POLIS 2109 - The Ethics of War and Peace
North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2020
General Course Information
Course Code POLIS 2109 Course The Ethics of War and Peace Coordinating Unit Politics and International Studies Term Semester 1 Level Undergraduate Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 3 hours per week Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y Prerequisites At least 12 units of Level I undergraduate study Incompatible POLI 2022, POLI 2109, POLI 3022 Course Description This course is concerned with the ethics of war and peace in international politics. The approach taken is both theoretical and practical. Students will be introduced to the major theoretical approaches to ethical questions in international relations (i.e. realism, pacifism, and just war theory) and will be expected to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses as well as apply their logic and insights to specific cases and scenarios.
The central questions the course will explore include: Can the use of force ever be justified? Is there such a thing as a just war? Can pre-emptive and preventive strikes be justified on ethical grounds? Are the tenets of the just war tradition applicable to 21st Century conflicts? Is humanitarian intervention an ethical practice or a useful instrument for powerful nations? Can terrorism be justified on ethical grounds? Should terrorists be entitled to prisoner of war status? Can torture be justified to combat terrorism? Should we pay less attention to the ethics of war and more to the ethics of peace? What should be prioritised in post-war contexts: justice or peace? (How) Should we remember the past: let's forget vs lest we forget?
These and other questions will be explored through the examination of a wide range of events, both past and present, including: WWI and WWII, the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the 2003 Iraq War, the use of torture in Abu Ghraib, the killing of Osama bin Laden, the use of child soldiers in African conflicts, the 2007 cyberwar in Estonia, the 2011 military intervention in Libya, the tactics of Islamic State, the conflict in Syria, the reconstruction of Afghanistan, the tensions in the South China Sea, and the nuclear standoff with North Korea. The course will also examine the ethics of emerging military and security technologies, such as drones, robots, cyborgs, and cyberweapons.
Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Benito Cao
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning OutcomesOn successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. understand the ethical dimension of international relations;
2. understand and apply the major theories of international ethics;
3. identify and discuss past, present and future ethical challenges;
4. think critically about the ethical dimension of global politics;
5. conduct independent research utilising a variety of sources;
6. critically engage with relevant ethical political developments;
7. produce coherent and well substantiated ethical arguments;
8. express ideas confidently, thoughtfully and respectfully; and
9. work with others in the exploration of relevant political content.
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s) Deep discipline knowledge
- informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
- acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
- accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
1, 2, 3, 4 Critical thinking and problem solving
- steeped in research methods and rigor
- based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
- demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
4, 5, 6, 9 Teamwork and communication skills
- developed from, with, and via the SGDE
- honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
- encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
5, 7, 8, 9 Career and leadership readiness
- technology savvy
- professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
- forward thinking and well informed
- tested and validated by work based experiences
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 Intercultural and ethical competency
- adept at operating in other cultures
- comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
- able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
- demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9 Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
- a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
- open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
- able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9
Required ResourcesCourse Reader and continual access to MyUni.
Recommended ResourcesRecommended resources such as additional readings, essay writing information, referencing guidelines, and a wide range of information regarding student support services will be available in the course webpage located on MyUni.
Online LearningMyUni will be utilised to upload a wide range of of course resources, including seminar slides, required readings, and news items. The basic course content presented in lecture format during the seminars will be recorded and available on MyUni.
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesThis course is delivered in seminar mode: 3-hour weekly seminars. The first part of the seminars will introduce (in lecture format) the key concepts, theories and themes, using a combination of multi-media sources (e.g. slides, videos, web-links, etc.). The second part of the seminars will consist of small-group activities and semi-structured discussions on the weekly topics, with reference to the lecture content, the required readings, the video materials, and the selected news items for seminar discussion.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.
WORKLOAD TOTAL HOURS 1 x 3-hour seminar per week 36 hours per semester 3 hours seminar preparation per week 36 hours per semester 3 hours reading per week 36 hours per semester 2 hours research per week 24 hours per semester 2 hours assignment preparation per week 24 hours per semester 156 hours per semester
Learning Activities SummaryPart I - Approaches to War and Peace
Week 1: Introduction
Week 2: Theoretical Approaches
Week 3: Jus ad Bellum [Resort to War]
Week 4: Jus in Bello [Conduct of War]
Week 5: Jus post Bellum [Post-War Conduct]
Week 6: Multiple-Choice Test (Part 1)
Part II - Issues for the 21st Century
Week 7: Historical Memory & History Wars
Week 8: Cyberwarfare, Drones and Cyborgs
Week 9: Terrorism, Torture & Human Rights
Week 10: Humanitarian Intervention [R2P]
Week 10: Peacebuilding and Development
Week 12: Multiple-Choice Test (Part 2)
Specific Course Requirementsnone
Small Group Discovery ExperienceSeminars will include small-group activities and semi-structured discussions designed to provide students with a fulfilling 'small group discovery experience'. Students will also be encouraged to work in small groups outside the classroom, including in the research and production of some of their assignments.
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment Task Task Type Weighting Learning Outcome Seminar Work Formative and Summative 20% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 Test (Part 1) Summative 15% 1, 2, 3 Test (Part 2) Summative 15% 1, 2, 3 Research Essay Formative and Summative 50% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
1. Seminar Work (20%): will continue to consist of the submission of a MCT question, but adding a 50-100 word explanation with the rationale for the question: i.e. a brief explanation of the importance of knowing the answer to the question.
2. Minor Essay replaces Tests and is weighted at 30%.
3. Research Essay (50%): no change.
Assessment Related RequirementsATTENDANCE AT SEMINARS IS COMPULSORY. Failure to attend three or more seminars without permission from the course coordinator can result in the student being precluded from passing the course.
Assessment DetailSeminar Work: Seminars are forums for free exchange and discussion of informed opinions, that is, ideas and thoughts based on
reading and reflection, as well as places for raising questions and for the exchange of relevant information. All students are expected to have read the required readings in preparation for the seminars. Seminar work will be assessed on the basis of the depth of knowledge on the weekly topic, the quality of engagement with the weekly readings and other materials, and the attitude displayed towards the arguments and contributions of others. Seminar work includes the submission of multiple choice questions. This activity will be assessed separately according to guidelines provided during the first seminar, in Week 1.
Multiple Choice Test: The multiple-choice test will be held in two parts, the first in Week 6 and the second in Week 12. The test will assess the student's knowledge of key concepts, theories and themes explored throughout the course, as well as the student's ability to apply the ethical frameworks discussed in the course to specific cases or scenarios. The test will be based on material discussed in the lectures and/or contained in the required readings (e.g. the textbook and/or the course reader).
Research Essay: The research essay will assess the student's knowledge of ethical approaches to war and peace in international politics. It will require the student to develop logical arguments about ethical dilemmas that are backed up with evidence. The assessment will test the student's ability to conduct independent research, formulate well substantiated arguments, apply ethical principles to specific scenarios, and approach ethical questions in a logical fashion. The task draws together the knowledge of key approaches and issues in international ethics, and the application of ethical theories and concepts to the conduct of international politics. Students will be able to select an essay question from a list that will be posted on MyUni, or come up with their own question. Those who choose to write their own question must get approval from their tutor no less than two weeks prior to the due date. The research essay will be 2000-2200 words.
Important Note: essential information to complete these assignments successfully will be provided in due course in seminars and on MyUni in the form of responses to frequently asked questions [FAQs].
SubmissionThe Research Essay must be submitted electronically, through Turnitin. The link will be available on MyUni.
The official procedure to apply for extensions is: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/3303
Late essays without an approved extension will be penalised at the rate of 2% (2 marks) per day.
There is a cut-off period of 7 days (including weekendsand public holidays), after which late submissions without a formal extension will not be accepted/marked. In the case of late submissions with a formal extension approved, the cut-off date is 7 days (including weekends and public holidays) from the revised due date, at 11:59pm.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.
SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.
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