• Class Number 4787
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Bina D'Costa
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/02/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 08/05/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
    • Maria Shumusti
SELT Survey Results

In recent years, 'human security' problems and issues have gained increasing attention on global and regional security agendas as essential priorities alongside more traditional or military (or 'national') security concerns. The traditional definition of security premised on military defence of a territory puts human security and social factors at the periphery. Advocates for a human security approach argue that to insist on a narrower state-centric security paradigm at the expense of human security would leave the concept of security bereft of any practical meaning in many real-world circumstances. What is human security, and what kinds of security issues, problems or conflicts can it be applied to? How do human security perspectives generate different approaches and policies to traditional security thinking? In what ways does a human security approach provide innovative perspectives to address sources of insecurity more holistically? This course will critically examine the human security concept and a range of key human security issues in the Asian region, including intra-state and ethnic conflict, post-conflict peace building, displaced persons and refugees, landmines and small arms, the protection of children in conflict, and poverty and human development.

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Students who engage fully and successfully with this course, including satisfying all course requirements, will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a sound knowledge and a critical understanding of human security and how it is applied to forced migration literature.

2. Apply that knowledge to the discourses of peace building and specific case studies.

3. Communicate their critical understanding of displacement in a clear and concise way through a series of assignments and participation in the class.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Security in the 21stcentury: Transformations and Continuities Course Introduction and Overview Discussion Questions: •Has international security fundamentally changed after the end of the Cold War? •What are the most important security issues in the contemporary era? •What is security? •To what extent are contemporary conflicts different from earlier inter-state conflicts? •What is human security? What are the central aspects of the UNDP’s 1994 Human Development Report?
2 Critical Approaches to Security: Human Security in Theory Discussion Questions: •What are the theoretical underpinnings of the concept of human security? •Why is human security a contested concept? •Which definition of human security can guide policy-making? •What does ‘universalism of life’ mean? Why does the UNDP emphasize the notion of ethical ‘universalism’? •Is human security a ‘paradigm shift or hot air’?
3 The Institutionalisation and Practice of Human Security Discussion Questions: •What are the Asian approaches to human security? •What were the major differences between the Canadian and Japanese approaches to human security in the late 1990s? •What role does the UN play in promoting human security globally? •What are the limitations of contemporary operationalisation and institutionalisation of human security? •Which human security issues should be prioritised in international policy-setting? •Do you agree with the argument that ‘human security has been institutionalised and co-opted to work in the interests of global capitalism, militarism and neoliberal governance’ (Turner et. al 2010, 83)?
4 Changing Nature of War and R2P Discussion Questions:•What is Kaldor’s ‘new wars’ thesis?Do you think new wars are fundamentally different from ‘old wars’?•What are the central pillars of R2P? What are the legal and normative aspects of R2P? •What is sovereignty? •Do we need R2P? •Is R2P an international norm or a principle? •Do you thinkR2P constitutes a promising pathway to stop genocide and mass atrocities? •Does R2P violate the principle of state sovereignty and non-interference? •Is R2P a tool of the powerful states against the weak? •Is R2P a new name for humanitarian intervention? •What are the limitations of R2P? •How can the framework of R2P be improved? •Under what circumstances would military action be considered? •What are the unintended consequences of peacebuilding/peacekeeping operations?
5 Terrorism and Urban (In) Security Discussion Questions:•What is terrorism? How do you define terrorism? Why is terrorism difficult to define? •What are the root causes of terrorism? •What are the major features of ‘new’ terrorism? Is there a ‘new’ terrorism? •In your view, is terrorism a serious threat to international, national or human security? •How can governments respond to the threat of terrorism? What are the major differences between state-centred and human-centred measures? •What are the key differences between traditional and critical approaches to terrorism? How does human security contribute to our understanding of terrorism& counter terrorism? •Is the terrorist threat in the Asia-Pacific region real or overstated?What do we mean by “discursive construction of threat”? •How should the Asia-Pacific states respond to the challenges posed by terrorism?•What is urban insecurity? How does ‘the war on terror’ change the urban landscape? •What is ‘urbicide’? Do you think the destruction of the built environment is a form of political violence?
6 Human Security, Human Rights and Human Development Discussion Questions:•What differentiates orthodox and alternative approaches to human rights and human development? •What is poverty? What is the relationship between development, human rights and poverty? •What is security-rights-development nexus? •Some critical scholars argue that the convergence of development, human rights and security reinforces existing state-centric policy frameworks, thereby, limits the transformative and emancipatory potential of human security. Do you agree with such arguments? •Do you think poverty and poor economic development are the root causes of terrorism? •What is ‘securitisation of development’? •What are the political and social consequences of securitisation of development? •What are the strengths and limitations of Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development(A/RES/70/1)? •What are the strengths and limitations of World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security and Development (World Bank 2011)?•Is international aid motivated by altruism or self-interest? •What are the unintended consequences of peacebuilding operations?
7 Putting a human face on border politics: mobility and forced displacement in the 21stcentury Discussion Questions: •Should the 1951 Convention have a broader definition of refugee?•What is the difference between a migrant and a refugee? •How do European and Australian border politics produce or obscure human security? •Does Australia have a responsibility to protect asylum seekers coming by boats?•What is ‘agonistic human security’? What is ‘emancipatory human security’? •How should the European States ‘manage’ he contemporary refugee flows?•What are the limitations of human security approach to border politics?
8 Environmental Security and Climate Change: Revisiting Human Security and Vulnerability in the age of Anthropocene Discussion Questions: •Do you think the environmental crisis is best conceived in terms of national or human security? •Do you think the contemporary state system (including borders) contributes to global ecological problems? •What are the main threats to human security posed by climate change and global ecological problems? •Does climate change cause war between countries? •Do you think the non-state actors including civil society are significant in collective efforts to climate change? •To what extent does the division between the global North and South remain a barrier to address climate change? •Has the UN been successful in generatingan effective collective response to climate change? •How can we best address climate change? Why areglobal justice and equity necessary dimensions in addressing contemporary global ecological problems? •What are the relationship between indigenousrights and human security in the context of climate change?
10 Food and Health (In) Security: The Biopolitics of Human Security Discussion Questions: •In what ways could human security be related to global health? •Who are the key referent objects of security in the contemporary global efforts on health and food security? •Why is health equity important? What actions can be taken to address global, national and local inequalities? •In what ways is health and food security linked to human development? •What are the key challenges to food and health security in Asia and the Pacific?•How does climate change affect food and health security?
11 Global Activism vs Global Governance Discussion questions: •What are the rolesof civil society and NGOs in promoting human security globally and in Asia-Pacific? •What are the bottom-up and top-down approaches to human security? How do they manifest themselves in global policy making? •What is global governance? Who are the central agents of global governance? •How is the world governed? •What is alter-globalisation movement? To what extent is it different from anti-globalisation movement? How do these movements relate to the concept of human security? •What are the central features of ‘new’ social movements? What are the new ways of ‘doing’ global politics? •Do social movements change our understanding of human security? •Why are we learning social protest movements in a human security course?
12 Critical Perspectives on Human Security: Revisiting Theory and Practice Discussion question: What is human security?

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Participation 10 % * 1,3
Short essay 20 % 18/03/2020 1.2
Report 40 % 22/04/2020 1,2,3
Take-home exam 2June 2020 30 % 02/06/2020 1,2,3

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,3


The course will be run in the format of seminars, which requires active participation of the students.


Seminars will combine lecture teaching with interactive participation. Your participation mark will be based on the quality of your contributions to discussions in seminars. You are expected to be the active participants in seminars. You need to come to the class prepared. You are required to read the essential readings before the class. You are expected to critically engage with the topics and your readings. Please check Wattle and your ANU email regularly for specific seminar tasks.In order to obtain the highest possible mark, you need to considerthe following:-Effective participation is only possible when you are prepared for class and critically reflect on, and respond to, set material. You need to read the essential readings, for each topic before the class each week.These readings are uploaded on Wattle. During the seminars, you need to raise relevant questions, engage in intellectual debates and provide informed participation in discussions

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 18/03/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1.2

Short essay

Critical essay (1000 words) Due 18 March, 2020 11:55 pm.

All assessment details including questions are available on… the Wattle site

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 22/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3


Report (2500 words) Due 22 April, 2020, 11:55 pm.

All assessment details are available on the Wattle site.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 02/06/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Take-home exam 2June 2020

All assessment details including questions… will be posted… on the Wattle site.… … 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Prof Bina D'Costa
02 6125 3207

Research Interests

Prof Bina D'Costa

Wednesday 10:00 12:00
Maria Shumusti

Research Interests

Maria Shumusti

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions