This fall-only seminar is designed to introduce students with limited familiarity with international law to principles involved in the use of force during periods of putative peace. It will explore, for example, what circumstances constitute an “act of war” in variety of situations, to include cyberspace.
Although the course will be taught online, I expect to offer in-person office hours and other small-group meetings on campus if possible (with virtual options for students who cannot attend). There is one assigned time block for the course, but the structure of classes may vary, and students may be divided into sections, discussion groups, and panels.
We will have some synchronous whole-group meetings and some class time divided between sections. The course may include guest speakers (via Zoom). There may be occasional asynchronous content, including short lectures, podcasts, and some documentary footage. Students will have advance notice of all required participation elements.
The course will analyze when and how force may be used in self-defense and will survey topics such as humanitarian intervention, hostage rescue, air defense identification zones, freedom of navigation operations, use of force in the cyber domain, and the legal aspects of international counter-piracy and counterterrorism operations (including drone strikes). Efforts to limit the use of force in outer space as well as the implications of nuclear weapons and the emergence of autonomous weaponry will be explored.
Case studies and current news events will be examined in conjunction with the covered issues. In addition, students will get an overview of the practical issues associated with the use of force, to include the weaponry, planning, and military techniques involved.
This course obviously addresses the use of force in international law. Accordingly, class instruction will inevitably include written, oral, and visual depictions of physical force and violence—and occasionally extreme representations of the same.
There is no textbook for this course, but there will be a course pack along with materials (students may be required to purchase the course pack, but the cost will not exceed $25).
There is no examination, but a 20-page paper (constituting 60% of the grade) is required on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the instructor. With instructor approval, the course paper may fulfill the Substantial Research and Writing Project or other writing requirements provided it is at least 30 pages in length and otherwise complies with SRWP requirements. The remainder of the grade (40%) is based on the quality and frequency of class participation, and may require the preparation of short presentations, and response papers.
|Course Areas of Practice|
Research paper option, 25+ pages
Research and/or analytical paper(s), 20+ pages
Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law
Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context