War and Representation

University of Galway

Course Description

  • Course Name

    War and Representation

  • Host University

    University of Galway

  • Location

    Galway, Ireland

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Students may not take this course in enrolled in TI318, TI303, or TI331

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course rationale

    Discourse is a key concept to understand in political and cultural geography, given that so much of our human geographical knowledge is dependent upon its multiple forms. In the West, very few of us have ever seen war, for example; it is typically waged externally in foreign fields. Therefore, how it is discursively (re)presented to us from afar is paramount. Our geographical imaginings of difference and conflict legitimise and frame both our waging and subsequent representations of war. Images and narratives of war serve to translate, prioritise and frequently destroy knowledge. They not only help us to sanitise and forget the wounds of history, but also play pivotal roles in legitimising and contesting the geopolitics of new wars in the multimedia context of the modern world.

    Drawing on recent work in critical geopolitics, this module is centred on interrogating the enduring significance of the scripting of imaginative geographies of war in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. It explores the production of, and resistance to, multiple material, textual and audio-visual discourses of war as the products and producers of geopolitical power. Focusing in particular on World War I, the Vietnam War and ongoing war on terror, the module aims to cultivate students' capacities to recognise Foucault?s 'power/knowledge couplet' within all forms of discourse, and prompts a systematic deconstructing of the subtle but purposeful connections between discourse and practice in contemporary geopolitics.
    Key learning outcomes

    * To learn to interrogate diverse discourses of war from different and conflicting media and to deconstruct the specific geopolitical, ideological and institutional logics of their creation.

    * To recognise the selectivity, politics and power relations of all forms of discourse and to appreciate how prioritised geographical knowledge is scripted, disseminated and contested.

    * More broadly, to see the critical significance of representation in the modern world and to decipher the integral connections between geopolitical discourse and geopolitical action.

    Assessment (5 ECTS)

    Essay (50%)

    - 2000-word term paper

    Exam (50%)

    - 2 questions in 2 hours (choice of 4)

    Some key readings

    M. Evans and K. Lunn (eds), 1997, War and Memory in the Twentieth Century, Berg, Oxford

    D. Gregory, 2004, The Colonial Present: Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, Blackwell, Oxford

    N.C. Johnson, 2003, Ireland, the Great War and the Geography of Remembrance, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    D. Kishan Thussu and D. Freedman (eds), 2003, War and the Media: Reporting Conflict 24/7, Sage, London

    J. Lembcke, 1998, The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory and the Legacy of Vietnam, New York University Press, New York

    E. Said, 1994, Culture and Imperialism, Vintage, London

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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