Decolonisation: Knowledge, Power, and Politics

Short Course

September 28-30, 2020

Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations

In the twentieth century, anti-colonial and anti-racist movements in Asia, Africa, and the Americas appeared to be radically remaking the modern world. Yet the creation of new and politically independent nation-states was only one stage of decolonisation. The configuration of global power is still unequal. The ways in which we think and engage in the world continue to be marked by a colonial past and present. Yet alternative possibilities have been and are being imagined and practiced. 

Situated across the disciplines of Politics, History, and Sociology this introductory course examines the unfinished business of decolonisation. The course will:

1. Introduce students to key ideas in decoloniality, post-colonialism, Marxism, gender, and ecological studies.

2. Analyse the historic contexts of political decolonisation.

3. Ask how are our everyday lives impacted by colonial legacies using the example of race, gender, and desire?

Learning outcome

To understand how the current world system has developed over a period of 500 years of colonialism, slavery, and exploitation, making modernity and coloniality two sides of the same coin.

Course Convenor

Dr Sanaa Alimia is interested in analysing structures of power and how they play out in our everyday lives. Her first manuscript reconstructs microhistories of refugees, undocumented migrants, and low-income groups in Pakistan. An Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Aga Khan University's Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, Sanaa Alimia holds a PhD from the Department of Politics and International Relations at SOAS, London where she also taught (2011-2014). She was a Visiting Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Peshawar (2013-2017) and a Research Fellow at the Berlin Graduate School for Muslim Societies, Freie Universität, Berlin (2014-2016) and Leibniz Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin (2014-2019).

Some of the courses she has taught include:

 Understanding Frantz Fanon

 Global Racialised Migration in the 20th-to-21st Centuries

 The Politics of Modern Muslim Mobility

 Social Movements and Political Protest

 Urban Housing in the Global South

 Comparative Politics

 International Relations

One-on-one Sessions

Interested participants are invited to arrange two individual one-on-one online sessions (each for 45 minutes). These can be used up to 8 weeks after the course has been delivered. Students can discuss key texts, pieces of writing, or reflections in those sessions. These sessions must be booked in advance.

Course preparation

Participants will be asked to listen to a 10-minute pre-recorded lecture before attending each session. Participants will also be asked to read a mixture of academic texts, poetry, political speeches, and news articles. Participants will also be asked to listen to and/or watch songs, performances, and short visual clips.

Date and Time

28, 29 and 30 September 2020 (09:00 – 11:30)


£75.00 for professionals | £45.00 for students, AKU alumni, and AKU staff. Book your tickets soon.

*The course will be delivered via Zoom and further details will be provided later upon registration.