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LAWS3132 Women, War and Peace

Module Overview

What difference does war make in women’s lives? What happens to women in the aftermath of war? What are the effects of war on women’s rights, women’s health? What is the role of the state in sanctioning and using violence against women during war? Do women’s responsibilities change during and after war? How does post-war reconstruction affect gender relations? The conditions of war and peace often affect women differently than men. More men than women die as a direct consequence of active involvement in armed conflict; women tend more often to be victims of wartime rape and sexual violence, suffer displacement and deprivation, and become refugees. Usually, men more than women are involved in the decisions to go to war but women play significant roles within war-torn societies, including roles that support and sustain the war effort. Differences such as these are not generally taken into account in efforts surrounding the construction of peace agreements, in post-conflict reconstruction activities, in the distribution of humanitarian aid, or even in day-to-day governance. This may be the result of deliberate exclusion or of structural violence, or it may be derivative of decision-makers’ ignorance of women’s particular needs and interests. This module explores the different forms and varieties of gendered assumptions that surround our understandings of war and peace, the efforts and achievements of women working to end violent conflict in their own communities, the role of women’s peace movements and the contribution of women to post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction efforts. ‘Women, War and Peace’ examines the role of women in the context and against the background of violent conflict; in particular, addressing issues of conflict resolution and peace building.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• encourage a critical understanding of the role of women in relation to armed conflict and post-conflict peacebuilding; • offer an opportunity to explore some of the broader theoretical issues concerning the protection of women during armed conflict; • provide a background against which to examine recent developments relating to the international prosecution of gendered crimes as a form of war crime, crime against humanity or genocide and associated procedural issues • present a context within which to investigate some of the reasons why women are usually excluded from formal peace-making and peace-building processes, despite the important contributions that they are often able to make.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • explain the range of legal and non-legal issues that impact on women as civilians, victims, refugees, widows, peace advocates and combatants during times of armed conflict and in periods of post-conflict peace building
  • identify the relevant international legal norms, including international humanitarian law and human rights law, which can provide protection for women during times of armed conflict
  • describe recent developments relating to the international prosecution of gendered crimes as a form of war crime, crime against humanity or genocide and associated procedural issues
  • explain the significance of current debates on the need to increase protection for women during times of armed conflict and internal disturbances
  • identify why women are usually excluded from formal peace-making and peace-building processes,
  • identify and describe competing views on the role of law in protecting and promoting women’s autonomy and physical integrity in the contexts of militaristic and fundamentalist regimes, and in peacekeeping missions.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • assess critically the fundamental claims and concepts of key theoretical perspectives on women, war and peace
  • analyse common assumptions about the different roles of women before, during and after violent conflict
  • evaluate the efficacy of legal norms that provide for the protection of civilian populations, especially women, during periods of violent conflict
  • assess the value of the different contributions that women are making in establishing and maintaining peace
  • evaluate efforts being made by women’s groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to promote change; for example, through the United Nations Security Council
  • analyse the strengths and weaknesses of different understandings of the role of law in protecting and promoting women’s autonomy and physical integrity in the contexts of peace building and in peacekeeping missions.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • locate and analyse relevant primary and secondary resources, together with relevant historical, philosophical and political materials
  • identify and summarise different types and forms of argument
  • Construct and defend an argument and communicate this in writing
  • conduct a piece of independent research in a specific area under pressure of time
  • think critically and contribute to informed debate on a wide variety of current and problematic legal, philosophical, political and social issues

Syllabus

• Introduction - central issues and questions • Women and war - women as civilians, victims, survivors, refugees, widows, combatants, peace-makers - violence against women in war: genocidal rape, trafficking and prostitution, sexual slavery, forced pregnancies, HIV, stigmatization - ‘gendercide’ and gender-based violence - social and economic inequality; insecurity and impunity - women’s resistance to war and forms of protest; women’s writing about war • Justice and security - the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their 1977 Additional Protocols - refugee law and human rights law relating to women’s rights during armed conflict and its aftermath - the ad hoc international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia dealing specifically with gendered violence - the International Criminal Court and crimes relating specifically to women - the impact of Security Council Resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888 and 1889 • Post-conflict peace-building and humanitarian planning - individual and communal healing - social and political reconstruction - memorialization and reparations - the role of women’s groups and international NGOs - international peace-keeping • Contemporary perspectives - challenges, opportunities and successes

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include Seminars/Lectures (weekly) The course is taught by weekly seminars, which provide an overview of each substantive topic, highlighting key issues, and the overriding emphasis is on critical reflection and analysis in consideration of the major themes and topics. The seminar series is supported with a range of ‘handouts’ (made available electronically via ‘Blackboard’), which outline critical issues, required reading and questions and guidance for further study. You are also encouraged to explore a wide range of legal and non-legal resources as a starting point for your own research from a variety of different legal, moral, political and social perspectives. Learning activities include • Directed Reading (as per distributed reading lists) • Preparing and writing formative coursework, with critical self-reflection on your own performance throughout this process. • Preparation for seminars and oral contributions to class discussion. • Participating in class discussion (including small group discussion).

TypeHours
Completion of assessment task50
Seminar20
Preparation for scheduled sessions68
Wider reading or practice12
Total study time150

Assessment

Formative

Assignment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (5000 words) 100%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (5000 words) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (5000 words) 100%
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