• Class Number 9702
  • Term Code 2960
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Benjamin Zala
    • Dr Benjamin Zala
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/07/2019
  • Class End Date 25/10/2019
  • Census Date 31/08/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 29/07/2019
SELT Survey Results

Numerous nuclear threats and challenges play out in the Asia-Pacific region. The region includes six of the nine nuclear-armed states and is a key site for 'extended nuclear deterrence' guarantees; it includes three of the most 'latent'  nuclear states in the world; it is at the forefront of the so-called civilian nuclear 'renaissance'; it is also on the front line of emerging debates about the link between advanced conventional weapons (missile defence, anti-satellite weapons etc.) and nuclear balances; and it is also a central focus for those concerned with arms control and disarmament. In addition to presenting the fundamental conceptual approaches to understanding the politics of nuclear issues in the region, this course examines how these and other real-world policy challenges are playing out against the backdrop of a region in the midst of a major power transition.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the key concepts, historical evolution and likely future trajectory of nuclear proliferation, disarmament and deterrence issues in the Asia-Pacific;
  2. Possess a critical understanding of the key regional and systemic drivers of nuclear behaviour, military and civilian, in the Asia Pacific;
  3. Understand different perspectives from across the region on key strategic and ethical debates relating to nuclear weapons;
  4. Develop the capacity to present strong arguments in their written and oral work and to link relevant concepts to actual practice skills (as developed through written assessments, in-class discussions and tutorial-based activities).

Research-Led Teaching

Dr Ben Zala is a lecturer in the Department of International Relations, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University and has previously held positions at the University of Leicester, the Oxford Research Group, and Chatham House. His research has appeared in journals such as The Nonproliferation Review, The Review of International Studies, The Journal of Global Security Studies, and The Pacific Review. He earned his PhD from the University of Birmingham, UK and undergraduate degree from La Trobe University, Australia. In 2018-19 he was a Stanton Nuclear Security Junior Faculty Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Asian Nuclear Politics: History and Major Concepts
2 The Nuclear Superpowers in Asia (US and Russia)
3 China’s Nuclear Politics
4 South Asian Nuclear Politics
5 The North Korean Nuclear Programme
6 Nuclear Ambiguity in Asia: Latency and Secret Programmes Mid-term quiz held in class (during the lecture)
8 University teaching break
9 The Nuclear Balance and Strategic Technology in Asia
10 Nuclear Arms Control and Disarmament in Asia Essay due (Monday 30 September 11:55pm)
11 Nuclear Power, Security & Counter-Terrorism in the Asian Century
12 Australia's Nuclear Dilemma: Weapons, Power and Security
13 The Future of Asia's Nuclear Order: Wrap-Up & Review for Final Examination

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Tutorial participation - 10% 10 % 22/07/2019 28/11/2019 1,2,3,4
Mid-term quiz - 10% 10 % 27/08/2019 16/09/2019 1
Essay - 40% 40 % 30/09/2019 28/11/2019 4
Exam - 40% 40 % 01/11/2019 28/11/2019 4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 22/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Tutorial participation - 10%

Students will be asked to participate effectively in the tutorial in which they are enrolled. They will be expected to participate in a discussion on required reading assigned and on the lecture delivered during the prior week. While attendance is not assessed as part of the tutorial participation component, attending one’s assigned tutorial regularly enhances a student’s chance to score a higher mark for this particular assessment and will also facilitate a student’s ability to keep up with key readings and to discuss them meaningfully in a tutorial setting. It is expected that students will help facilitate the development of a common pool of knowledge about the key issues to be examined during the semester.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 27/08/2019
Return of Assessment: 16/09/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1

Mid-term quiz - 10%

The quiz will be administered at the lecture section prior to the semester break (Tuesday 27 Aug) during the second hour of the lecture period. Twenty multiple choice questions will be asked on key points covered in the first five lectures and required reading material assigned in conjunction with those lectures. Each multiple choice question will contain four possible answers of which only one answer is correct. This assessment is designed to measure how well students are keeping up with key concepts and material halfway through the course. All students will be required to attend this lecture and take the quiz. The Quiz will be closed book (no materials permitted). All electronic devices must be switched off and placed in the student’s bag (or handed to the convener/tutor) for the duration of the Quiz. Students must not remove the exam paper from the room and all exam papers must be returned to the convener/tutor before or at the completion of the quiz.  

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 30/09/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 4

Essay - 40%

Essay length: 2,000 words (not including the bibliography)

Due date: Monday 30 September 2019 (11:55pm)

Submission: Via Wattle (through Turnitin)

All students will write a 2,000 word essay on ONE of the following topics:

1.     As the only state to have used a nuclear weapon in war, does the United States have a special responsibility for ensuring that nuclear weapons are never used in Asia again?

2.     In what ways does the US-Russian strategic nuclear relationship shape the nuclear politics of the Asia-Pacific region?

3.     Critically analyse China’s position in the global nuclear order. Does it play a constructive/supportive or a spoiler/challenger role in the nuclear order today?

4.     What are the most important lessons from the history of crises between India and Pakistan for keeping South Asia free from nuclear war?

5.     Evaluate the claim that India’s decision to become a nuclear-armed state had more to do with prestige concerns than security concerns.

6.     How have the geopolitics of Northeast Asia shaped the development of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme over the years?

7.     What are the most important factors that have prevented Asian states such as Japan and South Korea from developing their own nuclear weapons?

8.     US extended deterrence commitments arose and were configured to meet the needs of the Cold War and are no longer suited to maintaining peace. Discuss.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 01/11/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 4

Exam - 40%

The final exam will be administered centrally by the university’s Examinations Office. The exam will be two hours in length. All students will answer the first question which will be designed for them to offer a broad based assessment of nuclear politics in Asia. Students can then choose to answer either (not both) Question 2 or Question 3 which will be structured to address more country-specific or issue-specific aspects of Asian nuclear politics. The test will be conducted in a normal closed book final examination environment. The exam will be held sometime during the semester two examinations period (31 Oct - 16 Nov 2019).

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Benjamin Zala
02 6125 3207

Research Interests

Dr Benjamin Zala

Dr Benjamin Zala

Research Interests

Dr Benjamin Zala

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions