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Module Code: POU44032

Module Name: Contemporary International Relations B 2023-24

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught: Semester 2
  • Contact Hours: One 90-minute seminar per week
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Dr Curran Flynn
  • Module Pre-requisites: POU22021 International Relations A and POU22022 International Relations B or equivalent
  • Module Co-Requisite: POU44021 Contemporary International Relations A

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Appraise the explanatory power of different theories of conflict.

  • Critically examine the concept of security.

  • Compare and contrast the drivers of inter-state and intra-state conflict.

  • Reflect upon the importance of different threats to security such as conventional war, nuclear weapons and terrorism.

  • Examine the role of intergovernmental organizations as well as state and non-state actors in conflict.

  • Argue on the use and need for intervention of the international community in conflicts.

Module Learning Aims

The module aims to allow students to analyze conflict and security in contemporary international relations. The module will give students the ability to apply theoretical perspectives of conflict and the nature of security to contemporary events. Students will analyze the drivers between domestic and international conflicts, noting similarities and differences in the impetus behind conflict. The module will allow students to examine the uniqueness and interlinkages between concepts such as nuclear weapons, terrorism and proxy wars. The effectiveness of international organizations in resolving conflicts, promoting human rights will be critiqued. Students will be able to appraise the utility of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine.

Module Content

This module provides a comprehensive exploration of the dynamic interplay between conflict, security, and international relations. Students will delve into the historical evolution of conflict, engage with various theoretical perspectives on conflict, and critically examine the concept of security. The module further investigates the multifaceted causes and drivers of conflict, in a domestic and international context, and addresses pressing issues such as nuclear weapons, terrorism, proxy wars, international organizations, human rights, and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine. It examines these concepts both theoretically and through the prism of contemporary events including but not limited to:  the Russian invasion of Ukraine, tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the civil war in Sudan, the Syrian civil war, terrorism in Central Asia, use of state sanctioned private military companies in Africa and the role of the African Union, NATO and the UN in recent conflicts.

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Indicative Reading List

Collins, Alan (ed.). (2022). Contemporary Security Studies, 6th Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Williams, Paul D. and Matt McDonald (eds). (2018).Security Studies, 3rd Edition. London: Routledge.

Assessment Details

In Class Midterm – 30%

Midterm Essay – 30%

Final Essay – 40%

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