BA Politics and Modern History / Course details

Year of entry: 2019

Course unit details:
War and the Politics of Ethics

Unit code POLI30822
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Politics
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

This course aims to enable students to think critically about the problem of ethics and its political implications in the context of war.  It raises the question of what ‘ethics’ means in the context of war by bringing together theoretical arguments and empirical material.  This involves examining traditional notions of ethics such as just war thinking, critiques of the notion of ethics and the ways in which ethics is produced in warfare.  Throughout the course, students will link these arguments to ethical questions that have arisen in relation to selected wars.

Topics may include

  • Challenges of Researching War and Ethics
  • The Idea of Just War
  • Questioning Ethics
  • The Politics of Targeting and ‘Collateral Damage’
  • Drone Warfare
  • Using Culture in War
  • Refusing to Fight

 

Pre/co-requisites

This course is ONLY OPEN to students from the following degree programmes: BSocSci, BA (Econ) Politics Specialists (including development studies), PMH, Law with Politics, PPE, BASS Politics Specialists and BA(Hons) Politics and a Modern Language

Aims

·         To introduce existing thinking on ethics in relation to the problematic of war

·         To critically examine traditional notions of ethics in the context of war

·         To explore ethical questions that arise in the context of war

·         To employ theoretical arguments to critically analyse and discuss concrete ethical dilemmas that arise in wars

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students should be able to

·         To identify strengths and weaknesses of existing thinking on ethics in relation to the problematic of war

·         To critically examine traditional notions of ethics in the context of war

·         To identify ethical questions that arises in the context of war

·         To deploy thinking on ethics in order to critically analyse and discuss concrete ethical dilemmas that arises in wars

·         To demonstrate good oral and written communication skills

·         To demonstrate good research skills

·         To demonstrate the ability to work both independently and with others as part of a team

·         To reflect on their learning, using constructive feedback

Teaching and learning methods

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Employability Skills
 

This module helps students wishing to develop and demonstrate skills that can be applied in a wide range of different jobs.  It requires students to summarise and analyse information so as to enable clearly articulated interpretations, involving both independent and team work.  The module provides opportunities to present analyses in written and oral form.

Employability skills

Other
See additional notes at the bottom of the page

Assessment methods

Critical Review Paper (1,500 words; 20%);

Group Research Presentation (20%);

Research Essay (4,000 words; 60%).

Feedback methods

Politics staff will provide feedback on written work within 15 working days of submission.

Students should be aware that all marks are provisional until confirmed by the external examiner and the final examinations boards in June.

For modules that do not have examination components the marks and feedback for the final assessed component are not subject to the 15 working day rule and will be released with the examination results.

You will receive feedback on assessed essays in a standard format. This will rate your essay in terms of various aspects of the argument that you have presented your use of sources and the quality of the style and presentation of the essay. If you have any queries about the feedback that you have received you should make an appointment to see your tutor.

On assessments submitted through Turnitin you will receive feedback via Blackboard. This will include suggestions about ways in which you could improve your work in future. You will also receive feedback on non-assessed coursework, whether this is individual or group work. This may be of a more informal kind and may include feedback from peers as well as academic staff

Recommended reading

Walzer, Michael, Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument With Historical Illustrations, any edition.

O’Callaghan, Ronan, Walzer, Just War and Iraq: Ethics as Response (Abingdon: Routledge 2016).

You may also be interested in

Zehfuss, Maja, War and the Politics of Ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2018).

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Maja Zehfuss Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Information
This course is ONLY OPEN to students from the following degree  programmes:

BSocSci, BA (Econ) Politics Specialists (including development studies), PMH, Phil/Pol, Law with Politics, PPE.


 

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