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Human Rights and Political Violence

  • Module code: PO6009
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 6
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: Successful completion of Level 5
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

Based on the broad theme of the universal versus the particular, this module explores the interaction between identity, violent conflict and the abuse of human rights.  It provides students with the opportunity to consider how protracted conflicts may be better resolved more effectively and human rights better protected.  The module blends theoretical discussion of political violence with an analysis of recent conflicts and the legal and institutional mechanisms which have emerged to reduce their detrimental impact on human rights.

Aims

  • To facilitate investigation of the dynamics of violent conflict and identity, exploring the ways in which these shape conceptions of self and other and of the universal and the particular.
  • To introduce students to a variety of theories on the management and resolution of violent conflicts
  • To develop a detailed understanding of the impact of armed conflict on the human rights of individuals and group 
  • To enhance student’s knowledge of the processes and mechanisms, existing and proposed, that help mitigate the impact of violent conflict on human rights

Learning outcomes

  • To understand and critically appraise the different theories of identity and violent conflict discussed in the module
  • To analyse and develop a well founded position on the different approaches to the resolution of violent conflict discussed in the module
  • Reflect on the interaction between conflicting identities, political violence and human rights abuse
  • Understand the ways in which human rights can mitigate the consequences of violent conflict on civilians and combatants, but might also be used as a justification for the use of political violence
  • Engage in advanced research of the academic relevant policy-based literature, on identity, violent conflict and human rights.
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop a logical and well supported written argument that integrates discussion of empirical evidence with a critical analysis of theoretical material

Curriculum content

Part One: The Particular: Identity Politics and Violent Conflict

  • Why Fight?  Thinking about violent conflicts
  • Self and Other: The politics of identity
  • Thinking About Identity I: Primordialism and ethno-nationalism
  • Thinking About Identity II: Instrumentalism
  • Thinking About Identity III: Constructivism
  • Managing and Overcoming Conflict I: Consociationalism
  • Managing and Overcoming Conflict II: Using Civil Society
  • Managing and Overcoming Conflict III: Constructivism
  • Case Study: Northern Ireland
  • Case Study: Iraq

Part Two: The Universal: Human Rights and Violent Conflict

  • Self and Other: One or many humanities?
  • Identity and the “New Wars”
  • The Just War
  • Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect
  • Peace Operations
  • Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect
  • Pacifism and the Right to Refuse to Kill
  • Women, children and war
  • Human Rights and the Weapons of War
  • Debating Intervention in Libya and Syria
  • Cosmopolitanism vs Particualrism

Teaching and learning strategy

Human Rights and political violence is taught through lectures, seminars and guided study sessions.  Weekly lectures provide a basic introduction to the key concepts and issues around which the module is structured.  Films and other AV material will be used to supplement the presentation given by the lecturer. 

Seminars will be used to provide a forum for wider group discussion on this material, consolidating lecture content and the student’s weekly background research.  Seminar exercises may involve discussions of original source excerpts, policy simulations or role plays to support student’s understanding of the module content. 

The module will be supported by the use of a virtual learning environment (Blackboard).

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching 3hours x 22 weeks 66
Guided independent study Weekly reading and research + reflective learning journal entries and exam revision 234
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy has three components:

  1. essay 3000 words 50%
  2. Critical learning journal 3000 words, 50%

Formative feedback opportunities:

As the reflective learning journal will be undertaken on a weekly basis, several opportunities will be provided for students to obtain feedback on their entries before submitting the final journal at the end of the module

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1) To understand and critically appraise the different theories of identity and violent conflict discussed in the module Final Examination
2) To analyse and develop a well founded position on the different approaches to the resolution of violent conflict discussed in the module Final Examination
3) Reflect on the interaction between conflicting identities, political violence and human rights abuse Reflective learning journal
4) Understand the ways in which human rights can mitigate the consequences of violent conflict on civilians and combatants, but might also be used as a justification for the use of political violence Reflective learning journal Final examination
5) Engage in advanced research of the academic relevant policy-based literature, on identity, violent conflict and human rights. Reflective learning journal Mid-term essay Final examination
6) Demonstrate the ability to develop a logical and well supported written argument that integrates discussion of empirical evidence with a critical analysis of theoretical material Final Examination

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK 3,000 word essay 50
CWK Critical Learning Journal 3,000 words 50
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Ozkirimli, Umut (2010) Theories of Nationalism: A Critical Introduction, 2nd Edition,  Basingstoke: Palgrave

Chandra Lekha Sriram, Olga Martin-Ortega & Johanna Herman (2009) War, Conflict and Human Rights, London: Routledge

Bibliography recommended reading

Bouillon, Markus, David M. Malone & Ben Rowswell (Eds.) (2007) Iraq: Preventing a New Generation of Conflict, London: Lynne Rienner

Herring, Eric and Glen Rangwala (2006) Iraq in Fragments: The Occupation and Its Legacy, Hurst: London

Joireman, Sandra (2003) Nationalism and Political Identity, London: Continuum

Dixon, Paul (2008) Northern Ireland: The Politics of War and Peace, Basingstoke: Palgrave

Esman, Milton (2004) An Introduction to Ethnic Conflict, Cambridge: Polity

Walzer, Michael (2004) Arguing about War, New Haven: Yale University Press

Nye, Jospeh (1999) Understanding international conflicts: an introduction to theory and history, New York, Longman

Evans, Gareth (2008) The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and for All, Washington DC, Brookings Institution

Shaw, Martin (2005) The new Western way of war: risk-transfer war and its crisis in Iraq, Cambridge, Polity Press

Holsti, Kalevi (1996) The state, war, and the state of war, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press

Reno, William (1998) Warlord Politics and African States, London, Lynne Rienner

Diehl, Thomas (2008) Peace Operations, Cambridge, Polity Press

Foley, Conor (2008) The Thin Blue Line: How Humanitarianism went to war, London, Verso 

Shaw, Martin (2003) War and Genocide, Cambridge, Polity Press

Jones, Adam (2006) Genocide: a comprehensive introduction, London, Routledge

Moir, Lindsay (2002) The Law of Internal Armed Conflict, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press

Kerr, Rachel & Erin Mobekk (2007) Peace and Justice, Cambridge, Polity Press

Dolan, Chris (2005) In War We Trust: The Bush doctrine and the pursuit of just war, Aldershot, Ashgate

Dillon, Michael & Julian Reid (2009) The Liberal Way of War: Killing to make life live, London, Routledge

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