What is War (L2072A)

30 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

You will gain an advanced understanding of the place of war in the political world. What is war and how, if at all, is it different from other forms of violence? What is the relationship between war and politics? We will ask what war is and then investigate its relation to the fields of ethics, gender, sexuality, and culture. You will then use this knowledge to investigate specific forms of warfare, including genocide as a war of annihilation, insurgency/guerrilla warfare, and counterinsurgency. We conclude by addressing anti-war activism and related forms of civil disobedience as alternatives to war. You are provided with an advanced knowledge and analytical skills that will help you to think, talk, and write in an informed and critical manner about war.


100%: Seminar


30%: Coursework (Essay, Group presentation)
70%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 30 hours of contact time and about 270 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 2023/24. 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.


This module is offered on the following courses: