• Class Number 9175
  • Term Code 2960
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Feng Zhang
    • Dr Feng Zhang
  • 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

How have the Chinese thought about international relations and their country's role in the world? How has such thinking influenced China's foreign relations in the past and how might it affect the foreign policy of a rising China in the future? This course addresses these questions by examining Chinese thinking on international relations through the major epochs of Chinese history, focusing on the present era of the People's Republic of China (PRC, from 1949 to the present). The course explores the traditional Chinese conceptions of world order and their modern transformation, major foreign policy thinking of successive PRC leadership from Mao to Xi, and new strands of thinking such as Chinese exceptionalism. It is a comprehensive course on Chinese views of international relations from the perspectives of the Chinese themselves.

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the various strands of Chinese international thought;
2. Critically evaluate the major strands of Chinese international thought;
3. Present deep insights into the perceptual, ideational, and intellectual foundations of Chinese foreign policy;
4. Present strong arguments in their written and oral work and to link relevant concepts and theories to actual practice skills (as developed through written assessments, class presentations and discussions).

Required Resources

  • Henry Kissinger, On China (New York: Penguin, 2012).

Note: There is no single text that covers all the grounds of this course. This Kissinger book is the most comprehensive and relevant one can find at the moment.

It is also useful to consult my book on Chinese hegemony in East Asian history, which contains discussions on China's Confucian relationalism and its historical and modern relevance for Chinese foreign policy: 

  • Feng Zhang, Chinese Hegemony: Grand Strategy and International Institutions in East Asian History (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2015). 

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 - 23/07/2019: The Traditional Tianxia Order Students will be assigned presentation topics.
2 Seminar 2 - 30/07/2019: The "Century of Humiliation"
3 Seminar 3 - 06/08/2019: Mao Zedong and the Idea of War and Revolution
4 Seminar 4 - 13/08/2019: Deng Xiaoping and the Idea of Peace and Development Short essay due on 15/08/2019, 11.55pm
5 Seminar 5 - 20/08/2019: Jiang-Hu and the Idea of Peaceful Rise/Development
6 Seminar 6 - 27/08/2019: Xi Jinping and "Striving for Achievement"
7 Seminar 7 - 17/09/2019: Chinese Nationalism
8 Seminar 8 - 24/09/2019: Chinese Exceptionalism Research essay due 26/09/2019
9 Seminar 9 - 01/10/2019: Confucianism
10 Seminar 10 - 08/10/2019: Chinese Historical Thinking
11 Seminar 11 - 15/10/2019: Intellectual Spectrum
12 Seminar 12 - 22/10/2019: Chinese Theory of International Relations

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Oral presentation 10 % 26/07/2019 28/11/2019 1,2,3,4
Short Essay 20 % 15/08/2019 30/08/2019 1,2,3,4
Research Essay 30 % 26/09/2019 11/10/2019 1,2,3,4
Take-home Exam 40 % 02/11/2019 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: 26/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Oral presentation

This will be in-class seminar presentations. At each seminar, a small groups of students will be asked to present on the study questions of that seminar. You can either deliver your presentation individually, or make a joint group presentation (in which case the assessment of your presentation will be based on the group performance as a whole). Make sure you choose one of the study questions as your presentation topic. The whole presentation period should take no more than 25 minutes. As a rule of thumb, each

student should speak for approximately 7 minutes. So make sure your presentation is concise, direct, and forceful!

The presentations will be assessed according to four key criteria: (1) the degree to which the presentation engages with the relevant literature beyond essential readings; (2) the degree to which the presentation provides analysis of the key issues and trends; (3) the degree to which the presentation reveals critical thinking in addressing the central question; and (4) the degree to which the presentation engages with the audience by raising salient questions and ideas for further discussion.

I will provide verbal feedback following your presentation.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 15/08/2019
Return of Assessment: 30/08/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Short Essay

Write an essay of 1,000 words to answer one of the following questions:

  1. Why is the "century of humiliation" so important in modern Chinese thinking about international relations?
  2. Why did Mao place so much emphasis on war and revolution in international politics?
  3. Why did Deng Xiaoping propose tao guang yang hui  as a guiding principle for Chinese foreign policy after 1989?

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 26/09/2019
Return of Assessment: 11/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Research Essay

The research essay provides a deeper and more sophisticated analysis of seminar questions than the short essay. Write 2,000 words to answer one of the following questions:

  1. Has Xi Jinxing abandoned Deng's dictum of tao gang yang hui?
  2. In what ways does nationalism influence Chinese foreign policy?
  3. Is there a Chinese exceptionalism in international relations?

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 02/11/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Take-home Exam

You will be asked to answer three questions drawn from the course material.

Word limit: 2400

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 Feng Zhang
6125 3341

Research Interests

Feng Zhang is a Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University’s Department of International Relations, Deputy Director (Higher Degree by Research) of the ANU’s Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, and a member of the executive committee of the Australian Centre on China in the World based at the ANU. His research focuses on Chinese foreign and security policy, Asia-Pacific security relations (especially the South China Sea), international relations in East Asian history, and international relations theory. 

His first book, Chinese Hegemony: Grand Strategy and International Institutions in East Asian History, was published by Stanford University Press in 2015. He is currently completing a new book, with Professor Richard Ned Lebow, Managing Sino-American Conflict. His articles have appeared in Asia Policy, Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, Australian Journal of International Affairs, China: An International Journal, Chinese Journal of International Politics, East Asian Policy, European Journal of International Relations, International Politics,Political Science Quarterly, Review of International Studies, Survival, and The Washington Quarterly.

He is also an Adjunct Professor at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies in China, and has received visiting research fellowships from the East Asian Institute of the National University of Singapore and the Guangdong Institute of International Strategy in China. Prior to ANU, he taught at Tsinghua University in Beijing and Murdoch University in Perth. He received his MSc and PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

He is a regular contributor to international media and policy forums including ChinaFile,East Asian Forum, Foreign Affairs, Financial Times, Foreign Policy, International Public Policy Review, The Paper, The Strategist,and The Straits Times. He can be reached via email at fengzhangmc@gmail.com, via Twitter @fengzhangmc, and via his website at http://fengzhang.net.

Dr Feng Zhang

Dr Feng Zhang
6125 3341

Research Interests

Dr Feng Zhang

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