• Class Number 8538
  • Term Code 2960
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Richard Frank
    • Dr Richard Frank
  • 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

This course examines the linkages between environmental conflicts and human security. The global rise in conflicts associated with control of natural resources (water, food, energy resources), has exposed the tensions between traditional notions of security and human-centred security concerns. Students will conduct in-depth analyses of cases of environmental conflicts around the world in order to identify the key actors, their projected values and interests, as well as the implications of different alternatives from a human security perspective. While the course highlights the politics behind conflicts, it includes contributions from other disciplines and fields. 

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. identify and explain how environmental conflicts and human security are inter-related;
  2. analyse the tensions between interests and values of a diversity of actors involved in contemporary conflicts over resource access;
  3. demonstrate knowledge of a specific case of conflict, through the application of the concepts and analytical frameworks introduced in the course; and
  4. identify the impact on human security of different alternatives for conflict resolution.

Research-Led Teaching

International Relations is a discipline with a breadth of perspectives and approaches. This course is but one way of approaching the emerging literature on the environment, human security, and conflict. Its structure and presentation have been (and will be) shaped by Dr. Frank’s research interests. This is fitting given ANU’s focus on research-led teaching.

Dr. Frank’s research focuses on how international politics affects domestic political violence and human rights practices. Specific areas of current interest include modelling the strategic dynamics of electoral violence, understanding the drivers of human trafficking flows, and exploring the domestic and international causes of civil conflict.

Research-led teaching is not simply about the research expertise that conveners are able to bring to a course, it also includes the ways in which courses’ skills acquisition and assessment are designed to enable students to acquire sound knowledge-acquisition skills. To this end, the course’s activities have been designed around reading comprehension as a skill central to political analysis. Evidence gathering is also a core research skill. To this end, students are alerted to a number of potential sources for information and evidence that can be useful for students’ research essays. Thoughtful analysis and presentation of research findings is a crucial core research skill, and therefore the course contains three writing assessments to provide students with an opportunity to practice those skills. 

Required Resources

There are no required textbooks for this course. All assigned readings will be made available on the course’s Wattle page, and they are all also available online via the university library’s website or a quick Google Scholar search.

There are no additional costs associated with this course. 

Staff Feedback

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

  • Workshops offer immediate feedback on your ideas and your understanding of course materials.
  • The course convener is available to provide feedback on your essay plans prior to its due date.
  • The course convener will provide written feedback on all written assignments on Wattle.

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.

Additional referencing requirements

It is a requirement of this course that your essay conform to academic writing standards and referencing. The Chicago in-text referencing style is preferred. You may contact the ANU Academic Skills and Writing Centre for further advice. For details about both citation style please see the ANU style guide website at https://academicskills.anu.edu.au/resources/handouts/referencing-style-guides

Research quality assurance

The convener may ask to speak with you regarding your research for your essays (the process by which you gathered and analysed your research materials). These meetings are usually designed to help students improve their research skills and ensure their approach to research is of university standard. To this end, please keep all the notes, plans, drafts and research that you use for this essay.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction, course overview, and conflict
2 Economic development and economic instability
3 Political institutions and instability
4 Environmental change and scarcity
5 Population
6 Natural resources Mid-term literature review
7 Food Essay proposal
8 Natural disasters
9 Water
10 Migration
11 Domestic responses
12 International cooperation Final essay

Tutorial Registration

There are no tutorials.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
LITERATURE REVIEW 30 % 01/01/9999 01/01/9999 1
ESSAY PROPOSAL 10 % 01/01/9999 01/01/9999 3, 4
FINAL ESSAY 50 % 01/01/9999 01/01/9999 1, 2, 3, 4
Workshop participation 10 % 01/01/9999 01/01/9999 2

* 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.


See assessment task #4.


There is no examination in this class.

Assessment Task 1

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


Due date:

Word limit: 1,500 words

Value: 30%

You are to locate research articles on your desired topic. You are to write a 1,500-word summary of these articles. This summary should serve as the background/foundation for your survey instrument. The typed summary should adhere to Chicago Manual of Style citation format. Remember your assessment is only 1,500 words in length, so your aim should be to demonstrate your understanding in as clear and concise a manner as possible. Papers should be submitted in Microsoft Word format to Turnitin on the course’s Wattle page.

Rubric for literature review

  • Topic (40%): The literature review identifies a relevant and suitable topic and clearly demonstrates why it constitutes an important concern in contemporary environmental or human security and/or conflict. The literature review is further able to state with clarity the specific research questions the literature addresses, which is appropriately linked to the motivating topic.
  • Essay plan (40%): The literature review critically engages both with the relevant course material, and with the student’s own independent research, to identify and discuss the explanations put forth by the relevant literature for the outcome under examination.
  • Structure and presentation (20%): The literature has clear sentences, is well-structured, and paragraphs are clearly organised. The research is appropriate, sufficient and properly attributed through references, and footnotes, references, and bibliography are properly set out. The document has clearly been proof-read and drafted and contains no/few grammatical errors.

A recent example of a graduate-school-level literature review can be found at the Claremont Graduate University Writing Center’s website (http://www.cgu.edu/pages/931.asp).

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 01/01/9999
Return of Assessment: 01/01/9999
Learning Outcomes: 3, 4


Due date:

Word limit: 500 words

Value: 10%

This proposal takes the next step after your literature review. Now that you are familiar with the relevant literature on your topic, you can begin to ask your own research questions and answer them with the appropriate research methodology. The proposal is a way for you to map out your approach to the final paper and receive feedback and suggestions from the course convener on this approach. 

Rubric for essay proposal

  • Topic (20%): The proposal identifies a relevant and suitable topic and clearly demonstrates why it constitutes an important concern in contemporary political science.
  • Research question (20%): The proposal clearly states the research question being examined.
  • Argument (20%): The proposal clearly states the argument that the author thinks answers the proposed question. Evidence (20%): The proposal clearly outlines appropriate sources to be used in evaluating the paper’s argument.
  • Structure, citation, & errors (20%): The essay has clear topic sentences, is well structured, and paragraphs are clearly organised. The paper’s footnotes, references, and bibliography are properly set out. The essay has clearly been proof-read and drafted and contains no/few grammatical errors.

There are a number of resources available online to help you draft a research proposal. Some are for longer works (e.g. honors or PhD theses), but the principles are transferable. Here are two. In addition, I would suggest looking at the proposal structure requested for proposals to the CASS HDR programs at http://cass.anu.edu.au/study-with-us/higher-degree-research/applications.

Political Science/LSJ/School of International Studies Writing Center. No date. How to Write a Political Science Research Proposal. Available from: https://depts.washington.edu/pswrite/Handouts/HowtoWriteResearchProposals.pdf.

University of Berkeley Department of Political Science. No date. Guidelines for writing a thesis proposal. Available from: http://polisci.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/assets/Honors - Proposal Guidelines-3.pdf

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 01/01/9999
Return of Assessment: 01/01/9999
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4


Due date:

Word limit: 2,500-3,000 words

Value: 50%

This essay is the culmination of your studies in this class. It represents the final product of research conducted over the course of the semester. A discussion of final essays and possible topics will be included during workshops over the course of the semester. 

Rubric for final essay

  • Topic (20%): The proposal identifies a relevant and suitable topic and clearly demonstrates why it constitutes an important concern in contemporary political science.
  • Research question (20%): The proposal clearly states the research question being examined.
  • Argument (20%): The proposal clearly states the argument that the author thinks answers the proposed question.
  • Evidence (20%): The proposal clearly outlines appropriate sources to be used in evaluating the paper’s argument.
  • Structure, citation, & errors (20%): The essay has clear topic sentences, is well structured, and paragraphs are clearly organised. The paper’s footnotes, references, and bibliography are properly set out. The essay has clearly been proof-read and drafted and contains no/few grammatical errors.

My research paper writing guide (along with the resources mentioned in the descriptions of the previous two writing assignments) are available on Wattle. There are a number of other resources available online. Some guide you will come across may be geared towards graduate students but most important principles are transferrable. Here are two sources: 

Leeds, Ashley. No date. Guide to Writing Your Research Paper. Available from: http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~leeds/documents/475rps10.pdf.

Minkoff, Scott L. 2012. A Guide to Developing and Writing Research Papers in Political Science. Available from: http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/864938/19785442/1344544487103/minkoff_researchpaper_guide _v4.pdf/.

Assessment Task 4

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

Workshop participation

Due Date: Weekly throughout the semester

Value: 10%

Participation marks will be based upon evidence of having done the assigned readings, evidence of having thought about the issues, contribution and participation in class and consideration and respect for other class members. 

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

All marks and feedback on your writing will be available on Turnitin. 

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

Students may resubmit their assignments on Turnitin before the due date if they are not happy with their textmatching report. Turnitin allows only one resubmission per 24 hours. There are no other conditions under which assignments may be resubmitted. 

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 Richard Frank

Research Interests

Human Rights, Peace & Conflict Studies

Dr Richard Frank

Thursday 10:00 12:00
Thursday 10:00 12:00
Dr Richard Frank

Research Interests

Dr Richard Frank

Thursday 10:00 12:00
Thursday 10:00 12:00

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