module specification

GI7071 - Strategic Change in the Global Environment (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Strategic Change in the Global Environment
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 172
136 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Book Review 2000 Words
Unseen Examination 50%   Unseen exam (essay, 2000 words),
Running in 2017/18 No instances running in the year

Module summary

The Cold War was an era quite different from any other period of human history. Its bipolar nature, the central role played by weapons of mass destruction, the intense rivalry between the two superpowers (the United States and the USSR) and the ideological context of that competition meant that the relations between the two poles were anything but peaceful. The end of the Cold War was a dramatic moment. The collapse of the Berlin Wall and the so-called Iron Curtain between the two poles ushered in an era quite different from the past. This module takes as its basis a comparison between the two eras and considers how the strategic environment has evolved and what challenges face the international community in light of the changes.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

To create an understanding of the changing geo-political and geo-strategic environment (US power, European integration, the rise of China and India, the impact of the forces of globalisation and terrorism, a consideration of the nature of governance – both regional and global. The module also seeks to analyse the nature of polarity and will compare the bipolar system of the Cold War with the nature of power distribution in the contemporary era. It is in this context of bipolar, multipolar and unipolar structures that that the module will analyse questions of governance.


• The Reality of Power in the Post Cold War World:
• The Unipolar, Multipolar debate
• US Power in the World. Is the 'Empire' fading?
• 'Hard-Power' versus 'Soft Power'?
• New Super-powers: China, India, Regional powers?
• New Super-power: Europe?
• 'Clash of Civilisations'?
• Major Problems for the Security Environment:
• Proliferation of WMD ( state and sub-state)
• The Terrorism Debate: Definitions, Sub-State Terrorism,
• State links to Terrorism)
• Non-Military Threats:
• Environmental change
• Migration
• Globalisation and the Security System:
• The issue of 'Blowback'
• Future of Governance:
• The Role of the UN.
• Multi-polar Blocs and peace.

Learning and teaching

The face to face  module will be taught in weekly three-hour teaching blocks. Normally these will be split evenly between lectures and related seminar discussion. Students will be expected to participate actively, regularly and to make a presentation on one of the set weekly topics.

As a distance learning module,  content  will be delivered over a longer period and lectures and seminars will be conducted online. The module will use the following strategies:-
• E-learning: delivered using computers utilising internet technology and programming which allows the student to interact with the learning materials via chat rooms, online office hours and notice boards. The present WebLearn facilities are sufficient to cover these methods.
• Written materials: Students will be provided with written materials such as articles in electronic format (e.g. pdf files). WebLearn to be used as a repository for such material.
• Students will be required to complete a weekly Workbook involving key questions, exercises and tasks relating to the week’s lecture

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students will

1. have developed an understanding of the complex relationships and tension between politics and governance on the one hand and social, political and economic forces on the other.
2. be able to grasp contending and classical approaches in strategic studies and their significance to the study of conflict and international relations.
3. be able to apply different approaches of Strategic Studies to a wide and diverse area of conflict, including the nature and development of warfare, geopolitics and the historical context of conflicts.
4. apply concepts central to the study of international relations to the analysis of institutions, practices and issues in the global arena.
5. be able to reflect on the origins and evolution of the international political system, including the contemporary changes underway.

Assessment strategy

• 1. A take-home critical book review of one of the numerous key texts in Strategic Change in the Global Environment.  Students will be expected to answer a series of questions about these texts, questions designed to ensure that they have grasped the key issues in the various debates and can critically assess the strengths and possible weaknesses of the arguments of the protagonists in the debates: (2000 words)
• A 3000 word Research Essay


• Baylis, John (2007) Strategy in the Contemporary World: An Introduction to Strategic Studies, Oxford University Press, .
• Baylis, John and Smith, Steve (2010)The Globalisation of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, 5th Edition, Oxford University Press,
• Cameron, Fraser (2005) United States Foreign Policy after the Cold War, Routledge,
• Carlton, David, (2006)The West's Road to 9/11: Resisting, Appeasing and Encouraging
Terrorism since 1970,
• Chalmers, Johnson (2004) The Sorrows of Empire, .
• Edmonds, Martin & Cemy, Oldrich (2004) Future NATO Security, IOS Press,
• Gray, Colin S. (2004)  The Sheriff: America’s Defense of the New World Order, University Press of Kentucky, 
• Gray, Colin S. (2006) Another Bloody Century: Future Warfare, Pheonix,
• Haseler, Stephen (2000) Super-State,
• Heiss, Mary Ann and Papacosma, S. Victor (2008 )NATO and the Warsaw Pact, Intrabolic Conflicts, Kent State University Press,
• Johnson, Chalmers,(2010) Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire,
• Mahnken, Thomas G.  and Maiolo, Joseph A. (2008) Strategic Studies: A Reader, Routledge,
• Mahnken, Thomas G. (2007) War in Iraq: Planning and Execution, Routledge, .
• Papacosma, S. Victor, Kay Sean & Rubin Mark, ,(2001) NATO after fifty years. Rowman and Littlefield, 
• Rifkin, Jeremy, (2004) The European Dream,
• Stiglitz, Joseph (2005) Fair Trade For All: How Trade Can Promote Development,