• Class Number 2999
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Simon Cotton
    • Simon Cotton
  • 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
    • Clement Clarke
    • Devon Cass
SELT Survey Results

Ideas in Politics explores some of the central ideas and debates in politics today, including claims regarding the nature of freedom, democracy, power, and the state. An understanding of these ideas and debates is essential for coming to terms with the key ideological clashes that shape politics today and for making effective interventions into these contests. 

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. understand the key concepts used in political theory;
  2. identify some of the divergent aims for which these concepts are mobilised;
  3. demonstrate theoretical familiarity with some of the major thinkers in the canon of western political thought, including Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Mill, and Marx;
  4. theorise politics in the manner of contemporary political theory;
  5. produce powerful written arguments; and
  6. produce persuasive verbal accounts of politics.

Required Resources

Andrew Bailey et al. editors, The Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought: Essential Readings, Ancient, Modern and Contemporary Texts (Broadview Press, Canada 2012).

Recommended resources will be available on Wattle.

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments on individual assignments
  • oral comments on individual and group class discussion
  • feedback to the whole class
  • feedback to interested 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.

Other Information

The information provided is a preliminary Class Outline. A finalised version will be available on Wattle and will be accessible after enrolling in this course. All updates, changes and further information will be uploaded on the course Wattle site and will not be updated on Programs and Courses throughout the semester. Any questions or concerns should be directed to the Course Convenor.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction and overview
2 Machiavelli's The Prince and Discourses on Livy
3 Hobbes's Leviathan (Part 1: 'Of Man')
4 Hobbes's Leviathan (Part 2: 'Of Commonwealth')
5 Locke's Second Treatise Short Paper Due (March 29)
6 Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality
7 Rousseau's The Social Contract
8 Hamilton and Madison's The Federalist Papers
9 Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France
10 Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Long Paper Due (May 17)
11 Marx's Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts and Communist Manifesto
12 Concluding review and examination preparation

Tutorial Registration

Tutorial enrolment will open on Wattle on Monday, February 11 at 11:10am

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Short Paper 20 % 29/03/2019 01/01/9999 1,2
Long Paper 40 % 17/05/2019 01/01/9999 1,2,3
Participation 10 % 01/01/9999 01/01/9999 1,2,3
Final Exam 30 % 01/01/9999 01/01/9999 1,2,4

* 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: 20 %
Due Date: 29/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 01/01/9999
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Short Paper

The short (1000-word) paper is on Hobbes's argument in Leviathan. You will be asked both to demonstrate comprehension of Hobbes's social contract theory and to assess how vulnerable that theory is to critiques we will cover in class. A detailed assignment prompt and rubric will be posted to Wattle.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 17/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 01/01/9999
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Long Paper

The long (3000-word) paper will ask you to critically evaluate the ideas of one or more of our thinkers. This will require reading and citing a variety of secondary sources. A list of detailed questions from which you might choose will be posted to Wattle along with a rubric. Pending approval of the course convenor, you will also have the option of setting your own question.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 01/01/9999
Return of Assessment: 01/01/9999
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3


Your participation mark will depend partly on your productive involvement in tutorial discussions and partly on your reading notes. Students will be asked to write a paragraph of no more than 300-words precisely summarising that week's reading to each and every tutorial session.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 01/01/9999
Return of Assessment: 01/01/9999
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Final Exam

For the final exam, students will be asked to answer three essay questions from a longer list. Students will be able to bring the course textbook into the exam.

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

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) as 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.

Returning Assignments

Details will be shared on Wattle.

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.

Resubmission of Assignments

Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) a submission must be through Turnitin.

Online Submission: Assignments are submitted using Turnitin in the course Wattle site. 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.

Hard Copy 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). Please state how the students submit such assignments to you via, for example, the physical assignment box. The cover sheet must use the assignment cover sheet template. If your course does not require hard copy submission, delete this sub-section. Assignments must include the cover sheet available here. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.\


Only available in extraordinary circumstances through the permission of the course convenor.

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).

Simon Cotton

Research Interests

Political theory and philosophy; the history of political thought

Simon Cotton

Wednesday 16:00 17:00
Simon Cotton

Research Interests

Simon Cotton

Wednesday 16:00 17:00
Clement Clarke

Research Interests

Clement Clarke

Devon Cass

Research Interests

Devon Cass

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