Gender, Peace and Security (2018/19)

Course Description: 

Feminist peace and security scholars have demonstrated the multiple and complex ways that gendered identities, ideologies and power are fundamental to processes of war and militarism, peace and security. No aspect of conflict nor its resolution can be understood fully without the integration of gender as a category of analysis. Moreover, how we understand security, what is to be secured, and what constitutes a threat are all imbued with, and reproduce, gendered ideologies. This course explores contemporary debates on peace, conflict and security through the lens of critical feminist security and IR literature. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of feminist contributions to security theory, as well as introduction to feminist methodologies in the discipline. The course moves from war and militarism, through conflict dynamics, to peace processes, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and post-conflict transformation. Students also gain significant understanding on the mechanisms of global governance that inform the resolution of conflicts, in particular the key frameworks pertaining to gender, peace and security.  

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. Understand and draw on feminist frameworks in security studies and IR.
  2. Understand and apply feminist methodological and theoretical frameworks to the study and practice of peace and security.
  3. Critically examine how gendered norms, identities and assumptions shape peace and security dynamics.
  4. Ability to critically examine national and international policy in conflict management and security.


Participation & attendance = 20%

Critical commentaries (x2) = 30%

Research presentation = 20%

Research essay = 30%

Participation & attendance – 20%, ongoing

Active participation from all students is required. You are expected to attend every seminar and engage actively in the conversation, based on the weekly readings and your understanding/interpretation of them. Please come to each class prepared for informed discussion.

Critical commentary 1 – Week 3, 15%

Write a 750 word critical commentary (also known as a review or reflection) of: Anna M. Agathangelou & L.H.M Ling. 2004. “The house of IR: from family power politics to the poisies of worldism.” International Studies Review 6: 21-49.

A critical commentary asks you to critically engage with the main contention of the author(s) in the piece. Provide a clear statement of what that is (how you see it) and how you understand it. Rather than just summarise, you should assess the contribution made by the article and what insights it provides in the study of Gender, Peace and Security. Why might it be important?

Critical commentary 2 – Week 6, 15%

Write a 750 word critical commentary (also known as a review or reflection) of: Iris Marion Young 2003. “The logic of masculinist protection: reflections on the current security state.” Signs 29(1): 1-25.

See above for description of this assessment.


Research presentation – Week 11, 20%

In week 11 we will hold a mini-conference, at which each student is required to present on their final research essay. The presentation provides students the opportunity to clarify their thinking in relation to their research essay, and to receive feedback on approach/content from myself and their peers. Presentations are expected to be no more than 10 minutes in length, and 5 minutes will be allowed for questions and discussion after. You should: 1) provide a summary of your research question and any case study/ies; 2) outline your main contention and how you will make this case; 3) identify key sources and position your argument in relation to existing literature.

You are required to send the title of your presentation/essay and a 100-200 word abstract to me by the end of week 9

Research essay – Date TBC, 30%

Students are required to write a research essay on a topic of their choosing, related to course themes, not more than 3500 words (excluding references and bibliography). The research essay is a chance for you to explore an issue important to you, drawing on the themes, concepts and theories covered in the course. You are required to develop the topic independently but you can discuss in consultation with me, and you will also have an opportunity to think through your topic in preparing your presentation (week 11), in the abstract you have developed prior (week 9), and a chance to discuss any final issues in the last seminar for the term (week 12). Your essay is expected to be fully referenced and demonstrate independent research. Essays will be submitted on Moodle via Turnitin.