Political Geographies of War and Security GEOG4099

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course provides an introduction to issues surrounding warfare, violence, and national security from a geographical perspective. It focuses on a range of different spaces and topics, from the use of napalm in the Vietnam War to the contemporary use of drones in the war on terror.


There will be two lecture slots per week. - one of 2 hours and one of 1 hour

Requirements of Entry

Entry to Level 3 Geography


(1) Course essay will be due in the latter half of the course (60%) - 2000 words

(2) Written exam - 40%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

■ To introduce core debates in political geography

■ To critically assess key concepts such as war, security, and violence

■ To examine the geographies of both historical and contemporary warfare

■ To explore the shifting scales, logics, and sites of state power

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Evaluate different debates and approaches in contemporary political geography

■ Explain how war, security, and violence are contested and variable concepts

■ Identify key authors and contributions

■ Critically assess concepts such as the "war on terror," and apply theoretical ideas to understanding and challenging contemporary trends in international relations

■ Compare and evaluate why contemporary forms of warfare and security are unique (such as drone warfare and cyber-warfare)

■ Explain links between technology, power, and space

■ Identify issues in primary sources, and critically assess and contextualize current news stories

■ Evaluate how and why a geographical perspective is important

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.