• Class Number 9109
  • Term Code 2960
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Benjamin Zala
    • Dr Benjamin Zala
    • Dr Luke Glanville
  • 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
    • Alana Moore
SELT Survey Results

This course explores the fundamental characteristics of the contemporary international system through the study of its historical evolution. It will take a thematic approach to examining how the ideas, actors, and institutions that have defined the international system in the modern period arose, evolved, and sometimes disappeared over time. It will consider the forces that have shaped human interaction across political and geographic boundaries over the past five centuries and analyse their legacies for contemporary international relations.

Learning Outcomes

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

At the end of the course, students will be able to:1. Critically understand the evolution of the international system across the past five centuries.
2. Appraise the legacies of this history for contemporary international relations.
3. Develop skills in writing and speaking to different audiences on the past, present, and potential futures of the international system.
4. Demonstrate a keen understanding of the role of various forms of power in how the modern world reached its current state.

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 Seminar 1 - 22/07/2019: Introduction: Studying International Relations, Using History
2 Seminar 2 - 29/07/2019: The Conquest of the New World
3 Seminar 3 - 05/08/2019: Westphalia and All That
4 Seminar 4 - 12/08/2019: Rights and Revolutions
5 Seminar 5 - 19/08/2019: Meanwhile, beyond Europe...
6 Seminar 6 - 26/08/2019: Great Powers from Vienna to Versailles
7 Seminar 7 - 16/09/2019: Civilization and Colonialism
8 Seminar 8 - 23/09/2019: The Post-1945 Order
9 Assessment - 1/10/2019: Research essay due Submit via Turnitin
10 Seminar 10: The Triumph of Capitalism? *Date/time TBC (class rescheduled due to Labour Day public holiday)
11 Seminar 11 - 14/10/2019: Non-State Actors in the International System
12 Seminar 12 - 21/10/2019: International System and International Society in the Age of Trump
15 Assessment - University exam period. Exact date and time TBA.: Exam University exams period: 31 October - 16 November 2019.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Class participation 10 % 21/11/2019 28/11/2019 1,2,3,4
Research essay 50 % 01/10/2019 28/11/2019 1,2,3,4
Exam 40 % 31/10/2019 28/11/2019 1,2,3,4

* 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 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: 10 %
Due Date: 21/11/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Class participation

Each student will be asked to participate effectively in class discussions throughout the semester. S/he will be expected to participate fully in both small and large discussions informed by the required reading. While attendance will not be assessed, regular class attendance 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 the content of the course. 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: 50 %
Due Date: 01/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Research essay

Length: 3,250 words

Due date: 1 October 11:55pm

Essay questions:

  • Is international relations merely a “realm of recurrence and repetition,” as Martin Wight suggests?
  • How, if at all, should we subject past international systems, practices, and beliefs to moral scrutiny today?
  • Daniel Philpott argues that the Protestant Reformation was a “crucial spring of modern international relations.” Is he correct?
  • Is the “Westphalian system” a useful concept?
  • What is the place of empire in the evolution of the international system?
  • What insights might we take from 16th century Spanish theologians about the ethics of international interventionism today?
  • What is the place of the Haitian revolution in the international history of popular sovereignty?
  • How did the American revolutionaries conceive of America’s international relations?
  • To what extent has Kant’s hope for a cosmopolitan world order been realized?
  • Why did Britain seek the international abolition of the slave trade?
  • How should we think about international paternalism in the light of history?
  • To what extent does the study of non-Western history demonstrate the specifically Western nature of many of the ‘timeless’ and ‘universal’ concepts in IR?
  • To what extent have conceptions of great power rights and responsibilities evolved since 1815?
  • Can the Communist Bloc truly be considered a unique ‘international society’ in the post-War international system?
  • Do the institutions, ideas and politics of the immediate post-World War II order still underpin the contemporary international order?

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 31/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4


Length: approx. 2,250 words. Two hours in duration. Date TBA (during the university exam period)

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. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded. OR 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
6125 0906

Research Interests

Dr Benjamin Zala

Dr Benjamin Zala
6125 0906

Research Interests

Dr Benjamin Zala

Dr Luke Glanville
6125 3793

Research Interests

Dr Luke Glanville

Alana Moore

Research Interests

Alana Moore

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