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Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding: Policy, Practice and Pragmatism


Admission requirements

MSc International Relations and Diplomacy students.


This course is an advanced introduction to UN peacekeeping which includes a mix of practical and theoretical knowledge. The success and failure of peace operations are assessed using different theoretical and methodological approaches. Students are introduced to the challenges of peacekeeping which include: implementing an unclear mandate, demonstrating impartiality, winning legitimacy; and promoting local ownership. Topics covered include: counter-terrorism, peace enforcement and robust peacekeeping; the protection of civilians (PoC); sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) & conflict related sexual violence (CRSV); Global South peacekeepers; and gender and peacekeeping. Case studies and guest speakers provide a practical hands-on perspective.

Course objectives

By the end of this course, students will have knowledge of:

  • Current trends in UN peacekeeping practice.

  • Challenges inherent in the practice of peacekeeping.

  • IR approaches to explaining success and failure in peacekeeping.

  • The ‘Big Four’ African peace operations.

  • The key problems with UN peace operations.


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the E-Prospectus you will find a link to the online timetables.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, class discussion, self-study (including assignments).

Study load: 140 hours

Assessment method

Final grades are calculated based on three components:

  • Policy blog (20%)

  • a resit of the policy blog is only possible if the student has failed the assignment and a calculated overall course grade lower than 5.50.

  • the resit will take place 6th of June 2022.  

  • Case Study (40%)

  • a resit of the case study is only possible if the student has failed the assignment and a calculated overall course grade lower than 5.50.

  • the resit will take place 6th of June 2022.  

  • Essay (40%)

  • a resit of the essay is only possible if the student has failed the assignment and a calculated overall course grade lower than 5.50.

  • the resit will take place 6th of June 2022.  

You can find more information about assessments and the timetable exams on the website.
Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Brightspace.

Failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components. The calculated grade must be at least 5,5 to pass the course.

Partial grades will remain valid for one academic year.

Reading list

Students can help prepare themselves for the course by consulting the following texts.

Bellamy, Alex J., and Paul D. Williams. Understanding Peacekeeping. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2010.

MacQueen, Norrie. Peacekeeping and the International System. Abingdon: Routledge, 2006.

Autesserre, Severine. Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Autesserre, Severine. The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Cain, Kenneth, Postlewait, Heidi and Andrew Thomson. Emergency Sex (and other desperate measures): True Stories From a War Zone. London: Ebury Press, 2006.

Enloe, Cynthia. Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making feminist sense of international politics. Oakland: California University Press, 1990.

Galtung, Johan. Peace by Peaceful Means: Peace and Conflict, Development and Civilization. London: Sage, 1996.

Howard, Lise Morje. Peacekeeping in Civil Wars. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Koops, Joachim Alexander, Norrie Macqueen, Thierry Tardy, and Paul D. Williams. The Oxford Handbook of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Mac Ginty, Roger. International Peacebuilding and Local Resistance: Hybrid Forms of Peace. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Moore, Adam. Peacebuilding in Practice. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013.

Newby, Vanessa. Peacekeeping in South Lebanon: Credibility and local cooperation. NY: Syracuse University Press, 2018.

Paffenholz, Thania. Civil Society and Peacebuilding: A Critical Assessment. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2010.

Paris, Roland. At War’s End: Building Peace and Conflict. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Polman, Linda. We did nothing. Why the truth doesn’t always come out when the UN goes in. London: Penguin, 2013.

Pouligny, Beatrice. Peace Operations Seen from Below: UN Missions and Local People. London: Hurst, 2005.

Richmond, Oliver P. A Post Liberal Peace. London: Routledge, 2011.

Richmond, Oliver P. The Transformation of Peace. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.


Use Brightspace to register for every course. The programme will register the students in Usis based on the group division.


Dr V. Newby