations Masters programme is designed to give you a range of transferable skills that you can apply in a variety of employment contexts. Upon graduation, you will have proven your abilities in structuring and communicating ideas efficiently, writing for and speaking to a range of audiences, evaluating and organizing information, working effectively with others and working within time frames and to specific deadlines.
How to Apply
Postgraduate applicants can submit their application either on-line or off-line. Please see our How to Apply page for further information.
Sara Ababneh, Assistant Professor, Center for Strategic Studies, University of Jordan
Studying postcolonial politics at Aber – as we called it –was the most enriching academic experience of my life. The course allowed me to think in ways that I had previously not known were possible and to be critical of understandings of power which restrict it to the 'official' political sphere. I learned not only from the program’s professors, but also from my classmates, many of whom I am in touch with to this day. The relationship we had with our professors, moreover, went far beyond a conventional student-teacher relationship: Many a time we would all go to Rummers after class or would have dinner with our professors. What was most extraordinary, however, was the encouragement we received to come to conferences, organize workshops and the insight we gained to our tutor's research. This close relationship fostered a strong sense of scholarly community and allowed us to enter the world of academia in a way that is rare for students at the masters level.
David Kruijff, Independent Consultant, Microfinance, Brussels.
After five years of work in countries such as Albania, Kosovo and the Philippines I decided to return to the university in order to place my experiences in a broader perspective. The degree in postcolonial politics allowed me to do exactly so. The poco degree presented tough questions on the role of the international in the development field, the use of ‘expert’ vs local knowledge, the influence of power and knowledge in project design, and much more. Further, the degree clearly enhanced more basic abilities, i.e. learning how to think, analyse and communicate ideas or defend an opinion, verbally and in writing. All in all it made me a more mature and thoughtful person and has enable d me to exercise my profession in a better manner. After completing the degree I returned to my previous profession in the field of Development Finance. Initially I worked for Oxfam in the Netherlands after which I moved to D.C. to work for the World Bank. Currently I live in Brussels where I work as independent consultant in the field of microfinance.
Emiliano Unzer Macedo, Adjunct Professor of the Department de Historia da UFES, Brazil.
My experience studying at University of Aberystwyth was the best possible, fulfilled all my prior expectations. My master’s degree in Postcolonial Politics was very mind challenging, full of constructive arguments and thoughtful debates. I inherited a much more critical and broader view on power, politics and international affairs. All these nowadays constitute fundamental contributions and concepts that I carry along in my university lectures and seminars where I hold office here in the Federal University of Espirito Santo (UFES) at the city of Vitoria, south east region of Brazil.