Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL3222: Biopolitics in Practice

This module descriptor refers to the 2018/9 academic year.

Module Aims

This module will introduce you to historical and contemporary ideas about biopolitics (as biology of politics/politics of biology), but with the ultimate aim of asking whether this binary can be overcome to create more productive debates into the future. In so doing, it will introduce key scientific, philosophical and theoretical debates about politics and the life sciences in the broadest sense, working through a series of case studies drawn from across the world since the early 20th century. The module will enable you to understand, explore and evaluate how interfaces between biology and politics become articulated, debated and campaigned for in policy contexts and the wider public sphere.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here – you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. Articulate the multiple meanings of ‘biopolitics’ and understand how and why these interpretations have been so politically contested.
2. Identify and critically evaluate one or more case studies of biopolitical debates across a range of domains
Discipline-Specific Skills3. Deploy key theoretical ideas about biopolitics in the contexts of contemporary and historical debates over human nature; environmental politics; biomedicine; and technological futures.
4. Think critically, analyse debates and present coherent arguments about the broader political issues raised by developments in the life sciences.
Personal and Key Skills5. Present written material in a coherent and accessible manner; evaluate ideas and debates.
6. Demonstrate critical media literacy skills – search for, contextualize and evaluate mass media content
7. Produce a public presentation and policy briefing; engage constructively in discussion and evaluate others’ performance.