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POL2082 : Political Violence and the Modern State

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Hartmut Behr
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Topics to be covered could include:

•       Johan Galtung’s typology of violence (1 session/week)
•       Hannah Arendt’s concept of violence (1 session/week)
•       Peace research and peace concepts of peace (as contrast to violence) (1 session/week)
•       Nationalism as a Form of Political Violence (3 sessions)
•       Western modernity as a Form of Political Violence (2 sessions)
•       Imperialism and Colonialism as a Form of Political Violence (2 sessions)
•       Essay Writing: Guidance for the Main Assignment (1 session)

Outline Of Syllabus

First week: Introduction and Johan Galtung’s typology of violence
Second week: Hannah Arendt’s concept of violence
Third week: Peace research and peace concepts
Fourth week: Nationalism as form of political violence I – Benedict Anderson’s analysis of nationalism
Fifth week: Nationalism as form of political violence II – Nationalist Discourses past and present-day
Sixth week: Nationalism as form of political violence III – The nationalist demand for homogeneity and territorial integrity
Seventh week: Western modernity as form of political violence I – Herbert Marcuse’s analysis of the “One-dimensional Man”
Eighth week: Western modernity as form of political violence II – The W. Adorno’s and Max Horkheimer’s analysis of instrumentalism in Western modernity
Ninth week: Colonialism as Form of Political Violence
Tenth week: Imperialism as a Form of political violence
Eleventh week: Essay writing

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials112:0022:00Recorded lecture materials, non-synchronous
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1112:00112:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities114:0044:00Annotated readings, non-synchronous
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Synchronous: small group teaching with TAs (PiP)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time111:0011:00Synchronous: Q&A Feedback Hour with ML (PiP)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The teaching methods (structured guided learning; Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities; Guided In-dependent Study) seem best suited under the conditions of the Planning Assumptions 2021/2022 to accomplish the Learning Outcomes to 1) to enhance understandings of political violence, 2) to understand the links between political violence and the modern state, and (3) to increase knowledge on empirical cases of political violence. Students will thus be prepared through a mix of synchronous, non-synchronous, and independent learning, together with feedback options (online feedback and consultation as well as online equivalents to an “open door policy” in form of non-scheduled, general availability through emails and Zoom that are not listed above under Teaching Activities, but are a major component of feedback) well for their assignment (see below) to achieve the learning outcomes.
The recorded lectures introduce students to the key terms, concepts, and texts in the study of political violence and its application to Western statehood. Q&A and feedback hours with the module leader as well as seminars with teaching assistants provide live, synchronous environments in which students can discuss the main readings of this module (Johan Galtung, Benedict Anderson, Herbert Marcuse, Th We Adorno/Max Horkheimer, Edward Said) and their analytical application to nationalism, capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism as forms of political violence. Structured, guided learning activities in form of annotated readings guide students through the main readings and main questions to be asked. Students can also learn from relating respective texts intertextually and thereby create relations and meaning between respective texts and discourses to accomplish a synoptic understanding of the module’s thematic. In addition, the syllabus schedules a separate session on Essay Writing to teach students the essentials of the main assignment, including transparency about their assessment criteria. The essay writing session will be taught by a pre-recorded 2hr lecture by the ML as well as by small group teaching by the TAs in person.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M15500 word essay
Essay2M853000 word essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment comprises a 500 word and 3000 word essay. The 500 word essay is on the analytical concepts that serve as guiding framework for the module and for analytically approaching empirical examples. The 500 word essay is a prerequisite for the 3ooo word essay, i.e., every student must have passed it in order to progress to the larger essay that will built upon it in its analytical components. Feedback on this first assessment component will provide students with guided and self-reflective learning aides for the second assessment and the module learning outcomes more generally.
The second, 3000 word essay will ask for a synoptic analysis of the module themes in form of applying the analytical framework reflected upon the first assignment to the empirical examples discussed in the module.
The essays will allow students the opportunity to probe academic analysis and to prepare for their assessment in the final year in greater depth than would be possible in an exam. The essays will also provide opportunities for the acquisition of writing and presentation skills that are crucial for students’ academic education and professional skills.

Reading Lists