These are the unis offering the most black and ethnic minority history modules
Only one university offered a specific Black British history module
An investigation by The Tab has found out of 25 top universities in the UK, eight offer modules in African history, and only one offers a specific Black British history course.
In May, Leeds University announced they were considering launching a module on Black British history after the “Why is My Curriculum White?” campaign. The campaign, led by LUU Education Officer Melz Owusu, aimed to expose and highlight the lack of black history modules at Leeds University.
The campaign sparked a debate on how Eurocentric humanities modules are at UK universities, specifically in history departments.
The Tab contacted 25 UK universities and found The University of Reading was the only university to offer a module on Black British history. Only eight universities offered modules on African history, with most ‘black’ modules focusing on slavery and race relations in modern America.
UEA was the worst university out of the 25 for diversity, offering just one module on Japan as the only non-white subject. Royal Holloway offered the most black and ethnic minority modules.
Here is a closer look at how diverse the history modules at your university are.
UEA’s history departments has one of the least diverse module selection, with just one module on non-European subjects, that being Japan.
In first year, non-white history is fleeting with only one area looking at slavery in Haiti and Louisiana. This improves in second and third year, with modules available on post-colonial India, modern Japan and modern China.
Reading is one of the only places to offer a module on Black British history. They also look at the Rwandan genocide, Africa during colonial rule, India and slavery in America.
Sheffield does not offer a single African history module, with the only ‘black’ module looking at African Americans. It does have modules looking at India, China, Afghanistan.
Cambridge has modules on African history from 1800, as well as Indian, Middle Eastern and Pacific islands.
Exeter provides various diversity courses, with modules in Southern and North African history, Indian history, Chinese history, African American life and 20th Century African history.
Loughborough is lacking in diverse history modules, with only two modules on black and ethnic minorties including one on Jim Crow America and one on South Asia.
Durham is one of the strongest universities for black and ethnic minority history, looking at African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Ottomans, Native American and US minority rights.
Bristol is weak on Asian history, with one module on Indian history, compared to the other unis in the Russel Group who also looked at China and Japan. They also have modules on post-colonial Africa.
UoB was admittedly Eurocentric on their website in first year history. Second year modules include Islamic history and Afro-Eurasian history, however overall there is a lack of diversity for non-European history.
LSE have the opposite of most universities, as most modules aren’t even European.
Notts have just two non-European subjects, Chinese and Japanese history, making it one of the least diverse courses for history.
Seemingly Manchester have zero mention of African history, but do teach modules on China, India and the Islamic world.
Cardiff do not have a single module on African history, but cover Asia comprehensively as well as looking at slavery and slave life in the US.
Leeds offer a module on White Africans, amongst others such as Brazillian, Caribbean, Indian, Japanese, Chinese history and the US civil rights movement.
Out of the 25 universities surveyed, Royal Holloway provided the most diverse range of courses, with 18 black and ethnic minority modules in second and third year. Modules included non-Western leaders and Islamic history.
Glasgow has one of the least diverse history departments, with not a single ‘black’ module or even distinctly Asian module. However, Native American and Middle Eastern history are offered.
The Tab spoke to Leeds University about the possibility of a new Black British history course, as campaigned by the “Why Is My Curriculum White?” group. A spokesperson for the university said: “Over the past ten years Leeds has developed a range of modules in African American history, Caribbean history, African history, and the history of South and South-East Asia.
“We are looking into the possibility of developing an undergraduate module that explores the histories of peoples of African descent in Britain and, as part of this, we are hoping to work with and learn from community educators, student campaigns, and scholars, both in Leeds and elsewhere. This project is still in the early stages of development.”
India Edwards, Welfare, Community and Diversity officer at UEA, whose university scored low for module diversity, commented: “With a BAME achievement gap of 18 per cent it’s clear that UEA needs to do more to improve inclusion and representation. Part of the solution is about what we study – academia revolves around studying particular types of theorists or authors that are classically white, stale and male. A rounded education would see all of us studying more women and non-binary authors; more theorists who define as LGBT+; more BME academics; more culture; and ultimately more diversity.
“That’s why we’re calling on UEA to catch up to lots of other universities and introduce a curriculum diversity strategy- where academics in each school are given bespoke help and support on diversification in their field, and the module design process includes reflection on diversity issues.”
All module details were provided through each university’s website.