• Offered by Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Diplomacy
  • Academic career Postgraduate
  • Course convener
    • Dr Pauline Kerr
  • Mode of delivery Online
  • Offered in Second Semester 2019
    See Future Offerings
Diplomacy: from cuneiform clay to digital tablets (DIPL8009)

The origins of diplomacy can be traced back to at least 3,000 years ago, when, in ancient Mesopotamia (now modern Iraq), sovereigns (usually kings and occasionally queens) of political units (usually tribes or city-states) sought recognition and communication with each other through messengers carrying clay tablets in cuneiform script over vast distances.

These same processes are the core of contemporary diplomacy. But much has changed. The revolution in communications technology provides political units (now states and organisations) and global citizens with real-time digital, verbal and visual connections. How, why and what the implications of such changes are for future theories and practices of diplomacy is puzzling and a matter of much debate.

By taking the longue durée, the long view, and analysing continuities and changes in the forms and functions of diplomacy from its origins to present times, this course aims to engage you in the debate about diplomacy and equip you with ideas that help you develop your own arguments about the theoretical and practical directions that will sustain diplomacy in the digital age, at a time when managing national and global issues cooperatively has never been more critical.

Learning Outcomes

1. Analyse early practices of diplomacy and compare and contrast them with present practices
2. Understand key concepts, discuss counterfactuals, and evaluate changes and continuities in diplomatic structures, processes and practices from early to contemporary times and explain why, where possible, such changes and continuities take place
3. Critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary diplomatic practice and suggest strategies for better practice
4. Analyse the conceptual and theoretical evolutions of diplomacy in order to explain whether, on the one hand, diplomacy can be theorised or whether, on the other hand, as some practitioners suggest, theories of diplomacy are either too difficult to establish or are, in any case, of little practical value
5. Analyse and critically evaluate the debate about the nature of contemporary diplomacy and whether or not the proposition that it can be understood as ‘complex diplomacy’ is apt.

Indicative Assessment

1. Podcast – 10%

2. Online discussion forum – 10%

3. Minute papers – 20%

4. Presentation – 20%

5. Written assignment – 40%

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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:
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.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $5460
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings and Dates

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery
9839 22 Jul 2019 29 Jul 2019 31 Aug 2019 25 Oct 2019 Online

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