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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LISS1017 Wealth and Poverty: The Making of the Modern World

10 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Winnie Bedigen

Taught: 1 Jul to 31 Aug View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

GPA of 2.8 (US) or equivalent and enrolled at a University

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The module examines the profound socio-economic and political effects of the Western colonialism on the making of the modern world and what some of the responses to colonialism have been from peoples in the Global South. It thereby introduces some key features of the global political economy, past and present, including the role of subordination, domination and violence in the processes of surplus production and appropriation and the demand for social justice and social change throughout the history of the making of the modern world. The module is based on the premise that colonialism had profound effects on the formation of the modern world and that this historical knowledge is necessary for an understanding of its contemporary condition.


To examine the drivers, characteristics and repercussions of European colonialism and to explore the role that colonialism in the Americas, Africa and Asia played in the making of the modern world. A particular link will be made between the expansion of colonialism and the development of industrialisation in Europe. The module also explores what the impact of colonialism has been in the modern world and what its continuing legacies may be. The module furthermore pays attention to similarities and differences regarding some key features of the global political economy, past (during the era of colonialism) and present, e.g. the issue of forced labour (i.e. modern day slavery). Throughout the module students will be introduced to some of the relevant key concepts in social sciences to further the analysis.

Learning outcomes
- to have an appreciation of the historical factors underlying differences in levels of social and economic development between countries in the industrialised 'North' and those in the developing 'South';
- be familiar with the processes of subordination and domination which facilitated both the expansion of European industrialisation and the incorporation of colonised regions into the emerging world capitalist economy;
- understand the relationship between colonialism and the development of capitalism
- understand the role of subordination, domination, violence, and theft in the production and reproduction of wealth and poverty.


The module analyses key drivers, characteristics and repercussions of colonialism in the Americas, Asia and Africa. It also reviews the drivers, characteristics and repercussions of the transatlantic slave trade. It examines the impact of colonialism on gender and land and investigates processes of resistance to colonialism, and the struggles for independence and the outcomes of socialist regimes in post-colonial countries.

Persistent features of colonialism will be examined, including racism, power asymmetries, the role of the state in development and the patterns of resource and surplus extraction from the South in the making and reproduction of the modern world.

The module closes with an analysis of the continuation of forms of forced labour/slavery, and discusses recent trends in the relationship between the formerly colonizing and colonised countries (i.e. Global North and Global South).

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours15.00
Private study hours43.00
Total Contact hours42.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

15 hour preparatory VLE work before the module starts: readings, 3 short preparation tasks
43 hours private study during module: readings, preparing for daily seminar discussions, assessment preparations

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Seminar-type discussion in sessions will be centred around student participation, ensuring students have grasped the day’s issues and clarifying any misunderstandings. This will also be a space for students to practice the presentation of ideas to their fellow students and feeding back to class the literature they have covered, and discussions they had in groups/pairs during the session.
Students will write an essay, and do a group presentation. Students will also be introduced to the use of alternative communication and presentation formats, such as the use of posters, for example, which will be peer assessed which serves as a way to practice such methods in a non-assessed context.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
PresentationGroup presentation30.00
Essay1500 words70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/03/2022


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