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Elective: What is this War About Anyway?: Armed Conflicts in the Twentienth Century

Vak
2015-2016

Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies who have succesfully completed the second year elective course.
The number of participants is limited to 25.

Description

The course investigates military conflicts by looking at them from perspectives that are different from the dominant North Atlantic viewpoint. It takes a case-study approach, with attention devoted to World War I and II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War and the different Gulf Wars. World War I is approached through the prism of the Ottoman Empire and the colonial empires; World War II from the viewpoint of Japan and the Soviet Union, the Korean War as seen from the North, the Vietnam War as seen from Southeast Asia, and the Gulf Wars as experienced by Iran.
Rather than being a course in military history, the focus is on the way these armed conflicts were interpreted: What was war about? This question in itself can be split into two: the perception at the time (contemporary to the conflict) and the way it is remembered now.

Course objectives

To make students aware that the way major armed conflicts of the Twentieth Century have been experienced and are remembered differ widely from country to country and region to region. All of the wars studied had a global impact, but that impact varied a great deal for different parts of the globe. Students gain a deeper insight into the conflicts studied as well as in the mechanisms that produce meaning and affect memory.

The elective courses for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the interdisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.

Academic skills that are trained include:

Oral presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using up-to-date presentation techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience;
3. to actively participate in a discussion following the presentation.

Collaboration skills:
1. to be socio-communicative in collaborative situations;
2. to provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position;
3. adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.
Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:
1. to collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques;
2. to analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability;
3. to formulate on this basis a sound research question;
4. to design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved;
5. to formulate a substantiated conclusion.

Written presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Lecture, seminar style discussion and 3000-word term paper.

Course Load

Total course load for the course = 10 EC (280 hrs), broken down by:
• Hours spent on attending classes: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 24 hours
• Time for studying the compulsory literature and completing weekly assignments: 8 hours per week x 12 weeks = 96 hours
• Time to write a paper (including reading / research): 160 hours
10 EC (280 hours)

Assessment method

Weekly assignments, and a term paper of approx. 3000 words (excluding tables and bibliography).

Note: The maximum possible grade to be obtained for re-submission of the term paper is a 6.0

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

Reading packages for each week, consisting of primary and secondary texts, will be made available on Blackboard before the start of the course.

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

e.j.zurcher@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Remarks

The course is taught by leading area studies specialists from Leiden University.