Global Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in the Modern Era - HIST6101

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


The term 'guerrilla' tends to evoke twentieth-century connotations. ‘People’s war’, Mao and Che Guevara all conjure up notions of revolutionary warfare, of ‘new’ warfare far removed from the supposedly state-centric armies and strategies of the nineteenth century. But irregular warfare also featured strongly in the nineteenth century. This module studies this type of warfare across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as a whole, mixing well-known theatres and campaigns with less well-known ones. It explores the links between insurgencies and nationalism, revolution and counter-revolution, and studies the extent to which we can identify evolving patterns between reactive and progressive insurgency, along with learning curves and emulation in counter-insurgency. British and French experiences will be studied, along with American Spanish, Latin American, Chinese and African.


Contact hours

This module will be taught through one 1-hour lecture and one 2-hour seminar each week, with the exception of Enhancement Week and one week that will be dedicated to coursework feedback.

Method of assessment

This module will be assessed by:

- Seminar Presentation (10 minutes) - 10%
- Exam Preparation Commentary (1000 words) - 10%
- Essay 1 (2500 words) - 20%
- Essay 2 (2500 words) - 20%
- Examination in the Summer term (2 hours) - 40%

Indicative reading

Aurélie Basha, 'I Made Mistakes': Robert McNamara's Vietnam War Policy (Cambridge, 2019)
Ian Beckett, Modern Insurgencies and Counter-insurgencies (Abingdon, 2001)
Yingcong Dai, White Lotus War (University of Washington press, 2019)
Mario Draper, The Belgian Army and Society (Basingstoke, 2018)
Ben Fallaw and Terry Rugeley, Forced Marches: Soldiers and Military Caciques in Modern Mexico (University of Arizona Press, 2012)
Beatrice Heuser (ed.), Small Wars and Insurgencies in Theory and Practice, 1500-1850 (Routledge: Abingdon, 2015)
Beatrice Heuser, The Evolution of Strategy (2010)
Walter Laqueur, Guerrilla Warfare (1977)
Mark Lawrence, Spain’s First Carlist War, 1833-1840 (Basingstoke, 2014)
Giacomo Macola, The Gun in Africa (Ohio, 2016)
Thomas A Marks and Paul B Rich, 'Back to the Future: People’s War in the twenty-first century’, Small Wars and Insurgencies, Vol. 28, Iss. 3, 2017.
Douglas Porch, Counterinsurgency : Exposing the Myths of the New Way of War (Cambridge, 2013)
Natalia Sobrevilla, The Caudillo of the Andes (Cambndge, 2011)
Mao Tse-Tung, On Guerrilla Warfare (2015)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes of this module are that, on completion of this module, students will be able to:

- Demonstrate an advanced understanding of insurgency and counter-insurgency from a global perspective.
- Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of advanced concepts in the conceptual and case study-specific historiography concerning insurgency and counter-insurgency.
- Demonstrate an advanced capability to understand the nature and impact of irregular warfare militarily, socially, politically and culturally.

The intended subject specific learning outcomes of this module are that, on completion of this module, students will be able to:

- Work independently to research and develop their understanding of questions and issues.
- Demonstrate an advanced ability to provide persuasive written and verbal presentations, including the use of a range of primary and secondary source materials and historiographical content.
- Research and integrate secondary sources into written and verbal assessments in a sophisticated manner.
- More fully demonstrate and apply their knowledge and skills to the production of a range of different outputs, including both written and oral arguments.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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