The Law and Politics of Fencing the Use of Force


Course Objective

When finalizing the course, students will have knowledge and
understanding of
- The prospects and problems of international law as an instrument of
mitigating and overcoming inter-state war;
- The historical context in which certain approaches concerning fencing
the use of force developed
- The prospects and problems of systems of collective security;
- The prospects and problems of combining international law and
political science in studying international security.

Course Content

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the changing
international rules and regulations on the use of armed force from the
perspectives of international law, history and political
science/international relations.
Over the course of human history, the nature of war and armed conflict
has been changing frequently and dramatically. In addition to
technology, these developments have been driven by changing ideas about
just causes and legitimate ways of using armed force. Limiting the human
costs of war has become an ever more powerful motive in designing and
modifying the rules governing the use of force. The prime instrument of
fencing the use of armed force has been international law. The course
discusses the most important developments in the laws of armed conflict
since the late Middle Ages, including just war theory, collective
security and humanitarian interventions from an interdisciplinary
perspective that builds on Public International Law and Political
Science/International Relations. This interdisciplinary perspective
allows a comprehensive understanding of the achievements and
shortcomings in the laws and politics of fencing the use of force.
Milestones under discussing include early modern concepts of just war,
the balance of power system of the 19th century, the League of Nations,
the United Nations system and recent efforts to promote a Responsibility
to Protect.

Teaching Methods


Method of Assessment

written assignment


Hathaway, Oona/Shapiro, Scott 2017: The Internationalists. How a Radical
Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Additional articles

Target Audience

2nd year bachelor students in the minor Peace and Conflict Studies.
The course is also open as an elective course.

General Information

Course Code S_LPFUF
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator prof. dr. W.M. Wagner
Examiner prof. dr. W.M. Wagner
Teaching Staff dr. D.B.R. Kroeze
prof. dr. W.M. Wagner

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

This course is also available as: