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Colonialism Studies

The Colonialism Studies track is part of the Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora.

The Colonialism Studies minor is designed to offer students a strong foundation to understand processes of colonialism, anti-colonial independence movements, and the national and global effects of colonialism. Students explore the historical and present-day colonial formations. This course of study connects the differentiated concerns of slavery, military colonialism, war, processes of extraction, and accumulation, cultural imperialism, gendered and sexual violence. Students consider problems and contexts that are specific to the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia, and ones that cross and bind together world regions. Colonialism Studies exposes the meaningful links among multiple sites, communities, and subjects where colonialisms have forcibly shaped and remade terrains of rule, Diaspora, struggle, contestation, and cultural expression.

Minor Requirements

The minor requires five courses:

  • Requirement 1:
    RCD 0050 Introduction to Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora
  • Requirement 2: 
    Two courses with a full or partial focus on the processes and varieties of colonialism. These courses might focus on one world region or on the comparison between two or more world regions. Please see the departmental website for an updated list of courses.
  • Requirement 3: 
    One additional course that contributes to the development of skills for producing analytical understanding of power relations with regards to colonialism through the study of disciplines, or through political, economic, gender-based, historical, or cultural analysis. Please see the departmental website for an updated list of courses.
  • Requirement 4: 
    Senior capstone (CST 0198) or option course. Departmental approval required.

As an alternative to the senior capstone project, a student has the option of taking an approved Colonialism Studies course during the first or second semester of senior year, and fulfilling the capstone requirement by writing a research paper (minimum 15 pages), or completing an oral presentation or a performance, which integrates the knowledge and methodologies from the course with other conceptual approaches explored in courses taken for the minor. In the case of the option course, the capstone project will be evaluated by the course instructor and one other member of the Colonialism Studies committee.

The choice of capstone or option course must be approved by the Colonialism Studies committee before it begins.

In completing the above requirements, students must select courses distributed across at least three departments/programs.

Students in the minor are strongly recommended to pursue the study of a foreign language to an advanced level.

A maximum of two courses from the minor may be double counted for another major or foundation or distribution requirement.


Students interested in pursuing a Colonialism Studies Minor should contact Track Director or RCD Department Administrator.

Kamran Rastegar
Director of Colonialism Studies
Olin Center, Room 316

Jessica Touayl
Staff Assistant
Fung House, 2nd Floor

Nicole Frechette
Department Administrator
Fung House, 1st Floor