RUG: World Politics in Humanitarian Action

  • Course description

    Geopolitics is essentially the study of the relationship between politics and territory, broadly speaking. As a branch of learning, the geopolitics of humanitarian action spans a range of subjects that are variously situated in relation to humanitarian action itself. Geopolitics looks at the way humanitarian action fits into the overall web of global, international and transnational relations. It seeks to inform, in geopolitical terms, about the humanitarian risk, i.e. the danger factors, and the way we respond to that risk, i.e. humanitarian action itself. This course aims further to deepen the insight into international relations of humanitarian action and the concepts developed by various actors to cope with difficulties faced in the field.
  • Main themes

    International Relations Theories
    Foundations of Geopolitics
    International Politics
    International Relations and Crisis-management
    Humanitarian Coordination and Intervention
    Humanitarian Diplomacy
  • Learning outcomes

    In conformity with the learning outcomes set out by the NOHA network, students should achieve the following learning outcomes by the end of this module:
    • Has shown familiarity with the main approaches and concepts of international relations and geopolitics.
    • Has shown the ability to anticipate new crisis situations in geopolitical settings.
    • Has shown adequate capacity for (self-) reflection on academic argumentation.
    • Has demonstrated the capacity to identify the roots and causes of conflicts/complex emergencies in a particular case.
    • Has shown the ability to apply certain key concepts of International Politics and Geopolitics to concrete disaster situations.
    • Has shown to be able to transfer acquired knowledge to other humanitarian situations.
    • Has demonstrated a clear understanding of the international humanitarian system in its geopolitical context, with an emphasis on the power relations between actors.
    • Has developed basic skills for acting in and reacting to intercultural contexts.
  • Teaching and learning methodology

    Lectures, seminar and group presentations.
  • Assessment methods and criteria

    Active participation in class (obligatory)
    Written essay exam at the end of the course in which knowledge, analytical skills as well as academic writing skills will be tested (80%).
    Prepare for and conduct a presentation of the essay idea (20%).

    Students who fail the written exam are required to take a resit exam. Only insufficient scripts may be resubmitted. Students who fail the presentation exercise will have to do an extra assignment.
    Full attendance is mandatory. However, if there are extenuating circumstances, students may be permitted to miss one lecture with the advance permission of the coordinator. This does not apply to the simulation exercise which is a mandatory and assessed part of the course.
  • Required reading

    Selected articles; the literature is completely available digitally on NOHA Blackboard.

Last updated: 22 October 2019

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