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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PIED1551 Power and Conflict - an Introduction

20 creditsClass Size: 112

Module manager: Dr Lisa Thorley

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

From relations within the family to violence on the battlefield; from the strength of the strongest army to the power of advertising, discourse and language; from the use of music and theatre to subvert to the role of office politics to gender and race relations, power and conflict underlies all social, economic and political interactions, relations, institutions and processes. This module provides a unique insight into the way power and conflict is studied, researched and understood from a range of disciplines. Through material provided by researchers in history, sociology, performance, geography, media, politics and cultural studies, you will explore historical and cutting-edge case studies, delivered through a flexible, digital format, and learn about what makes power and conflict such a key area of concern in the world today.The five topic areas relate to the subthemes of the Power and Conflict Discovery Theme, providing a taster of what you can study in your future Discovery journey. The module aims to give you the knowledge, confidence and skills to select modules that interest you from a range of disciplines, and to broaden your learning experience at the University of Leeds. As you move through the module, you will learn from experts from around the University who will provide you with insights on how they apply the concepts of power and conflict in their research, and how relations, processes and structures of power and conflict shape the world we live in. This module is delivered through a combination of small group teaching in the classroom and digital content. So if you share an enthusiasm for cutting-edge, case study-based learning in an exciting inter-disciplinary environment then this module is for you.


This discovery module provides students with a foundational introduction to various aspects of power and conflict and how it is taught in different disciplines. It is organised around the five key sub-themes of this discovery theme (see below). The module combines historical and contextual analysis with theoretical discussion, making extensive use of case studies.
Key questions addressed include: how do different disciplines use differing concepts and theories to understand the ways in which power and conflict underpin the world we live in? How do different institutions, bodies, groups and organisations shape, instigate or prevent unequal power relations from escalating into conflict? And how do different forms of communication – from music and art to written material and protest – justify or critique; incite or prevent; and represent or misrepresent power and conflict in all spheres of life?

Learning outcomes
This module will provide you with an introduction to the ways in which different disciplines work with the ideas of power and conflict when engaging with issues and case studies from different parts of the world. Organised around five key themes, the module is designed to appeal to students from all backgrounds. The primary method of course delivery is digital, as such you will be responsible for your own progression through the course materials, which will be supported by face-to-face seminars to ensure you are progressing in line with the module timetable, and which will provide opportunities for discussion and feedback on your comprehension of and responses to the course material.
On completion of this module, you will have demonstrated your ability in the following areas:
• Understanding of the core concepts of power and conflict, from different disciplinary perspectives
• Oral and written expression of complex and nuanced ideas
• Analysis of primary and secondary sources in relation to the five themes
• Relating conceptual thinking to case study materials
• Research skills
• Participation in class discussions
• Self directed learning


The module is made up of five sub-themes of two weeks each, with an accompanying introduction/conclusion:
a) Introduction to the module, offering a brief summary and overview.
b) Governmental and Institutional Power and Conflict includes the scope of states’ capacity to assert power, and to drive and respond to conflict; the relationship between the individual and organisational power, and how people experience this power in their daily lives.
c) Social and Societal Power and Conflict explores the importance of social factors such as race, class, gender, disability, etc. in shaping power and inequalities, and the conflicts that arise out of these.
d) Popular Cultural and Performative Power and Conflict explores both how the body is used to perform and resist power, and how popular culture represents power and conflict, using examples from music, performance and print.
e) Personal and Interpersonal explores the centrality of relationships for understanding how power operates at different scales, from the state and institutions, to the individual and marginalised groups.
f) Theories of Power and Conflict – explores the main theories of power to help explain why conflict occurs and how it can be supressed.
The module will be assessed by :

Written Presentation

Provide an answer to a minimum of one of the week’s seminar questions- You are required to produce a presentation of 6-8 annotated slides. A screen shot will be accompanied by 75-100 words for each slide. Please see Minvera for instructions.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning111.0011.00
Private study hours177.00
Total Contact hours23.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

The digital material is divided up into 11 weeks worth of material for you to study in your own time. This includes videos, short texts and longer academic articles, research tasks, quizzes, reflective tasks and so on. These materials are also supported by longer reading lists to help you read in more depth into individual topics. You are expected to complete the core digital material before coming to class, and read at least one article from the reading list.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
PresentationWritten Presentation and Script (6-8 Slides)100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The students will produce group presentations that will normally be presented during the seminars. In advance, they will be directed to online resources to help them think about their skills, and after the presentation they will be given formative feedback – including some open discussion about the presentation’s strengths and limitations. Then, during the assessment period, they will submit the screen shots with their own ’script’ for each slide (i.e. written separately, not a group text), for which they will receive an individual mark.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2021 11:55:10


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