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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PIED3611 Radical Political Ideas

20 creditsClass Size: 80

Module manager: Dr Maša Mrovlje

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

What would it mean to think about politics in a different way? This module explores some of the radical ideas about politics offered by a selection seminal thinkers. In exploring their ideas, this module offers a challenge to some of the received ways of thinking and talking about the meaning of politics and what it means to be a political subject. In their different ways, the thinkers are concerned with the politics of inclusion and exclusion, identity and difference, self and other, domination and freedom. Ultimately the thinkers are concerned with questions about the kinds of political subjects are permitted to be formed, to have power, to act, and to be heard; and what kinds of subjectivity are made marginal, deemed deviant, subaltern, or prohibited. Often controversial for their views and methods, the thinkers on this module will engage anyone who has ever tried to think about the alternatives to the established ways of thinking about politics - and offer an invitation and challenge to those who have not.


To introduce students to the thought and writings of a selection of seminal figures and their radical political ideas.
To introduce students to the complexities and challenges of thinking about radical alternatives to the political status quo and our understanding of the subject
To enable students to development an ability to critically engage with complex ideas through reading and analysing both primary texts and secondary sources.
To develop students` understanding (i.e. a knowledge of structure and connections and an ability to ask new and relevant questions about this structure) of the links between the radical under review.
To encourage students to draw links between the radical ideas examined here, and the past and present examples of political engagement/activism.
To challenge students to develop a more critical view of both conventional political arrangements and subjectivity our understanding of that subjectivity and the alternatives.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to demonstrate:
1. A knowledge of key ideas and texts of the thinkers under review, and the traditions of thought that they represent.
2. An understanding of how the primary political ideas of those thinkers link together, and how they also link with wider problems/aspects of the radical alternatives under review.
3. An understanding of the problems that the texts are seeking to identify and address, and their relevance for contemporary and conventional views of politics.
On completion of this module students should also have developed :
4. The ability to produce a reasoned argument and synthesise relevant information and use communication and information technologies to retrieve and present information.
5. Exercise critical judgement, and manage and self-critically reflect on, their own learning and make use of constructive feedback.
6. Be able to communicate effectively and fluently in spoken and written English.


Syllabus is dependent on the thinkers selected for study.

Indicative thinkers may include:
Marx, Nietzsche, Schmitt, Foucault, Spivak, Kristeva, Mbembe, Butler

Indicative topics arising from the texts of the thinkers may include:
anti-Semitism, aristocracy, BDSM, communism, cyborgs,‘death’ of God, decentred subject, democracy, equality, Eurocentrism, exploitation, fascism, feminism, foreignness, friendship, Freudian theory, gender, heteronormativity, identity, inclusion and exclusion, national identity, nihilism, postcolonialism, power, psychoanalysis, queer theory, race, representation, sexuality, slavery, sovereignty, the state, the subaltern, subjectivity, and work and production.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning81.008.00
Student-led discussion111.0011.00
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students are asked to read excerpts from the core texts listed in the module bibliography in preparation for seminar discussions, their formative work, and their essay.
Students will be provided with lecture and reading notes.
Students will be provided with voluntary 'worksheets' to help guide them through the texts.
Students will be given the opportunity to submit an essay plan and a sample of writing and to receive and discuss written/verbal feedback on this writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

This module uses both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment (which is voluntary and does not count towards the final grade):
Student contributions to class discussion.
Weekly worksheets guiding students through the readings and enabling them to identify the key points.
Tutor-led peer discussion in seminars.
Opportunities for individual discussions outside seminar times.
Opportunity to submit a short essay plan and to receive written/verbal feedback and guidance.
Opportunity to submit a short sample of an essay and to receive written/verbal feedback and guidance.

Summative assessment (which is compulsory and does count towards the final grade):
A single 2750 word essay after the module has been completed. The essay will take the form of a comparative question around either the juxtaposition of two thinkers, or the engagement with a theme (e.g. power, the state, identity) which students will be asked to address in a critical fashion using the thinkers on discussed on the module.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2750 End of Term essay100.00
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: 29/04/2024 16:19:21


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