Unit rationale, description and aim
Understanding how major international events occur and shape our lives is central to the study and practice of international relations.
This unit provides a broad-ranging introduction to the study of the discipline of international relations in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It concentrates initially on the major twentieth-century events (the World Wars, the nuclear age and Cold War); ideas (realism, liberalism, constructivism, and cosmopolitanism); and strategic practices (balance of power, collective security, and deterrence) that have shaped the traditional international relations agenda. The unit then engages the new agenda of the post-Cold War period, including the new international political economy of the globalisation era, the new wars, the War on Terror following 9/11, the subsequent conflicts in the Middle East, climate change, the global financial crisis, the rise of the Asian Century, and the re-emergence authoritarian powers. The unit concludes with a discussion of Australia’s role in a changing world.
Overall, the aim of this unit is to provide students with a foundational understanding of key events, theories, and developments in global politics.
To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.
Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the Attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.
Explore the graduate capabilities.
|Learning Outcome Number||Learning Outcome Description|
|LO1||Describe the nature and significance of global politics and governance and the contexts in which they operate|
|LO2||Critically discuss diverse political perspectives in international relations, particularly with respect to marginalised, disadvantaged, and vulnerable peoples and communities|
|LO3||Examine ethical solutions to global issues through evidence-based argument and evaluation of secondary sources|
|LO4||Analyse interests, ideas, institutions and political behaviour through applying concepts and theories used in the study of international relations|
Topics will include:
- The key wars of the 20th and 21st century (World Wars, Cold War, War on Terror)
- The mainstream and critical theoretical frameworks of International Relations (Realism, Liberalism, Neo-Realism, Neo-Liberalism, Constructivism, Post-Structuralism, Feminism).
- Human rights and humanitarian intervention
- Terrorism and new wars
- Climate change
- Global Financial Crisis
- Gender and Sexuality in Global Politics
- Australian foreign policy
Learning and teaching strategy and rationale
This unit engages students in active learning activities, such as reading, writing, discussion and problem-solving to promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation of class content. Students encounter ideas through lectures and discuss and assimilate material through tutorial classes. Students will also act collaboratively on tutorial activities. Collaborative learning is an important component of active learning and sits within a community of inquiry theoretical framework. It provides opportunities for a group of individuals to collaborate in purposeful critical discourse and reflection to construct personal meaning and mutual understanding.
The unit will consist of face-to-face and online teaching using lectures and tutorials or equivalent.
This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester.
Assessment strategy and rationale
The assessment tasks for this unit have been designed to contribute to high-quality student learning by both helping students learn (assessment for learning), and by measuring explicit evidence of their learning (assessment of learning). Assessments have been developed to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. These have been designed so that they use a variety of tasks to measure the different learning outcomes at a level suitable for first-year study in politics and international relations.
The descriptive task enables students to describe the nature and significance of international politics and governance and the contexts in which they operate and to critically discuss diverse political perspectives in international relations, particularly with respect to marginalised, disadvantaged, and vulnerable peoples and communities.
The written analytical task (analysing international political problems) allows students to gather and analyse ethical solutions to international political problems through evidence-based argument and evaluation of secondary sources.
The final take-home exam will give students the opportunity to apply concepts and theories used in the study of international relations to the analysis of interests, ideas, institutions and political behaviour in a way that informs students’ own practices of engaged citizenship.
In order to pass this unit, you are required to achieve a final grade of 50% or better as an aggregate of all points from assessment tasks completed in this unit, and achieve the learning outcomes for the unit at a pass level.
The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for you to demonstrate your achievement of each learning outcome.
Overview of assessments
|Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment Tasks||Weighting||Learning Outcomes|
Analytical Task – In Tutorial Debate
Students are required to demonstrate an understanding of the key elements of
international relations by comparing and contrasting the key theories in International
Assessment Task 2
Students are required to gather and analyse ethical solutions to international political problems through evidence-based arguments and evaluation of secondary sources.
Assessment Task 3
Students will demonstrate knowledge of International Relations Theories, the major phases of International Relations, and the debates that exist surrounding topics covered over the 12 weeks of the unit.
Representative texts and references
Brooks, T. (Ed.). (2020). The Oxford Handbook of Global Justice. Oxford University Press, USA.
Burke, A., Devetak, R. and George, J. (Eds.). (2017). An Introduction to International Relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Buzan, B., Acharya, A. (2021). Re-imagining International Relations: World Orders in the Thought and Practice of Indian, Chinese, and Islamic Civilizations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Falkner, R. (2021). Environmentalism and Global International Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hirst, A., de Merich, D., Hoover, J. and Roccu, R. (2023). Global Politics: Myths and Mysteries. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hurd, I. (2018). International Organizations: Politics, Law, Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kavalski, E. (2015). Encounters with World Relations: An Introduction to International Affairs. Farnham: Ashgate.
Baylis, J., Owens, P. and Smith, S. (Eds.). (2020) The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations. 8th ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Reus-Smit, C. and Snidal, D. (Eds.). (2008). The Oxford Handbook of International Relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Shambaugh, D. (Ed.). (2022). International Relations of Asia. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
Tickner, A. B., & Smith, K. (Eds.). (2020). International Relations from the Global South: Worlds of Difference. London: Routledge.