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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Advanced Topics in Global Security (PLIT10151)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course builds on core themes and tools developed in Foundations of Global Security, introducing sophisticated frameworks for analysing security politics and addressing new and particularly vexing security issues to help -students develop an advanced understanding of the contemporary security environment. Students will rely on various theoretical approaches, many of which extend ideas and topics covered in Foundations of Global Security, to explore contemporary security challenges and security/insecurity discourses. The course will enhance their analytical skills for assessing security problems, and for building independent research strategies that allow them to develop original arguments about emerging and enduring security hotspots. Amongst PIR's Honours curriculum, it expands the range and depth of our Global Security curriculum, offers the opportunity to deliver even more research-led teaching on security, and complements L&T strengths in security and foreign policy, e.g. Russia's Foreign & Security Policy, Gender & Peacekeeping, and Human Rights in International Relations, while also meeting a general security studies demand in the curriculum, for which there has been growing student interest over the past six years.
Course description This course covers advanced ways of analysing new or complex security challenges, with developments in traditional and critical scholarship each playing a part. It also balances a focus on recent developments in conventional security sectors like military, war and peace, and the nation-state with emergent issues, such as global health challenges, extremism, climate change, and cybersecurity. Students will rely on deploy various frameworks to explore contemporary security challenges and dynamics. The course will enhance their analytical skills for assessing real-world problems, and for building independent research strategies that allow them to develop original arguments about emerging and enduring dilemmas. The course blends weekly lectures and tutorials with compulsory readings to help you build analytical skills and to engage the lived politics of security in a more experiential way.

The course will engage themes including, but not limited to (with variations according to contemporary developments):

1. Critical and popular geopolitics
2. Peace studies and non-violent resistance
3. Race, colonialism and imperialism
4. Violent extremism
5. The privatisation of security (private security contractors)
6. Cybersecurity and artificial intelligence
7. Transnational crime (human trafficking, drug trafficking, financial crime)
8. Climate change, resource management, and the Anthropocene

This course consists of one lecture plus one tutorial per week, accompanied by compulsory readings. Attendance of lectures and tutorials is compulsory and tutorials are subject to participation assessment. The tutorials are designed to give students an opportunity to engage more deeply with the topics raised in the lecture, to discuss and share your ideas with other students and to develop your communication skills.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: International Cooperation in Europe and Beyond (PLIT08006) OR Politics and International Relations 1B: The Global Dimension (PLIT08018) OR Politics in a Changing World: An Introduction for non-specialists (PLIT08012)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students are strongly advised to have completed Foundations of Global Security (PLIT10154) or Global Security (PLIT10094) before taking this course.

Students who have not taken 'International Cooperation in Europe and Beyond' OR 'Politics and International Relations 1B' OR 'Politics in a Changing World' but have taken a similar course, must contact the Course Organiser to confirm if they are eligible to enrol.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 4 Politics/International Relations courses, one of which is security themed, at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  118
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 167 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 85 %, Practical Exam 15 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 15% - The tutorial participation grade will be assessed on informed participation, including students' capacity to engage in discussions based on the assigned readings, as well as listen to and engage with other students in the group
15% Research paper outline (750 words, including 200 word abstract and preliminary bibliography)
70% Research paper (3500 words)
Feedback Students can consult with their tutors and/or the course organiser and lecturers on various components of assessment of this course. They will also receive feedback on their first (comparatively minor) summative assessment to support their second (comparatively major) summative assessment well before the second deadline.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. critically assess, taking into consideration competing explanations, the most salient issues in global security.
  2. assess competing claims and make informed judgements about the role and influence of state and non-state actors on the global security agenda.
  3. demonstrate a thorough knowledge and critical understanding of the recent literature and link its arguments to contemporary security concerns.
  4. present clear, analytical and robust arguments in both written and oral form.
  5. identify and critically assess the political and normative implications of different claims about security and insecurity.
Reading List
S. Basu, P. Kirby, and L. Shepherd (eds.), 2020, New Directions in Women, Peace, and Security (Bristol University Press).
J. Grove, 2019 Savage Ecology (Duke University Press).
E. Schwarz, 2018 Death Machines: The Ethics of Violent Technologies (Routledge).
T. Stevens, 2015, Cyber Security and the Politics of Time (Cambridge University Press).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Improved conceptualization skills and ability to absorb and contrast disparate theoretical arguments.
- Enhanced research and presentation skills as a result of the combination of in-class material and discussion, and its link to the course assignments.
- Advanced ability to interpret and understand political developments with the aid of theoretical tool-set acquired.
- Ability to synthesize diverse research literatures with empirical evidence.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Andrew Hom
Tel: (0131 6)50 4688
Course secretaryMr James Heitler
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