Conflict, Rights and Justice

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 3
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

This module introduces International Relations students to a wide range of issues in the contemporary world centred on conflict and the liberal world order. We look historically at the decline of inter-state war and the rise (and now decline) of civil wars, and at the rise of global terrorism and its implications, focusing on efforts to combat both the occurrence and conduct of conflict through international law and norms with a particular focus on the politics of human rights, international justice and humanitarianism. We look more specifically at the protection of civilians, torture, civil liberties, cyber warfare and drones, and the Responsibility to Protect. We also ask whether the rise of populism might erode the willingness of Western democracies to support, in principle at least, international norms and at the implications of this both for the liberal world order as a whole and the globalization of democracy in particular.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

Each learning outcome is tied to specific weeks within the CRJ module itself as well as building on two previous years of International Relations courses that the students will have taken. It is intended to further their knowledge and skills in the area of conflict, rights and justice and cement and extend earlier learning undertaken on the BA IR degree.


This module will be taught over 10 weeks with:

  • 1 hour Lecture per week 
  • 1 hour tutorial per week 

Method of assessment

  • Assignment 1: 30%
  • Assignment 2: 70%

Suggested reading

  • Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity (Penguin, 2012). 2 copies, one on loan. No eBook p’back £14.99
  • John Mueller, ‘War has almost ceased to exist,’ Political Science Quarterly, v24, no. 2 (2009): .
  • David Keen, ‘Greed and grievance in civil war,’ International Affairs v. 88, n. 4 (2012): 757-777. Online via Library
  • Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink, ‘International norm dynamics and political change,’ International Organization, v. 52, n. 4 (1998): 887-917. Online via Library
  • Stephen D Krasner Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), chap 4: ‘Rules and ruled: Human Rights’: 105-126. eBook (eBook Central), 1 copy on loan. DawsonEra eBook: £76.37, p’back: £28.95


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules