Human Rights, War, and Conflict in the Post-Cold War Order

Module code: PL7519

Module co-ordinator: Dr Tara McCormack

Module Outline

This module engages with the key debates in contemporary international relations about war, intervention, human rights and sovereignty. Since the end of the Cold War it has become increasingly accepted that powerful nations have a right and responsibility to intervene on behalf of others. The formal framework for international relations as codified in the UN Charter is argued to be a ‘tyrant’s charter’, in which the stated commitments to sovereign equality and non-intervention simply serve to undermine human rights. For supporters of humanitarian intervention, state-centric ethics have dominated for too long. For supporters of human rights and humanitarian intervention the post-Cold War era is permitting a shifting of moral boundaries away from the state and the national community towards more cosmopolitan conceptions of community and the extension of rights and justice beyond the state border. In this module we will consider this shift in both theory and in international politics.

Teaching and Learning Methods

Teaching will be delivered through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) – Blackboard - this allows for a range of innovative and engaging teaching techniques to be used such as online presentations, podcasts, interactive message boards and Wikis, as well as one-to-one contact through conventional channels. 


  • Journal article analysis (20%)
  • Essay (80%)