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War and its Aftermath: Interventions and Contemporary Conflict

Module titleWar and its Aftermath: Interventions and Contemporary Conflict
Module codePOL3168
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Klejda Mulaj (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module explores effects of political violence in the contemporary setting with particular focus on the various efforts to intervene in armed conflict and seek redress for mass atrocities. In the first half of the course you will focus on the issues that arise during conflict. The module will consider contemporary trends in modern war, the decision to intervene, and how intervention shapes both the war and the post-war period. In the second half of the course you will study the various ways international and local actors have tried to address legacies of war crimes and mass atrocities after weapons have been laid to rest.

There are no pre-requisites for taking this module but you are required to read extensively. Teaching will be interactive and you are expected to take an active role in weekly class discussions.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module will introduce you to a broad range of scholarship – primarily in the discipline of International Relations – that addresses conflict and its aftermath. This field of study has expanded exponentially in the post-Cold War period and much of it is based on extensive field research. The module will encourage you to grapple with the more theoretical texts in light of well-researched case studies. Furthermore, it will ask you to consider the efficacy of common policy prescriptions in light of recent scholarship. The module aims to help you develop professional values and engage meaningfully with scholarship focused on issues related to war and post-conflict recovery from an academic and policy perspective.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Identify the major arguments in the fields of comparative politics and international relations regarding conflict and its aftermath
  • 2. Evaluate different interpretations about the nature of war and prescriptions for its cessation

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Articulate in-depth knowledge of a subfield of International Relations, and knowledge of contemporary issues in international politics
  • 4. Deploy theoretical arguments, concepts, and methods, and apply them to practices and common policy prescriptions in the global arena;

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Communicate effectively in writing and speech
  • 6. Write well-structured arguments
  • 7. Work independently and with peers to achieve common goals

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

the character of war in the post-Cold War era, terrorism, genocide, actors in war, humanitarian intervention, aid, international criminal tribunals, truth and reconciliation commissions, and state apologies. The first half of the course will address the issues confronted during war (such as the character of fighting, whether or not to intervene, and humanitarian assistance) while the second half of the course will address measures to deal with legacies of mass atrocities in the aftermath of war. Most seminars in the second term will focus on a case study and a cross-cutting thematic issue.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities44Twenty-two seminars of 2 hours each will involve small group discussion of texts and presentations.
Guided independent study200Reading and preparation for tutorials, including preparation of comment papers
Guided independent study56Research and writing of essay


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan300 words1-7Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written assignment (Term 1)453000 words1-7Written
Written assignment (Term 2)453000 words1-7Written
Presentation (Individual)1020 minutes1-5,7Verbal


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written assignment Term 1 (45%)Written assignment (3000 words)1-7August/September reassessment period
Written assignment Term 2 (45%)Written assignment (3000 words)1-7August/September reassessment period
Presentation (10%)1,500 word written assignment on the topic presented in class 1-5, 7August/September reassessment period

Re-assessment notes

Where you have been referred/deferred for the scheduled presentation, you will be asked to write a 1500 word assignment in its place. This will constitute 20% of the final mark.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Michael Barnett and Thomas G. Weiss, Humanitarianism in Question: Politics, Power, Ethics, Cornel University Press, 2008.

Elazar Barkan & Alexander Karn eds., Taking Wrongs Seriously: Apologies and Reconciliation , Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2006.

Klejda Mulaj, ‘Violence of War, Ontopology, and the Instrumental and Performative Constitution of the Political Community’,Review of International Studies , Vol. 44, No. 1, 2018. 

David Rieff, A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis, Simon and Shuster, 2003.

Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World, New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Christine Sylvester, War as Experience: Contributions from International Relations and Feminist Analysis, London: Routledge, 2013.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

International Relations:

The Brookings Institution:

World Policy Institute:

Council on Foreign Relations: 

International Crisis Group:



BBC Europe :


Financial Times: 

The Economist:


Media Websites:

New York Times:

The Washington Post:

The Independent:

The Guardian:

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

War, peace, mass atrocities, intervention, security

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date