POLS202-19S2 (C) Semester Two 2019

International Relations and Humanitarian Ideals

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 15 July 2019
End Date: Sunday, 10 November 2019
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 26 July 2019
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 27 September 2019


This course examines the intersection of international relations and humanitarian ideals. It examines debates over the meaning of sovereignty, the role of identity and ethnicity in war, and the impact of human rights in international and global politics. These issues are illustrated via case studies of humanitarian intervention and the war on terror.

This course introduces students to the various perspectives and issues surrounding the intersections of international relations and humanitarian idealism. The course begins by drawing contrasts between the dominant schools of international relations thought (realism and liberalism) as well as more recent critical currents. These contrasts are then applied to a variety of issues that dominate our contemporary understanding of international politics, including human rights, disarmament, refugees, humanitarian intervention, and the war on terror.  

Course Aims:

This course aims to foster an understanding of the place of humanitarian ideology within the theory and practice of international relations. The lectures provide an overview of the key theoretical and practical issues, while the readings provide additional depth and challenge students to read at a more advanced level. The assessments are intended to encourage engagement with and participation in the course with the aim of improving research, verbal and writing skills. By the end of the course, students should have an understanding of the meaning and function of humanitarianism in international relations and should have some appreciation of the impact that theory has upon the practice of international politics.

Learning Outcomes

  • Through lecture attendance, assessment, and discussion, students should:

  • be capable of understanding and participating in complex debates surrounding the role of humanitarianism in international relations;
  • be prepared for further study in the areas of international relations theory, human rights, and humanitarian intervention;
  • have a detailed understanding of the arguments for and against humanitarian intervention;
  • have a detailed understanding of a variety of case studies of humanitarian intervention;
  • gain additional research and writing skills that will advance them beyond the first year stage and  prepare them for more intensive work at third year level and beyond.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.


15 points in POLS at 100-level. Students not meeting the prerequisites but with at least a B average in 60 points in appropriate courses may be admitted to take Political Science and International Relations courses at the 200-level with the approval of the Head of Department and/or Programme coordinator.

Timetable 2019

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 11:00 - 12:00 F3 Lecture Theatre 15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 12:00 - 13:00 F3 Lecture Theatre 15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 14:00 - 15:00 John Britten 117 HP Seminar Room 22 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
02 Wednesday 16:00 - 17:00 Psychology - Sociology 456 22 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
03 Thursday 14:00 - 15:00 Jack Erskine 244 22 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct


Jeremy Moses


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Tutorial attendance & participation 15% Weeks 3-12
Final Exam 30%
Reading tests 15% 10 multiple choice tests
Major essay 11 Oct 2019 40% 2,000-2,500 words

Textbooks / Resources

All required readings will be posted on the POLS202 Learn site.

Additional Course Outline Information

Where to submit and collect work

Essay boxes are located on the 5th floor Locke, outside the POLS office, Locke 501.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $761.00

International fee $3,188.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences.

All POLS202 Occurrences

  • POLS202-19S2 (C) Semester Two 2019