Gender, Armed Conflict and International Law
- Course Code:
- Unit value:
- Taught in:
- Term 2
This course, which runs in term 2, offers an introduction to legal reforms and strategies in response to understandings of the relationship between war and gender as well as feminist peace studies. Contemporary institutional take up of ‘gender perspectives’ are studied alongside theoretical and empirical accounts of the gendered experience of war and armed conflict. Some study of post-conflict communities is also discussed. The collective security regime, particularly Security Council initiatives on women, peace and security are analysed alongside debates from feminist and gender theorists.
Objectives and learning outcomes of the course
- To further research on the relationship between gender and violence/armed conflict through a teaching and learning experience that connects this to feminist legal approaches to regulating armed conflict.
- To encourage students to research and analyse the relationship between social constructions of gender identity and conceptions of war and peace.
- To build the analytical skills of students, through encouraging writing that has both theoretical claims and substantive legal claims.
- To encourage gender studies research that looks beyond 'women's issues' so as to analyse the role larger social, political and legal conditions play in perpetuating gender based discrimination and harms.
- To provide an introduction into legal responses to war and armed conflict under international law of specific relevance to Asian and African scholars and communities.
At the end of the course, a student should be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of the themes, issues and debates on the role and impact of gender on war, armed conflict and post-conflict communities;
- identify and compare different feminist approaches to legal reform;
- critically assess the materials and themes explored in the course;
- to describe feminist histories in terms of theoretical developments and in terms of legal outcomes relevant to the course themes;
- to analyse the consequences of legal reforms that focus on women's rights in conflict situations, situating this knowledge with an awareness of broader political and legal approaches;
- to formulate and evidence an argument on the relationship between gender, war, peace and law.
Students are required to attend a two-hour weekly seminar.
Scope and syllabus
Weeks 1-5 connect understandings of violence, gender and law through an analysis of interdisciplinary approaches. The weeks 7-11 apply this knowledge to contemporary legal responses to topical issues in conflict and security.
A representative syllabus is indicated below.
- The gendering of violence in the law
- Feminist peace studies
- Gender mainstreaming
- State, sovereignty, women’s participation
- Feminist methods, legal writing and narratives on conflict
- Reading week
- Feminist action and international institutions
- Humanitarianism and the use of force to ‘save’ others
- Sexual violence during armed conflict
- Collective Security – beyond resolution 1325
- Feminist Responses to International Terrorism
Method of assessmentAssessment weighting: 100% coursework (one essay of 6,000 words) at the end of the course. This coursework may be resubmitted. Students will also be asked to submit some formative assessment during the course.
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