War and the Politics of (Counter) Insurgency (959M1)

30 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

This module aims to provide you with a strong foundation in the conceptual, strategic and ethical issues related to irregular warfare. While looking at in-depth historical case studies of irregular warfare, the module will reveal how varieties of irregular warfare have risen to prominence during the 20th century. This module will, in particular, trace the evolutionary phases of insurgency and counter-insurgency from the Maoist version of the 'people's war' in China to the development of global jihad.

The module will particularly focus on the dilemmas and problems that conventional militaries have faced in trying to adapt to irregular warfare and explore the issue of whether or not the military is the ideal instrument in defeating insurgencies. This module, furthermore, aims to familiarise you with the sub-types of irregular warfare. It is useful to have a basic knowledge of 20th-century history, as this will comprise some of the case study subject matter discussed in this seminar, but this is not indispensable as background readings will be provided for any of the cases examined.


100%: Practical (Workshop)


100%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2022/23. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.