IR322      Half Unit
Sovereignty, Rights and Justice: Issues in International Political Theory

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Christopher Brown SHF.3.02


This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

Combines insights and concepts from political theory and international relations theory, and focuses on modern debates on sovereignty, the rights of states, individuals and peoples, and international justice.

Sovereignty and the norm of non-intervention; the contemporary international human rights regime; the ethics of war and violence; the politics of humanitarian intervention; the politics of international criminal law and the ICC; global social justice. Further details will be provided at the start of the session.


20 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

Students will write one formative essay (1,500 words) due end of week 6; they can use this to develop ideas for the summative essay but students will not be allowed to 'cut and paste' their formative work into the summative essay.  Students will produce a 2 page outline of the assessed essay in Week 10.  This will set out the research question, an overview of the argument, a draft structure and indicative reading list.  Students will receive approval of the research topic and feedback on the outline by the end of Week 11.

Indicative reading

A detailed list of references will be provided: Widely used books include: C Brown, International Society, Global Polity: An Introduction to International Political Theory (2015), Anthony Lang, International Political Theory (2014); Michael Walzer Just and Unjust Wars (2015).


Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the LT.

Students will write an essay of 4,000 words on a topic approved by the course convener due in Week 1 of the LT.  Full details and guidance will be provided on Moodle and in the first seminar.

Teachers' comment

IR322 Sovereignty Rights and Justice is a half-unit successor to the full-unit course IR306 of the same name, which ran from 2000 to 2014 - Professor Brown, who gave the lectures in IR306, and will teach lectures and classes in IR322, formally retired in September 2014 and the shift to a half-unit reflects his move to the status of Emeritus Professor. The syllabus of the course has been adjusted appropriately and it remains a coherent introduction to an important sub-field within International Relations.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2016/17: 18

Average class size 2016/17: 9

Capped 2016/17: Yes (30)

Lecture capture used 2016/17: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills