The MA in Black British History is an exciting opportunity to study and research the histories of Africans and African-descended peoples in the United Kingdom.
Black British history has been at the margins of academia for too long. MA Black British History is the first taught MA programme in the country to focus exclusively on the histories of peoples of African origin and descent in the United Kingdom. Built by the tireless work of independent scholars and community activists, the field is now growing within UK universities. As a student of MA Black British History, you will make vital contributions to this timely and socially important field of scholarship.
You will learn about the extraordinary and everyday lives of Black Britons. You will study their lives in context, exploring the historical phenomena that produced Black British subjects and citizens, and the history of places from which Black people migrated, in particular the Caribbean and Africa. Key themes include imperialism, slavery and emancipation, and migration. The MA situates Black British history within the histories of the African diaspora and Black European studies and engages with some of the key theoretical interventions of Black studies.
The emphasis of the MA is on early modern and modern history. The programme features the following themes:
- The long histories of race and racialization in the British context.
- Black British history and the African diaspora.
- Histories of slavery and emancipation, colonialism, and migration.
- Shifting historical understandings of race, citizenship and identity.
- Radical Black social movements and organizing traditions, from slave rebellions to Black Lives Matter.
- Black intellectual worlds, art movements, and media, including radio, television and film.
- Regional histories.
- The relationship between Black British history and British history.
- The methodologies, ethics, and practices.
Why study the MA Black British History at Goldsmiths
- Studying in London gives you the opportunity to explore Black British urban history. You will have opportunities to engage with the rich local history around Goldsmiths, while examining Black British experiences outside the capital, introducing a regional approach to Black British history.
- We address methodological questions of archival recovery; the historiography on race, racialisation, and racism; and the varied sources, including oral histories and non-written materials, necessary to producing these histories. It attends as well to blackness and whiteness as historically-specific, culturally-constituted racial constructions.
- This degree’s unique focus on the history of the Black British experience contributes significantly to diversifying the curriculum at Goldsmiths and UK higher education. It has a strong outreach and engagement component.
- The focus on the Black British experience serves as a healthy corrective to the prominence of US Civil Rights in the teaching of Black history at UK schools and universities. It insists that Black history and histories of race are essential to understanding British history. Britain is reassessed and reconfigured through the histories of Africa, the Caribbean, and North America.
- MA Black British History connects with the interdisciplinary research and teaching strengths of the department and Goldsmiths. It creates synergies with other MA programmes. In its close attention to questions of power, the programme joins our MA Queer History in asking how race, sexual orientation, and gender identity have often become interlinked in oppressive ways. There are also synergies with MA Black British Literature, and MA Race, Media and Social Justice. You can elect to take a relevant module from these other MA programmes.
- Your learning will be supported by peers and one-to-one sessions with tutors and supervisors.
- You will undertake an independent research dissertation on a theme of personal interest. You will have the opportunity to organize and present your work at an internal departmental postgraduate conference.
- ou will have access to extensive archival collections at Goldsmiths and Senate House collections, such as the Black British History Collection in the Institute for Historical Research Wohl Library.
- You will be part of the vibrant University of London research community.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Kesewa John.