MA Human Rights - Political Science (Standard Route) / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Gender, War and Peace

Unit code POLI70962
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Politics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This module will introduce and critically reflect on three major concepts that are central to international politics: gender, war, and peace. Students will explore the different – and often challenging – ways in which we understand and interpret “gender” in conflict and post-conflict contexts. A number of conflict and post-conflict issues will be covered. These issues will be explored through a number of ways in which we come to understand what gender “is” and how it functions: including everyday, experiential, affective, aesthetic and sensory analysis of war and peace. Such analysis stimulates a very different set of questions and perception about international politics and the way in which we should investigate international politics. By the end of this course, students will be able to critically reflect upon why gendered policies, practices and processes occur in certain ways in the conflict and post-conflict context, as well as the limitations and possibilities created by thinking about “gender” in certain ways.   

Learning outcomes

  • Advanced level of understanding and knowledge of the key debates and theoretical positions in relation to gender, war and peace. A knowledge and understanding of the various issues which are confronted in conflict and post-conflict contexts.
  • Display an ability to engage in thinking and reasoning; an ability to analyse and critically engage with feminist positions on gender, war, and peace; and to work independently to identify appropriate further reading.
  • Advanced cognitive and communicative skills; the ability to present reasoned and effective arguments in written and oral form; the ability to pursue an advanced level of independent learning and to show critical judgement.

Teaching and learning methods

Weekly contact hours will consist of a two-hour workshop each week for 10 weeks.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 30%
Written assignment (inc essay) 70%

Assessment task

Length required

Weighting within unit (if relevant)

Critical Reflection

1000 words


Final essay

3500 words


Recommended reading


  • Ackerly, Brooke A., Maria Stern, and Jacqui True, eds., Feminist Methodologies for International Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
  • Al-Ali, N. and Pratt, N. 2009. What Kind of Liberation? Women and the Occupation of Iraq. University of California Press.
  • Cockburn, C. and Zarkov, D. 2002. The Postwar Moment: Militaries, Masculinities and International Peacekeeping. Lawrence and Wishart
  • Cockburn, C. 2012. Antimilitarism: Political and Gender Dynamics of Peace Movements. Palgrave MacMillian.
  • Cohn, Carol, ed., Women & Wars (Polity Press, 2013).
  • Enloe, Cynthia, Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics (London: University of California Press, 2000). See also the second edition 2014.
  • Enloe, C. 2001. Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women’s Lives. University of California Press.
  • Enloe, C. 2010. Nimo’s War, Emma’s War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War. University of California Press.
  • Henry, N. 2011. War and Rape: Law, Memory and Justice. Routledge
  • Higate, P & Henry, M. 2009. Insecure Spaces: Peacekeeping, Power and performance in Haiti, Kosovo and Liberia. Zed Books: London
  • Kronswell, Annica & Erica Svedberg, eds., Making Gender, Making War: Violence, Military and Peacekeeping Practices (London: Routeldge, 2013).
  • McLeod, Laura. 2016. Gender Politics and Security Discourse: Personal-Political Imaginations and Feminism in “Post-Conflict” Serbia. Routledge: London.  
  • Ni Aolain, F., Haynes, D. F. and Cahn, N. 2011. On the Frontlines: Gender, War and the Post-Conflict Process. Oxford University Press
  • Parpart, Jane L., and Marysia Zalewski, Rethinking the Man Question: Sex, Gender and Violence in International Relations (London: Zed Books, 2008).
  • Shepherd, Laura 2008 Gender, Violence and Security: Discourse as Practice. Zed Books: London
  • Shepherd, Laura, Gender, Violence & Popular Culture: Telling Stories (London: Routledge, 2013).
  • Sjoberg, L. 2013. Gendering Global Conflict: Towards a Feminist Theory of War. Columbia University Press.
  • Sjoberg, Laura & Sandra Via, eds., Gender, War & Militarism: Feminist Perspectives (Praeger, 2010).
  • Sjoberg, Laura, Gender, War & Conflict (London: Polity Press, 2014).
  • Steans, Jill, Gender and International Relations: An Introduction, 3rd Edition (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013).
  • Sylvester, C. 2013. War as Experience: Contributions from international Relations and feminist analysis. Routledge
  • Weber, Cynthia, Imagining America at War: Morality, Politics, and Film (London: Routledge, 2006).
  • Zalewski, Marysia, Feminist International Relations: Exquisite Corpse (London: Routledge, 2013).
  • Wibben, Annick T. R., Researching War: Feminist Methods, Ethics and Politics (London: Routledge, 2016).
  • Whitworth, Sandra. 2004. Men, Militarism and UN Peacekeeping: A Gendered Analysis (London: Lynne Rienner Publishers).


Key Journals:

The following journals will provide much of the leading-edge feminist research.  Critical international politics journals that are not explicitly feminist also provide space for feminist engagement in IR.

Feminist Journals

Feminist Review; Feminist Studies; Gender and History; Hypatia; International Feminist Journal of Politics; Signs: A Journal of Women and Culture; Women’s History Review; Women’s Studie

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jennifer Hobbs Unit coordinator

Additional notes



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