Spring 2023 - IS 409 E100

Special Topics I (4)

Justice, War & Power

Class Number: 5000

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM
    HCC 200, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Specific details of courses to be offered will be published prior to enrollment each term.


This course examines debates about the use of political violence, with a particular focus on military force. It explores the following questions: For what purposes and under what conditions (if any) is the use of political violence and military force justifiable? When and how should those who enact political violence be held accountable?

We will explore a range of contending perspectives, from realism and just war theory to various forms of pacifism and other critical perspectives. We will bring these perspectives to bear on a range of contemporary challenges related to the use of political violence and military force. And we will examine specific cases of conflict and war, as well as specific efforts to oppose to such violence.


  • Annotated Bibliography & Essay Outline 15%
  • Essay 30%
  • Group Project & Presentation 30%
  • In-class assignment (‘defender of the text’) 5%
  • Participation (including in-class exercises) 20%


Students will be required to submit their written assignments to Turnitin.com in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html.



Samuel Moyn, Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War (Farrar, Straus, & Geroux, 2021.)

Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars, 5th edition (Basic Books, 2015.)

Other assigned readings will be available electronically via Canvas or online.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html