Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Total War, Total Peace
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 11 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,000 word essay  40%
Semester Assessment 1 x 4,000 word essay  60%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,000 word essay  40%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 4,000 word essay  60%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
1. Apply and critically assess a range of conceptual frameworks to understand the complex and changing interaction between war and societies.
2. Analyse the differences between and the historical roots of the concepts of ‘total’ and ‘limited’ war.
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the range of stresses placed on a society by different types of conflict, formulating a critique.
4. Critically analyse the link between society, economy, politics and the nature of war.

Brief description

This module builds from the questions ‘what is war’ and ‘what is peace’ to explore two popular typologies of war: ‘total war’ and ‘limited war’. By considering examples from a broad historical and geographical span, the module encourages students to examine the relationship between societies and the type(s) of war practiced by their militaries at particular points in their history. By exploring the total/limited war binary, the module also encourages students to develop an appreciation of why societies and governments seek to wage war differently according to the context, and how socio-economic factors influence the practice of war. The module thus links the nature of war with the policy process, promoting an understanding among students of why politicians choose to take military action, and why that action takes the form(s) that it does. To encourage debate, the module will draw on examples including: the World Wars; the Napoleonic Wars; ancient warfare; medieval warfare; imperial ‘policing’ operations; private military actors; Vietnam and other post-WW2 conflicts; and civil wars.


Topics considered in the module include:

types of war and peace;

total war;

kings and retainers;

mercenaries and states;

revolution and industry;

imperialism and ideology;

heroic and post-heroic war;

and the notion of ‘total peace’.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Students will also be required to submit their essays in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their coursework and presentation topics. The need to prepare for seminar participation and to meet coursework deadlines will focus students’ attention on the need to manage their time.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statement of others. Moreover, the written work includes writing clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of two essays will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing media and web sources, as well as more conventional academic texts. Students will in part be assessed on their ability to gather appropriate and interesting resources materials.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: • Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module • Evaluate competing perspectives • Demonstrate subject specific research techniques Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and contemporary political problems.
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars. For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group the core issues related to the seminar topic. These class discussions and debates form a significant part of the module, and will allow students to approach and examine a given topic through team work


This module is at CQFW Level 6