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IR4540   The Changing Character of War

Academic year(s): 2023-2024

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 10

Semester: 1

Availability restrictions: Not automatically available to General Degree students

Planned timetable: 1.00 pm Thurs

The current discourse on war in International Relations and Security Studies is dominated by the assumption that armed conflict has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Academic accounts of the ‘New Wars’ and ‘Asymmetric’ conflict abound, but they have been widely criticised as ahistorical. The module aims to approach the issue of continuity and change from a historical perspective. Starting with the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars it enquires into whether, how and why war has changed. It analyses change and continuity both in the theory and practice of war. It will also look at contemporary war through the prism of Humanitarian intervention and also by looking at the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must pass IR2006

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1 x 1-hour lecture (x 10 weeks), 1 x 1-hour tutorial (x 10 weeks), 2 consultation hours with Coordinator (x 12 weeks). Will be delivered entirely online

Scheduled learning hours: 20

Guided independent study hours: 280

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 1 x 2500 word Essay = 25%, 1 x 3500 word Essay = 35%, 1 x verbal Presentation = 10%, 1 x 3000 word Essay = 30%

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 0%
Practical examinations : 0%
Coursework: 100%

Re-assessment: 3-hour Written Examination = 100%


Module coordinator: Dr L F Middup
Module teaching staff: Dr L Middup

Intended learning outcomes

  • Have an advanced understanding of change and continuity in the history of war over past 250 years
  • Have a nuanced overview of four thematic areas: strategic thought and practice, technology, socio-political conditions and cultural representations of war
  • Be able to assess critically social science research on this topic
  • Develop their written and oral skills through essays, examinations, and presentations in the tutorial program