- Code WARS2001
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Strategic and Defence Studies Centre
- ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
- Course subject War Studies
- Areas of interest Political Sciences
- Academic career UGRD
- James Brien
- Mode of delivery In Person
Second Semester 2021
See Future Offerings
This course is concerned with the conduct of war. It will examine the theories developed to guide the use of organised violence in the pursuit of political objectives, and how the application of those theories has shaped the experience of war for those involved in it. While the course’s staring point is the texts held to constitute the ‘classical’ foundations of military thought, such as Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Clausewitz’s On War, and Jomini’s The Art of War, its emphasis will be on reciprocal relationship between the development of military technology and the evolution of military theory from the mid-19th to the early-21st centuries. Students will thus explore ideas about the conduct of war on the sea, on the ground, and in the air, as well as the rapidly emerging operational domains of space and cyberspace, and efforts to produce joint theories of warfare that unite activity in all these spheres. The course will challenge the Eurocentrism of much of the writing about the evolution of military thought by embracing non-Western theories of war and critically examining the notion of culturally-defined approaches to warfighting.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Describe the tenets of the major military theories from the mid-19th to the early 20th Century;
- Relate the origins of the major military theories of the mid-19th--early-21st century to their cultural, technological, political, and philosophical contexts;
- Evaluate the practical application of he major military theories of the mid-19th--early-21st century through the medium of historical case studies;
- Critically examine historical sources and commentaries; and
- Express the results of analysis coherently, concisely, and confidently in both written and oral forms.
- classroom contribution (10) [LO 2,3,4,5]
- weekly quizzes (30) [LO 1]
- comparative exercise (2000 words) (20) [LO 1,4,5]
- research essay (4000 words) (40) [LO 2,3,4,5]
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Eleven weekly two-hour lectures and one-hour tutorials, plus a half-day wargaming activity.
Students will be expected to to spend an average of 10 hours per week on the course, with three being made up of the contact hours and the remainder preparing for lectures and tutorials, and completing assessment.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Preliminary ReadingB. Heuser, The Evolution of Strategy: Thinking war from antiquity to the present, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2010.
J. Angstrom and J. J. Widen, Contemporary Military Theory: The dynamics of war, Abingdon, Routledge, 2015.
C. von Clausewitz (ed. and trans. M. Howard and P. Paret), On War, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1976.
S. Cox and P. Gray (ed.), Airpower History: Turning points from Kitty Hawk to Kosovo, London Frank Cass, 2002.
A. Gat, A History of Military Thought: From the Enlightenment to the Cold War, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001.
D. Jordan, et. al., Understanding Modern Warfare (2nd ed.), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008.
P. A. Lorge, The Asian Military Revolution: From gunpowder to the bomb, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008.
J. A. Lynn, Battle: A history of combat and culture, Boulder, Westview Press, 2003.
J. A. Olsen, Airpower Reborn: The strategic concepts of John Warden and John Boyd, Annapolis, Naval Institute Press, 2015.
P. Porter, Military Orientalism: Eastern war through Western eyes, London, Hurst & Company, 2009.
The completion of WARS1001 is recommended but not compulsory for students taking this course.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
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- 6 units
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