Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL2105: Total War, Total Peace

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.


NQF Level 5
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Brieg Powel (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


This module adopts a multidisciplinary, global perspective to explore the concept of ‘total war’ in relation to other understandings of ‘war’ and ‘peace’. By considering examples from a broad historical and geographical span, the module encourages you to examine the relationship between societies and the type(s) of war they (or their representatives) practice at particular points in history. By also exploring the total/limited war binary, the module encourages you to develop an appreciation of why societies and governments seek to employ different levels of violence and social mobilisation, and how socio-economic factors influence strategy and the practice of war. Why, for instance did the US employ the ‘draft’ during the Second Indochina/Vietnam War but not during the War on Terror? What drove Iraq to employ chemical weapons in its war against Iran? What was the first ‘total war’, and why was it fought in that manner? The module thus links the nature of war with strategic policy, promoting an understanding of why politicians choose to take military action, and why that action takes the form(s) that it does.

In terms of teaching method, the module will involve 2-hour workshops which merge lectures and seminars into a single, more interactive learning experience. The workshops will involve multimedia delivery in the form of audio-visual resources and experiential learning through simulations. These will be supported by links to further optional online material.

Module created


Last revised