POLS202-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023

International Relations and Humanitarian Ideals

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 July 2023
End Date: Sunday, 12 November 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 30 July 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 1 October 2023


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 with an exploration of the concept of humanitarianism as it emerged in history and theory.  It then considers the problems and challenges of humanitarianism in international relations. These foundations are then used to explore a variety of issues that dominate our contemporary understanding of humanitarianism in international politics, including humanitarian intervention, disarmament, refugees, and war. Case studies examined during the course include Somalia, Rwanda, Kosovo, Libya, and Syria.

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 humanitarian theory and practice has had upon international relations in general.

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.


Any 15 points at 100 level from POLS, or
any 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA, or
the Schedule V of the BCom.

Course Coordinator

Jeremy Moses


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Tutorial attendance and participation 15% Assessment based on 10 tutorials
Final Exam 25% Two long answers
Reading Tests 20% 10 Multiple choice Tests - weekly
Major essay 15 Oct 2023 40% 2,000 - 2,500 words

Textbooks / Resources

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

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $821.00

International fee $3,750.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, 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

  • POLS202-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023