Course Title: Humanitarian Intervention and Security in an Age of Crisis

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Humanitarian Intervention and Security in an Age of Crisis

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies

Face-to-Face or Internet

Sem 2 2019

Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Damian Grenfell

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3462

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 37.05.32A

Course Coordinator Availability: by appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities



Course Description

Military-Humanitarian interventions have become an integral part of the political landscape of the post-cold war world. Situated at the intersection of demands for humanitarian assistance, security, human rights and development, an understanding of the international architecture of interventions and their effects have become essential knowledge for those working across a range of global actors, including state agencies, NGOs, development networks, community organisations and social movements.    In this course you will examine different forms and definitions of intervention, exploring in particular ’Humanitarian Interventions’ undertaken by military forces, the United Nations, and a range of global actors. Drawing on historical precedents you will examine the key debates and case examples of humanitarian interventions over the last two decades as a way to understand how interventions have evolved. The primary questions underpinning the course are ’why’ do interventions occur and ’how’ do they unfold in practice, and is taught from a critical perspective that unpacks policy discourse in relation to interventions. You will also develop your knowledge of security and how it relates to both interventions as well as development.    Conceptual mapping will allow you to determine what does and does not constitute a humanitarian intervention, what is its relationship to international law, the character of peacekeeping missions, as well as consider key questions of security, gender, doctrines such as Responsibility to Protect (R2P), as well as state-building. Discussions of professional practice in the context of working in interventions, as well as ethics, will be a key dimension in this course.   A range of contemporary case studies will be drawn on from around the world, assisting you to make connections between the theory and practice of humanitarian interventions.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development



Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:   1. Evaluate and appraise theoretical and practical frameworks that relate to humanitarian intervention 2. Critically examine the linkages between political, economic and military dimensions of interventions 3. Delineate and determine what are the indicators in various local, regional, and global conflicts that may or may not lead to intervention 4. Analyse the political and ethical causes and consequences of interventions, including the role of international organisations and related protocols.  5. Determine the contemporary significance of different case studies that illustrate the rationale of humanitarian interventions

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be engaged in learning that involves face to face and online activities such as lectures and workshops. The workshops will be activity-based, including role plays, scenarios, debates and class presentations Workshop activities will intersect with the course readings.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.

A list of recommended learning resources will be provided by your lecturer, including books, journal articles and web resources. You will also be expected to seek further resources relevant to the focus of your own learning.

The University Library has extensive resources for International Development and International Studies students. The Library has produced a number of subject guides that includes quality online and print resources for your studies. Please see International Development and International Studies Library Guides.

The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help via your Liaison Librarians.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes. Assessment may include:   Task 1: Class Exercise, 10% CLO 1,2 Task 2: Class Presentation and written report, 40%, CLO 1,2 Task 3: Written Assessment (long essay), 50%, CLO 2,3,4,5.   Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.   If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more.   Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: