Teaching the course 'Gender, Human Security and Violent Conflict'
Published in  
October 21, 2022

Teaching the course 'Gender, Human Security and Violent Conflict'

From September until December 2022, I am teaching the course 'Gender, Human Security and Violent Conflict' at the University of Amsterdam. How are violent conflict and security gendered and what are the consequences and implications? These are the central questions discussed in my course from the perspective of conflict studies, human security theory, international relations and gender studies.

The Bachelor Interdisciplinary Social Sciences is a three-year bachelor programme (180 EC) where students learn to look at social issues in an interdisciplinary way. Insights and theories from political science, psychology, anthropology, sociology, and social geography and planning are introduced to students who follow ISW. The programme starts with an introduction to these core disciplines, and in the second year the focus will be on deepening interdisciplinary. Students will learn to combine the disciplines and apply them to several themes. The third year focuses on how to apply the knowledge students have gained. They can choose between a scientific or an applied graduation profile.

The course 'Gender, Human Security and Violent Conflict' is part of two minors: 'Gender and Sexuality' and 'Conflict Studies'. Not only students of the bachelor ISW can register for these minors, but they are also open for students from other bachelor programmes and students from other universities. Therefore, the 30 students in the classroom all have very different disciplinary backgrounds (from political science to anthropology to artificial intelligence to the film academy).  

During the course, students have first been introduced to key thinkers and topics in the field of gender, human security and violent conflict to make sure they understand how global politics, universal rights and security theories are gendered. Students will also be able to apply different conceptualizations of gender in the study of violence, human insecurity, civil war & peace building and have gathered knowledge of the (gendered) implications of violence, post conflict transitions, peace & justice and peace negotiation processes. Lastly, during the course I also focus on the different dimensions and levels, such as the grassroots, nation-states, regions & the international community in the study of gender, human security and violent conflict.

The course consists of 3-hour seminars each week for a whole semester (from September until the end of December). For every session I indicated the compulsory literature, as well as some suggestions for further reading. At the beginning of each seminar, I gave a lecture of 45 min to contextualise the literature of that particular week and explain difficult terms. After the lecture, an interactive debate takes place, which is moderated by students themselves. During this debate, students are encouraged to challenge the group (or smaller groups) with critical questions to further the student's engagement with the literature. In the final part of the seminar, a case study is presented by students followed by an in-depth classroom discussion of the case. At the end of the course, students are expected to write a paper (of 4.000 words).

As the course coordinator, I am extremely proud of the students as they always come well-prepared to class, they feel free and safe to share their thoughts and they are so good at articulating themselves. In addition, everyone handed in assignments in time which makes me very happy. I am thankful to the head of the bachelor programme for their trust in me to give this course. I really enjoy it!