• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Areas of interest Political Sciences
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

The course explores the concept and form of empire through an engagement with recent European history and various normative theories regarding the effects, operations and functioning of empire. This course is broken up into three sections.  The first takes a narrative historical perspective on European colonial history, and explores different classical theories of imperialism. The second explores postcolonial theory as a method of analysing European colonial history and culture and examines the different kinds of analytical tools that might be applied to the study of empire.  In the final section of the course, we look at contemporary debates around the US as a figure of empire, Globalisation as a medium of empire in the work of Hardt and Negri and we examine what might be at stake in these debates, (why empire, why now?). Finally, we explore what empire as a political form or category of analysis contributes to our understanding of the world.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

By the end of this course students should have achieved the following:

  • Assess the extent to  which empire as a category of analysis is adequate to describing contemporary global politics and North/South relations;
  • Compare and assess different theoretical and normative perspectives on empire;
  • Appreciate the potential contribution of postcolonial theory to political theory generally and a normative understanding of empire;
  • Have developed some capacity to apply theoretical analysis to empirical/historical/cultural sources.

Indicative Assessment

2500 word research essay: 50%

Examination: 40%

Presentation/Participation: 10%

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The course will be delivered through two hours of lectures and one hour of face-to-face tutorials a week.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed12 units of 1000 level POLS courses; or permission of the convenor





Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1164
2014 $2478
2013 $2472
2012 $2472
2011 $2424
2010 $2358
2009 $2178
2008 $2178
2007 $2178
2006 $2178
2005 $2178
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $2574
2014 $3246
2013 $3240
2012 $3240
2011 $3240
2010 $3240
2009 $3090
2008 $3090
2007 $3090
2006 $3090
2005 $3090
2004 $2916
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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