MA Human Rights - Law/Political Science Pathway (Standard Route)

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Gender, War and Peace

Course unit fact file
Unit code POLI70961
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
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 environments. A number of issues related to gender and conflict-affected contexts 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 and bibliography

1200 words


Final essay

2800 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.
  • Basu, Soumita, Kirby, Paul and Shepherd, Laura (eds.) 2020. New Directions in Women, Peace and Security. Bristol University Press, Bristol.
  • Cockburn, C. 2012. Antimilitarism: Political and Gender Dynamics of Peace Movements. Palgrave MacMillian.
  • Cockburn, C. and Zarkov, D. 2002. The Postwar Moment: Militaries, Masculinities and International Peacekeeping. Lawrence and Wishart
  • Cohn, Carol, ed., Women & Wars (Polity Press, 2013).
  • 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.
  • Enloe, Cynthia, Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics (London: University of California Press, 2000). See also the second edition 2014.
  • 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 and O’Reilly, Maria (eds). 2021. Feminist Interventions in Critical Peace and Conflict Studies. Routledge: London.
  • 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.
  • O’Reilly, Maria. 2018. Gendered Agency in War and Peace: Gender Justice and Women’s Activism in Post-Conflict Bosnia-Herzegovina. Palgrave Macmillan: London.
  • Parpart, Jane L., and Marysia Zalewski, Rethinking the Man Question: Sex, Gender and Violence in International Relations (London: Zed Books, 2008).
  • Sabaratnam, Meera. 2017. Decolonising Intervention: International Statebuilding in Mozambique. Rowman and Littlefield: London.
  • Shepherd, Laura 2008 Gender, Violence and Security: Discourse as Practice. Zed Books: London
  • Shepherd, Laura. 2017. Gender, UN Peacebuilding, and the Politics of Space: Locating Legitimacy. (OUP, New York).
  • 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
  • Whitworth, Sandra. 2004. Men, Militarism and UN Peacekeeping: A Gendered Analysis (London: Lynne Rienner Publishers).
  • Wibben, Annick T. R., Researching War: Feminist Methods, Ethics and Politics (London: Routledge, 2016).
  • Yardav, Punam. 2017. Social Transformation in Post-conflict Nepal: A Gender Perspective. Routledge: New Delhi.
  • Zalewski, Marysia, Feminist International Relations: Exquisite Corpse (London: Routledge, 2013).

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Laura Mcleod Unit coordinator

Additional notes



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