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effects of colonialism

Effects of colonialism

Essay writing is a key skill, and you will be asked to write many essays during your time as an IR student! This essay needs to be 2000 words, and address one of the following questions:


Essay Writing Steps:

  1. Choose one question.
  2. Consult the lectures slides, your notes and the notes in this document for inspiration
  3. Read the essential reading and your learning portfolio before you decide how you want to respond to the question
  4. Free writing in your own words; write a paragraph and how YOU want to answer the question.  You have an opinion, and we want to know about it.
  5. Research the concepts and the empirical material you will use in your essay.  Please consult peer reviewed sources.
  6. Design an argument and an essay outline (what you will say in each paragraph).
  7. Write your essay drawing on the research you have done. This part takes time.
  8. Additional research if need be. You may need to do additional research to fill in some of the blanks.
  9. Referencing please do this while you write. Take detailed notes of the material you use and where it is from.
  10. Edit and Proofread. Read your completed essay at least twice. Check that the structure works and there are no spelling mistakes.

Research Tips:

  • Textbooks have extended readings at the end of the chapters on your topic. Once you have read the chapter scope out the reading lists they provide.  Check out and read the ones that are of interest to you.
  • Re-read your lectures notes and learning portfolios on the essay topic you choose. This is a great place to find an argument; in your own notes.  You have already done lots of reading and work! so you can rely on this.
  • If you like the work of one author, check to see if they have written another article or book. You might like this too.

Writing Tips:

  • Your introduction should be short, it should state your argument clearly and outline what you will discuss in the essay.  Please consult the introduction writing exercise under Module Paperwork
  • Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that states what you will argue in that paragraph
  • Each paragraph should end with a sentence that explains how that paragraph relates to your wider argument (the one you outlined in your introduction)
  • Try to use examples where possible to explain your point.  Please rely on trusted sources when you use examples.
  • All direct quotes must include the page numbers of the source they are from
  • Please consult the Concept Analysis Feedback form under Module Paperwork for a more extensive guide
  • Please format correctly so your essay is easy to read
  • Please proofread and reference correctly


Essay Question Guidelines

  • This is meant to be a helping hand for the essay.
  • These are suggestions, and you are by no means required to follow them.
  • Please note these are possible approaches, you cannot complete all the approaches.  You will most likely have to choose one.
  • Where possible we have listed sources you can consult and these are available on the online Reading List.
  • Most importantly please have fun researching your essay.  Take your time and please don’t stress (we have enough to stress about).


  1. Colonialism is responsible for inequality and hierarchy between the Global North and the Global South.  Evaluate.

Possible Approaches: 

  • You will have to give a definition and explanation of colonialism and its different facets
  • You will have to explain the lasting effects of colonialism
  • You might consider choosing a country that has been colonised and examine the lasting relationship it has had with the country that colonised it (if you are from a country that has been colonised please feel free to explore this case)
  • The book chapter by Krishna (2014 in Edkins and Zehfuss) discusses the relationship between India and Britain
  • Some key concepts you might wish to explore: Orientalism or the ‘civilizing mission’
  • You can focus on economic questions: lack of economic development of the colonised country because of resource grab for example and the use of resources to support the colonising country
  • Or you may focus on questions of representation and knowledge production, here the work Barkawi from week 1, Said in week 2, Henderson in week 11 and Rutazibwa in week 11 are great.
  • The readings on borders in week 10 may also help, especially Doty’s chapter in Edkins and Zehfuss 2014