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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: International Relations and Contemporary Conflict (PGSP11490)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryWhy is the world still beset by international and civil wars? Why do they start? How can they best be resolved? These are the fundamental questions that this course will seek to answer through a critical engagement with the principal theories of international relations. The foundation of the course will be a debate over which theoretical perspective best explains the causes of conflict. This will be followed by an analysis of the scholarly literature concerning the management and resolution of conflict from each theoretical perspective. Students are expected to apply the theoretical insights gained on the course to historical and contemporary cases of international and civil conflict.
Course description This course provides a framework for an in-depth analysis of the causes and resolution of international conflicts. It is divided into four principle themes or sections. The first will assess the relative explanatory power of the major theories of International Relations for the causes of international conflict. The second will continue this critical engagement with the theoretical perspectives through a debate on how best to resolve such conflicts. The third will analyse major issues in the management and resolution of conflict, such as peacekeeping, mediation and the dilemmas inherent in transitional justice. Finally, the fourth will assess the prospects for effective conflict prevention from each theoretical perspective.

Indicative course structure:

Part I: IR Theory and the Causes of Conflict
This section will cover the Classical, Rationalist, Constructivist and Critical theoretical explanations for conflict
Part II: IR Theory and Conflict Resolution
This section will cover the Classical, Rationalist, Constructivist and Critical approaches to conflict resolution
Part III: IR theory and Issues in Conflict Resolution
This section will analyze issues in conflict resolution, such as mediation, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and transitional justice from each of the principal theoretical perspectives
Part IV: IR Theory and Conflict Prevention
This section will discuss the potential for conflict prevention
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  45
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 30, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 166 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework 100%. Essay 1 (30%): 1500 words. Essay 2 (50%): 2500 words. Tutorial Participation (20%). The tutorial participation grade will encompass both tutorial discussion and group presentations.
Feedback This field should be used to describe the assessment and feedback strategies used on the course, along with their indicative pattern and schedule of feedback.

All assignments will be returned with feedback within 15 days of submission. Feedback for Essay 1 will be provided in time for the students to utilize it in their preparation for Essay 2.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the principal international relations theories and concepts related to the causes and resolution of international conflict
  2. Critically apply international relations theories to historical and contemporary cases of conflict
  3. Develop original and creative responses to problems and issues associated with international conflict
  4. Communicate through empirically grounded and theoretically informed written work and discussions, their understanding of conflict, peace, and related issues.
Reading List
Fearon, J. D. (1995). Rationalist explanations for war. International Organization, 49(03), 379.
Fortna, V. P. (2008). Does peacekeeping work?: Shaping belligerents choices after civil war. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Hartzell, C. A., & Hoddie, M. (2007). Crafting peace: Power-sharing institutions and the negotiated settlement of civil wars. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press.
Mattes, M., & Savun, B. (2009). Fostering Peace After Civil War: Commitment Problems and Agreement Design. International Studies Quarterly, 53(3), 737-759.
Walter, B. F. (2002). Committing to Peace: The Successful Settlement of Civil Wars. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Waltz, K. N. (1959). Man, the State and War: A theoretical analysis. New York: Columbia University Press.
Wendt, A. (1999). Social theory of international politics. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical thinking and analysis through the application of IR theories to contemporary violent conflicts
Research skills through the execution of two research essays
Effective communication skills through discussion, debate and small-group work
Working with others in small-group activities and presentations
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Stephen Hill
Tel: (0131 6)51 5362
Course secretaryMiss Jemma Auns
Tel: (0131 6) 50 24 56
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