Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Intervention and Humanitarianism
Academic Year
Semester 1
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  2500 Words  60%
Semester Assessment Blog assignment  1500 Words  40%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  2500 Words  60%
Supplementary Assessment Blog assignment  1500 Words  40%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Discuss critically and in detail the role of intervention and humanitarianism as governance tools in international politics.

Demonstrate a nuanced understanding of core questions of international military and civilian interventions and humanitarianism and wider issues pertaining to them.

Evaluate systematically different examples of international intervention and humanitarianism.

Critically examine different approaches to intervention and humanitarianism and their influence on success/failure.

Reflect critically on alternative forms of peacekeeping/ -building and humanitarianism, including local people's agency, and prospects for a new security imaginary..

Brief description

This module provides the foundation for problem-oriented analysis and understanding of the role of international military and civilian interventions and humanitarian action in countries in conflict. It examines the shifts in rationales for international interventions, problematises the challenges of armed / top-down intervention and humanitarianism approaches (such as their colonial underpinnings, the cycles of aid dependence and violence involved etc), and explores bottom-up alternative approaches to protection and humanitarianism (such as unarmed civilian protection, protective accompaniment, community self-protection etc.)


The module is taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. It is divided into three parts:
Part 1: Introduces students to core debates of international interventionism and humanitarianism, focusing on questions of global governance, legitimacy of intervention, violence in North-South relations, and shifting notions of protection. The aim is to gain critical understanding of dominant imaginaries and discourses that drive intervention and humanitarianisms and the silences that surround them.
Part 2: Discusses main areas and tools of international intervention and humanitarianism, uncovering their rationales and evaluating their success/failure.
Part 3: Turns to approaches that suggest alternatives to top-down, violence- or aid-based interventions and discusses their potential and limits. This includes approaches such as unarmed civilian peacekeeping/protection, local and everyday peace projects and community self-protection.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas verbally and in writing, and how to present their arguments most effectively. They will develop skills in using the many sources of information available 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 written assessments 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 the module convener and other students. 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 how to answer essay questions.
Information Technology Students will enhance their proficiency using Blackboard, where materials to support learning will be made available. Students will also develop skills in searching for, and assessing the validity of, online information sources as part of preparation for lectures, seminars and assessed tasks. Assessed work will be presented in electronic format, according to standard expectations.
Personal Development and Career planning The 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 requires students to write 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 project work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of an essay and preparation for the written exam 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; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research in order to complete the assessed work. This will involve utilizing a range of information sources, including core academic texts, journal articles, electronic primary sources/documents, and online sources.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop and practice a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualize and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: • Collect and understand a wide range of information relating to the module • Develop critical thinking and capacity to ask questions • Evaluate competing perspectives • Apply a range of methodologies to complex contemporary social and 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