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IR5069   The genealogy of modern counterinsurgency

Academic year(s): 2023-2024

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 11

Semester: 2

Planned timetable: Thursday 1-3pm

The aim of this course is to trace the genealogy of contemporary counterinsurgency warfare. Taking a thematic and comparative approach through which both historical case studies and more recent examples will be examined side-by-side, the module aims to trace the evolution of counterinsurgency theory and practice. This approach allows us to identify continuities and changes to global security practices, conflict management, and understandings of strategy, as well as critically consider similarities and differences across time and space. The course will draw on literature from strategic studies, critical military and critical security studies as well as imperial and postcolonial studies to explore the colonial roots of modern-day counterinsurgency and challenge the existence of ‘national ways’.

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1 hour lecture and 1 hour seminar each week in weeks 1-2; 2 hour seminar each week in weeks 3-11.

Scheduled learning hours: 22

Guided independent study hours: 260

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 100% coursework

Re-assessment: 100% exam


Module coordinator: Dr M U M K von Buelow
Module teaching staff: Dr Mathilde von Bulow

Intended learning outcomes

  • Have an advanced understanding of past and present counterinsurgency theory and practice
  • Be able to identify continuities and changes in counterinsurgency theory and practice across time and space
  • Be able to draw analytical comparisons between cases and across time
  • Be able to assess critically social science and historical research on this topic
  • Develop their written and oral skills through essays and presentations in the tutorial programme
  • Possess the capacity to critique current debates on counterinsurgency