Gender, Peace and Security

Course Description: 

What effect does gender relations have on war, peace and security policy?

This course aims to uncover the dynamic impact that gender has in the causes of war and armed conflict, as well as the behaviours of actors in ‘wartime’ and ‘peacetime.’ Through an exploration of topics such as the nature of warfare, terrorism, peacekeeping, and post-conflict reconstruction, this course introduces students to connections between security and sex/gender relations. Students will engage with academic debates regarding the ways in which war, violence, conflict, and security are gendered. We will consider the merits of different analytical approaches to gender as applied to conventional security issues, as well as feminist critiques of the concepts of ‘peace’ and ‘security’.

Learning Outcomes: 

Upon completion of this course, students should:

  • Be able to identify and critique the predominant/traditional assumptions that inform how we think about war, peace, and security.
  • Understand the relevance of gender to thinking about issues of peace and security.
  • Know what it means to apply a ‘gender lens’ to looking at issues of international relations.
  • Be able to use gender as a tool of analysis for the study of political relationships.
  • Demonstrate a competency in critical feminist IR theory.
  • Be able to think critically about what counts as security, and of whose security we are speaking.
  • Exhibit a greater awareness of - and interest in - how gender shapes global politics and economics, and in turn, how global politics and economics shape gender relations.


As the major component of this course is seminar discussion, active participation from all students is required. It is the responsibility of students to come to each seminar prepared, having completed all of the assigned readings and ready to engage in seminar discussion.

Your participation grade will reflect your degree of engagement with the course materials and concepts. Demonstrated critical engagement with the required readings and respectful discussions with classmates will predominantly determine the discussion participation component of your grade.

Discussion, exchange, and participation are critical components of this class and class time will be important in facilitating your understanding of the readings. Therefore, attendance is mandatory. More than two absences during the course of the term will dramatically affect your participation grade.

Midterm Exam:

The midterm exam will be held in class on 16 February 2016 and comprise of short-answer and long-answer responses. You will be expected to demonstrate knowledge of both concepts and arguments of authors from readings covered in seminars.