Dalhousie University

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology





Prof.: Dr. Julian Hermida

Course number: 3181

Teaching hours: Tuesdays 1905 - 2155

Term: Winter

Office: Room 2131 (FASS Building)

Tel.: 494-6278


Office hours:†††† Tuesdays and Thursdays 1 pm to 1.30 pm and Tuesdays from 6.15 pm to 6.45 pm or by appointment.




The main objective of the course is to introduce students to the study of the development of international justice from a sociological perspective. The course will seek to examine these matters through the study of major theories of international justice and the analysis of current international conflicts. It will also consider recent feminist critiques of developments in the area of international justice. Topics to be examined include international terrorism, the role of human rights, global justice, the role of international criminal courts, international governmental and non governmental organizations, and human security.







              Knowledge is a constantly evolving process, which can be constructed personally and collectively.

        From an individual perspective, knowledge is personal, socially and historically contextualized, and dependent on psychological variables.

        From the class perspective, knowledge is a collective construction, where all participants can make their contribution.

        In the process of constructing knowledge, there is a dialectic relationship between action and reflection, where one feeds the other and vice versa.

        Successful learning is based on a personal involvement of students in their own learning.

        The learning environment, including the teaching methods, the teacherís attitude, and the class atmosphere, among other factors, is determinative of the studentsí approach to learning, as well as, the learning outcomes.

        The role of the teacher is that of a facilitator and tutor rather than a lecturer.

        Student peers are a powerful source of learning.

        Evaluation is conceived mainly as formative.





This course is conceived so that students can:


1. Understand the concept of international justice.

1.1.  Analyze the different conceptions of justice at the international level.

1.2.  Understand the concept of


2.        Develop analytical tools to understand the major contemporary international conflicts.

2.1.  Become familiar with the major international conflicts.

2.2.  Become familiar with the main international social and political movements.

3.        Analyze the evolution of international crimes and the international responses.


4.        Assess the value of international human rights.

4.1.  Examine criticism to the exportation of human rights.

4.2.  Value non Western approaches to human rights.


5.        Examine the role and development of international criminal courts.

5.1.  Value the role of international organizations in the promotion of international justice.





Deploy a range of advanced transferable skills such as: oral and written communication skills, the accurate exposition of complex arguments and sets of research findings and the critical evaluation of competing explanations or complex arguments relating to some internationally sensitive topics.





Classroom activities will be designed to encourage students to play an active role in the construction of their own knowledge and in the design of their own learning strategies.

We will combine traditional lectures with other active teaching methodologies, such as interactive lecture presentations, cooperative group problem solving, analysis of video scenes, debates, and construction of web sites. Students will also be assigned joint research projects so that they will engage in collaborative learning experiences outside the classroom. Students will be expected to interact with media resources, such as web sites, video, DVDs, etc.

In line with the postulates of Writing Across the Curriculum, writing will be integrated in all class assignments.




Evaluation is conceived mainly as formative and feedback will be provided all throughout the course.


The evaluation of the studentsí achievement of the objectives of the course will be based on four main components: two exams, an oral presentation, and class participation/portfolio. The first exam accounts for 30% of the final grade while the second one accounts for 20%. The oral presentation accounts for 30% of the final grade, and class participation/portfolio accounts for 20%.


Successful attainment of objectives depends mainly on class attendance and active class participation.




The oral presentation of a topic must be selected by the students from a list of options provided by the teacher. Students will conduct the presentations in teams made up of 4 to 5 students each.


The oral presentation may consist of a lecture, a discussion led by the students, a debate among the members of the group or between the team and the rest of the class, a panel discussion, the production of a video, or any other form. The students are free to structure the presentation as they deem fit and to make use of any available resources. Students are strongly discouraged to use Powerpoint and to read from slides or notes. Students will be encouraged to choose a focus and an angle through which they can deal with the selected topic, i.e., they will be expected to select an aspect of the problem, preferably a debatable, unresolved or topical one, and analyze it through their own -rather than otherís- perspective. An essential component of the presentation is the preparation of an activity for the rest of the students. Additionally, students will have to select an article Ėpreferably one available electronically- a web site or another source of information for the rest of the students to read about the topic. The article should treat the topic comprehensively.


The oral presentation will last a maximum of 50 minutes, but the actual preparation of the presentation, including meetings with the professor, is conceived as a long process involving many hours throughout the term. During the preparation of the presentation, students are welcome to meet with the professor for consultation, suggestions and feedback on the evolution of the presentation. Students will have to present an outline of the presentation to the professor at least a week prior to the presentation. The outline will be discussed and the professor will provide feedback and further guidelines. Students are expected to present a revised version of the presentation. During the presentation, the professorís role will be limited to listening passively and to providing feedback after it is over. The rest of the class must actively participate in the presentation as an active audience.


Passing requirements and scale of evaluation: a positive response must be given to the following questions in order to approve the presentation. The criteria are formulated in the form of questions which the teacher will ask with respect to each presentation. All these criteria have the same value.


1.      Does the presentation deal with the assigned topic? Does the presentation show an understanding of topic dealt with? Does the presentation show a clear, coherent, and comprehensive treatment of the selected topic? Has the presentation followed the required formalities?

2.      Does the presentation integrate knowledge acquired throughout the course? Is there an effective and original integration of knowledge acquired throughout the course?

3.      Is there a critical and original personal assessment of the topic presented?

4.      Does the presentation include an activity for the audience? Is the activity original, entertaining, and formative? Has the activity engaged the active participation of the audience or have the students engaged the audience throughout the presentation? Does the activity permit students to apply the concepts, theories or other issues dealt with in the presentation?

5.      Have the students selected an adequate article, a web site or another source of information that comprehensively deals with the topic of the presentation for the other students?




The exams will be in the form of essays where students will have to apply the knowledge gained in the course rather than to recite the material. Students will discuss and propose questions for the exams based on the topics dealt with in the course. If the questions have a general consensus they will be part of a test bank. The exams will only contain questions that have been included in the test bank.


Passing requirements and scale of evaluation: The evaluation criteria will be given to the students once the test bank has been completed. The value of each evaluation criterion will also be given once the test bank for each exam is completed. In general, the evaluation criteria will be similar to the following one:


1.      Did you answer the question comprehensively? Are all relevant problems discussed? Was the answer readable and well organized? Did you make connections between issues discussed in your answer? Did your answer show an understanding of the topic dealt with?

2.      Did your answer discuss problems by reference to theoretical issues learned during the course? Did your answer show an understanding of the appropriate readings or class discussions? Did your answer show an understanding of the discussions and issues arisen in class? Did your answer make reference to class discussions, activities, and readings?

3.      Is there a critical personal assessment of the topic discussed? Does the personal assessment show some originality?





Students are expected to actively participate in every class with a positive attitude and to treat their classmates and instructor with respect. Their participation must make a positive impact on the class activities. Students are expected to be prepared for every class. Class attendance is a prerequisite to obtain the corresponding percentage of the grade under the class participation category. One of the class activities will include the writing of an essay.


Students are expected to create a portfolio to record all class assignments. Each portfolio will include, at least, the following materials: (i) a title page and a table of contents; (ii) all the class activities, including one minute papers, small group activities and proposals for the test banks made in class; and (iii) the essay. The deadline to hand in the portfolio is March 28, 2006 in class.



Passing requirements and scale of evaluation: a positive response must be given to the following questions in order to obtain the maximum grade within this evaluation component. The criteria are formulated in the form of questions which the teacher will ask with respect to each studentís participation and portfolio. All these criteria have the same value.


  1. Does the student actively participate in every class?
  2. Does the student show a positive attitude toward his or her classmates, the instructor and the activities?
  3. Is the student prepared for every class?
  4. Does the student volunteer to lead activities, debates or debriefs?
  5. Is the portfolio complete? Does it contain all activities made in class and all required components?
  6. Does the portfolio evidence the studentís active engagement with the activities? Are the responses to the activities creative, original and intellectually challenging?


Grading system


A+: 95-100†††† B+: 80-84†††††† C+: 65-69†††† D: 50-54

A:†† 90-94†††††† B:75-79††††††††† C:60-64††††† F: 0-49†††

A-:85-89†††††† B-: 70-74††††††† C-:55-59



q       International Justice

q       Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law

q       War crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace.

q       International social and political movements

q       Social movements and globalization.

q       Collective behavior, reformist and revolutionary social movements.

q       Main sociological theories of revolution and social movements.

q       International crimes

q       Women and international crimes

q       International crimes and minorities

q       International Criminal Courts

q       The Nuremberg Trials

q       Israel and the Middle East. Palestine

q       South American conflicts: Pinochet and international criminal justice. Colombia

q       Universal jurisdiction

q       Human security

q       The responsibility to protect

q       Cuba. Cuba and the United States

q       The Rwanda International Tribunal.

q       ICTY and ICTR.

q       Cold War and Space Race.

q       Terrorism. September 11, 2001. Human Rights consequences of Post-September 11 measures.




This is a tentative calendar of readings and class activities. If class discussions or class activities take longer than originally estimated because everybody gets involved, they will not be cut short to follow this schedule of readings. They will simply be put off for the following class or rescheduled. Additionally, the teacher may substitute new topics for some of the ones included in this schedule, particularly if most students show an interest for some topics not planned to be covered. Changes to this schedule, including changes of midterm dates, will be announced in class and posted on the course website.







January 3



January 10

Causes of international conflicts

War norms (jus ad bello vs. jus in bello)




January 17

International actors and international norms UN reform


January 24

Preparation for presentations


January 31


Nuremberg trials


International responsibility.


February 7

International Criminal Court.

International responsibility. Pinochet


February 14

International Humanitarian interventions and human security. The responsibility to protect.


February 28





March 7

Presentation: South American conflicts

Presentation: Middle East


March 14

Presentation: Irak

Presentation: September 11, 2001. The London Bombings.


March 21

Presentation: Cuba and the US

Presentation: Russia/The Cold War/Chechnya


March 28

Presentation: Sierra Leone




April 4






Julian Hermida et. al., Compilation of texts and sources on international justice.

The textbook for the course will be the result of a collective enterprise between the professor and the students, which will be completed over the course.

As part of the presentations, students will have to select an article, a chapter of a book, a web site or another source of information for the rest of the students to read about the topic presented. The article should treat the topic comprehensively. The article will be photocopied (with due regard to the respective copyrights) and included in each studentís textbook or uploaded (with due regard to the respective copyrights) to the website.




A web site for the course is available at Students will be able to consult the course outline, test banks, class notes, and other useful information.

All important announcements, such as presentation dates, changes to exam dates, reading assignments, and deadlines for the portfolio, are given in class and will not appear on the web site.




None of the activities imply interviewing or interacting with human beings outside the classroom. However, if students want to interview or interact with people for any of these activities please contact the teacher well in advance to comply with ethics requirements.




In these large classes, it is sometimes difficult to get to know each and every one of my students. So, I would like to meet personally with as many of you as possible during the term. Please come see me during my office hours. I am available not only for class help but also for other academic-related issues, such as writing letters of reference or helping with prospective graduate studies. I want to be available to answer questions for all students. So, in addition to regular office hours and seeing me by appointment, I will every so often end class early, and invite students who have questions to meet with me right then and there. Also note that if access to the second floor is barred after 5 PM, please call me from downstairs and I will go down and let you in.




Dalhousie University now subscribes to, a computer based service which checks for originality in submitted papers. Any paper submitted by a student at Dalhousie University may be checked for originality to confirm that the student has not plagiarized from other sources. Plagiarism is considered a serious academic offence which may lead to loss of credit, suspension or expulsion from the University, or even the revocation of a degree. It is essential that there be correct attribution of authorities from which facts and opinions have been derived. At Dalhousie there are University Regulations which deal with plagiarism and, prior to submitting any paper in a course, students should read the Policy on Intellectual Honesty contained in the Calendar or on the Dalhousie web site at: - 12.

The Senate has affirmed the right of any instructor to require that student papers be submitted in both written and computer readable format, and to submit any paper to a check such as that performed by As a student in this class, you are to keep an electronic copy of any paper you submit, and the course instructor may require you to submit that electronic copy on demand. Copies of student papers checked by this process will be retained by




There are various university polices and procedures regarding university student disability issues. Student Accessibility Services handles the process of identifying students with disabilities, the types of accommodations appropriate for each student, and helps provide those accommodations. Students with disabilities should register as quickly as possible at Student Accessibility Services if they want to receive academic accommodations.To do so, students may phone 494-2836, e-mail <>, or drop in at the Killam, G28. For more information, consult the SAS website at