• Class Number 2754
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 12 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Mathew Davies
    • Dr Mathew Davies
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

This course surveys the principal theoretical perspectives on international relations that have emerged in the 20th Century in the western tradition. The course explores the relevance of these theories  to understanding contemporary issues in world politics. It considers why we should theorise about international relations, asks what international relations is as an academic pursuit, reviews the various meanings of theory, and introduces the major theoretical questions and perspectives that have occupied students of international affairs. The course considers both the internal logic of theoretical development (the role of bureaucracy, the shifting considerations of what it means to engage in social scientific research) and the external dynamics (real world events, public demands on intellectuals) to consider both contextual and contemporary appreciation of 20/21st century western thought about international relations.

Learning Outcomes

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

This course is designed to give students:
  1. An appreciation of the centrality of theorizing to all thinking about international relations.
  2. An understanding of the principal theoretical perspectives that have been developed to understand international relations and global politics, and an appreciation of how individual theories have evolved in relation to one another and within particular social and historical contexts.
  3. An ability to engage with theories critically and reflectively.
  4. The ability to relate theories to contemporary events
  5. An awareness of the chronology of theoretical work and key claims of leading theorists
  6. An ability to reason theoretically through written and spoken communication.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

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 Art, tragedy and theory
2 Liberal thought
3 Christian and political realism
4 Neorealism
5 Neoliberalism
6 English School
7 Critical Theories
8 Feminism
9 Constructivism
10 Norm scholarship
11 Emotions
12 Ritualism and symbols

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Short Essay 20 % 18/03/2019 08/04/2019 3,6
Mid Course Review. 15 % 29/04/2019 20/05/2019 1,2,4,5,6
Essay 35 % 20/05/2019 05/06/2019 1,3,6
Multiple Choice Assessment 10 % 27/05/2019 05/06/2019 2,5
Exam 20 % 06/06/2019 04/07/2019 1,2,3,4,5,6

* 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 Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

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: 20 %
Due Date: 18/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 08/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 3,6

Short Essay

Item One: Essay 1. 18th March at 11.55pm. 20% 2,000 words. 

Critically assess the following statement.

EH Carr would have found the Six Points of Hans Morgenthau far too realist for his liking. 

Assessment Task 2

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 29/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 20/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5,6

Mid Course Review.

Item Two. Mid-Course Review. 29 April at 11.55pm 15% 3 hours (estimate)

The mid-course review will focus the theories discussed in seminars 2-6 (and as revised in AGS 3). As such it provides a ‘capstone’ for the first part of the course and a useful revision exercise as you move into the second part. 

The review is structured as follows. On 24 April I will release the questions on wattle. You must answer three of the six questions set. 

Answers should be written as if in an exam situation. In other words, I strongly recommend you sit down at your computer and write out the answer, 1 hour on each, as if you were in the exam room writing by hand. 

No references are required in the mid course review, but it never hurts to drop a few names if you can.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 20/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 05/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,6


Item three: Essay 2. 20 May at 11.55pm 4,000 words. 35% 

Critically assess one of these statements:

The moral agonies of christian realism are ultimately a more accurate, if less appealing, account of the world than the comforting messages of liberalism. 

In refusing to analyse human nature as a key driver of state behaviour, Neorealism may be more scientific, but it is far less useful, than classical realism.

The debate between neorealism and neoliberalism was the last time scientific progress was the key aim of theoretical debate. 

In trying to offer a middle way to study international relations the English School sacrifice theoretical rigour for explanatory power. 

For all its ability to expose the limitations of rational choice theorising, critical theories were unable to replace that mainstream as they were never able to offer concrete answers to key questions of the discipline. 

Gendered accounts of international relations reveal the paucity of ‘mainstream’ debates whilst offering no substantive way to address them.

Constructivism sacrifices an ethical vision for world politics in favour of empirical accuracy.

Non-western theories have revealed not only the limits, but the fundamental inadequacy, of the western theoretical tradition. 

As the study of norms has advanced in the 21st century, so it has become harder and harder to explain the phenomenon of international order. 

You can design your own question if you wish, but must get explicit written agreement from me before you embark on this by March 28.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 27/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 05/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2,5

Multiple Choice Assessment

Assessment Task 5

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 06/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6


tem Five. Exam 20% (date TBC) Three Hours. 

The exam consists of one question which all students must answer. The question is. 

Critically assess the following statement: The study of International Relations Theory is better today than it has ever been in the past. 

No references are required in the exam, but it never hurts to drop a few names if you can.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community 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 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 University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

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.

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

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. 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 Mathew Davies

Research Interests

Dr Mathew Davies

Thursday 15:00 17:00
Dr Mathew Davies

Research Interests

Dr Mathew Davies

Thursday 15:00 17:00

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