• Offered by Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Middle Eastern & Central Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Arab and Islamic Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Kirill Nourzhanov
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2018
    See Future Offerings

 

Geopolitics, or the study of international relations from a geographical perspective, has a venerable tradition as an academic discipline going back to the late-19th century. It has also informed strategic thinking of great powers seeking territorial expansion or global influence. The Eurasian heartland, and especially its southern fringe comprising Central Asia, has continuously been at the centre of the interpretation of the whole world situation from a spatial viewpoint.

 

This course will discuss the roots of contemporary geopolitical thought, focusing on the British, continental European, American, and Russian contributions. It will examine practical manifestations of geopolitics during World War II and the Cold War before moving to an analysis of contemporary conflicts in Eurasia's southern Muslim belt through the prism of great power rivalry involving China, Russia, the USA, and other regional actors.

 

The course will conclude with a survey of modern critical approaches within the discipline of geopolitics, which go beyond the Realist paradigm in explaining conflictual and associative patterns of behaviour of territorial states in the region.

Seminar guide:

Seminar 1

Introduction: What is geopolitics? The centrality of Central Asia in geographic and historical terms.

Seminar 2

Classics of continental and British geopolitics: Ratzel, Mackinder, Haushofer and French geopolitique. Geographical pivot of history. Heartland. Lebensraum.

Seminar 3

Alternative conceptualizations of Eurasian geopolitics: sea power, Rimlands, shatterbelts, ‘clash of civilisations' theory.

Seminar 4

Russian geopolitical thinking: from Slavophiles to Eurasianists.

Seminar 5

Cold War through the prism of geopolitics. What did Kennan actually say? Containment as a modification of the Rimland thesis. The importance of the Southern Tier to the US geopolitical objectives.

Seminar 6

Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Neo-Cons: Re-Emergence of the Southern Tier in the US foreign policy. Containment of Russia, China, and Iran in Central Asia. Geopolitics of hydrocarbon resources.

Seminar 7

Modern Russian Eurasianism: imperialism, defensive Realpolitik, and civilizing mission.

Seminar 8

China, Turkey, and Iran: competing visions of Central Asia.

Seminar 9

The ‘Eurasian Balkans' and a new ‘Great Game'.

Seminar 10

Traditional modalities of geopolitical competition: alliance-making, proxy wars, and secessionism.

Seminar 11

Soft power in Eurasia's soft underbelly: politics of aid, export of democracy, and the role of Islam.

Seminar 12

Post-modern geopolitics? Did Mackinder get it wrong, after all?

Seminar 13

Towards a cooperative security environment in Central Asia: latest trends and developments.

Indicative Assessment

One 5,000 word essay (60%)

One 3 hour exam (40%)

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.

Workload

130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 24 hours of seminars; and b) 106 hours of online activities, practice exercises, readings and assessment.

Requisite and Incompatibility

Incompatible with MEAS4114

Preliminary Reading

Geoffrey Parker. Geopolitics: Past, Present and Future. London: 1998.

Fees

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:
1
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.

Units EFTSL
6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $5160
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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
9216 23 Jul 2018 30 Jul 2018 31 Aug 2018 26 Oct 2018 In Person N/A

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