• Offered by Department of International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject International Relations
  • Areas of interest International Relations
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings

This course examines the evolution of the contemporary international system through exploring how relationships of power have evolved and changed as the modern international system emerged from a series of regional systems. It uses the concept of empire to explore the changing nature of order, power and of power relationships. This allows us to view international relations as a thick set of social, political, cultural and military relations, offering a range of perspectives that are often obscured by focusing simply on the international system as simply one of sovereign states. The course explores the relationship between empire and the evolution of concepts such as region, sovereignty and hegemony. It further examines the relationship between empire and conflict, focusing in particular on the twentieth century. The course also considers the putative disappearance and resurgence of empire in this period, allowing us to reflect in conclusion on the utility of the concept in the contemporary world politics.

Learning Outcomes

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



Students will have developed a historical perspective on the processes surrounding the evolution of the contemporary international political system. They will be able to develop diverse and informed opinions on the role of various forms of power in how the world has reached its current state. They will also have been made aware of the richness of the political system and how, in addition to states, other actors and institutions participate in its creation and maintenance. In particular, by the end of the course, students will have new awareness of the role of empires and hegemons in forming the structures and processes of international politics.

Other Information

Delivery Mode:

The course is conducted through seminars with an emphasis on interactive teaching aimed at engaging all students in active participation.

Indicative Assessment

5000 - 6000 words of written assessment, comprising essays, seminar papers and an examination, as deemed appropriate by lecturer.

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.




Ten hours per week: two for seminar attendance, and eight for reading and writing. Please note this is a general guide, averaged over the semester and the final hours ultimately depend on the individual's ability in reading and writing.

Preliminary Reading





Reading required before the course begins.


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
2017 $3420
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4878
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
9598 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person N/A

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