PO2WAP-War and Peace Since 1800

Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Mr Patrick Finnegan

Email: p.finnegan@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module aims to enable students to appreciate both the roles played by war in modern history and the ways in which warfare has evolved over a two-hundred year period. The strongly empirical, historical thrust of the module will be used to introduce students to the ideas key to understanding (a) why, how, and with what consequences wars occur, and (b) how peace can be "caused" and sometimes maintained.


The aims of this module are to not only show students how conflict over two hundred years has influenced us in our day-to-day lives but also how to understand how conflict has changed and how our understanding needs to change with it. We will also examine different approaches to peace and throughout the module tackle the question of whether peace is the absence of war or whether war may in fact be the natural state of human and international relations. 

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:

  • understand how war has evolved since c.1800
  • identify critically the different approaches to peace that have been attempted
  • relate appreciation of the changing phenomena of war to a broad grasp of international relations
  • organize and articulate arguments effectively in writing, both under timed conditions and in assessed essays

Additional outcomes:
The module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and the students' effectiveness in group situations, with some analytical procedures carried out as part of a team. Students will also develop their IT skills by use of relevant web resources.

Outline content:
This module introduces students to the significance of war in modern international relations, and to the evolution of theory and practice bearing upon the establishment and preservation of peace with security. The historical backbone of the module supports critical presentation of important ideas from the realms of scholarly International Relations and strategic studies. In historical context, the module will address such issues as: the relationships between force and policy; changing attitudes towards the use of force; and technological change and war aims.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
A combination of lectures and seminars.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 20
Guided independent study 170
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One two-hour examination. 

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Coursework: Students will write one essay of 4,000 words. Non-submitted essays will be awarded a mark of zero. 

Formative assessment methods:

There will be two formative assessments. Firstly, students will also an oral seminar presentation, with prepared handouts and/or PowerPoints on a specific seminar question.

Secondly, students will prepare a one-page essay plan for discussion with the group/convenor. This plan will then form the basis for the 4000-word essay.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    If a student fails to pass the year at the first attempt there is an opportunity to be re-assessed on one further occasion at the next opportunity in those modules achieving a mark of less than 40%. Students who are eligible for re-assessment have the right to re-assessment in all elements even if they have previously passed one of those elements. It is expected, however, that the majority of students would probably elect not to repeat an element in which they had already passed, in which case the confirmed marks would be carried forward.

    Examination: Re-examination takes place in August/September of the same year.

    Coursework: Failed or missing coursework should be re-submitted within the stipulated resubmission period, emailed directly to politics@reading.ac.uk, AND submitted on Blackboard.


    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    1) Required text books: There are no specific costs associated with the module but students should have regular access to the following texts, either through the library or otherwise:

    1. Gray, C.S., 2013. War, peace and international relations: an introduction to strategic history. Routledge.

    2. Jordan, D., Kiras, J.D., Lonsdale, D.J., Speller, I., Tuck, C. and Walton, C.D., 2016. Understanding modern warfare. Cambridge University Press.

    3. Mahnken, TG, & Maiolo, JA (eds) 2014, Strategic Studies : A Reader, Taylor and Francis, Florence.

    2) Specialist equipment or materials:

    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:

    4) Printing and binding: There may be optional costs associated with photocopying or printing sources listed on the reading list relating to this module. Please note that the Library charges approximately 5p per photocopy.

    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:

    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence: 

    Last updated: 1 August 2018


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