• 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

Political theory is marked by its diversity and contested nature. In this course we briefly examine the development of contemporary political theory and then focus on a number of challenging recent topics. The motivating premise is that to understand the diversity and heterogeneity of contemporary political thought it is necessary to have a view of its varied origins: Renaissance humanism, Catholic and Protestant theology, and the Scottish Enlightenment, amongst others. With this history in view we can better understand and engage with the features of contemporary theory, including the aspirations of analytical philosophy, the gloom of Frankfurt School dialectics, and the chic of French post-structuralism.

Learning Outcomes

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

After successful completion of this course, students should be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of major political ideas and debates.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of some of the major political thinkers in western political thought, past and present.
  3. Develop written arguments using political ideas.
  4. Acquire the capacity to intervene in tutorial debates based on a sound knowledge of the set texts.

Indicative Assessment

Essay (3000 words, 45%, LOs 1, 2, 3); exam (3 hours, 45%, LOs 1, 2, 3), and tutorial work (10%, LO 4).

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.


Students will be expected to spend an average of seven hours per week in addition to three contact hours (two hours of lectures, one hour tutorial) in order to prepare for tutorials, conduct research and write the written assignments as well as to prepare for the final examination. Lectures will be recorded.  Notes will be available on the web.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 units of 1000 level POLS OR PHIL courses; or permission of the convenor

Prescribed Texts

Readings will be provided.

Preliminary Reading

Kymlicka, W., Contemporary Political Philosophy, (Oxford)

Assumed Knowledge

It is recommended that students first take POLS 2119 Ideas in Politics.




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. Tuition fees are indexed annually. 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
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3576
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.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9461 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person N/A

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