• Class Number 4867
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Paul Kenny
    • AsPr Paul Kenny
  • 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 class will give students a look into the murky and ambivalent relationship between violence and political order, from the historical origins of the state to the violent breakdown of political order today. Most theories of political order begin with the perspective that state institutions set limits on the legitimate use of violence and so control the violent tendencies of an anarchic society. Yet state building is itself a deeply violent process. Moreover the state continues to be a prolific user of violence. Aside from the obvious case of war between states, both democratic and authoritarian states engage in varying levels of everyday violence. In some cases, this violence is perceived as legitimate, as in the use of imprisonment as a punishment for criminal activity. In other cases, states transgress norms of legitimate violence, engaging in activities such as torture, sexual violence, and even ethnic cleansing. This course will cover topics including state building, torture, civil war, and crime and punishment. We will read work from political science, political economy, political sociology and political theory. This is a reading intensive seminar.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand different empirical and theoretical approaches to the analysis violence and political order
  2. Develop appropriate conceptual, theoretical, and empirical research methods from political science, political sociology, and political theory;
  3. Compare and analyze variation in types of political violence;
  4. Apply the principals of good research design in developing their own research.
  5. Communicate knowledgeably on range of topics within the area of violence and political order.

Fukuyama, F. (2011). The origins of political order: from prehuman times to the French Revolution. New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and (2015). Political order and political decay: from the Industrial Revolution to the globalization of democracy. London, Profile Books

Morris, I. (2010). Why the west rules-for now: The patterns of history and what they reveal about the future. Profile books

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 Production, Predation, and Political Order
2 War Makes the State, and the State Makes War
3 The Ecological Origins of the State Public holiday
4 Malthusian Traps and External Shocks: The Fall of Rome
5 Making Effective States
6 Institutions and Development
7 Varieties of Political Order: Autocracy and Democracy Public holiday
8 Crime and Social Control
9 The Breakdown of Order: States, Civil Wars, and Revolutions
10 Nationalism, War, and the State
11 The Great Decline of War and Violence
12 Order and Violence in War Public holiday

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Seminar Preparation 10 % 04/03/2019 31/03/2019 1, 2, 3
Seminar Presentation 0 % 04/03/2019 04/07/2019 1, 5
Essay 1: The Origins Political Order 30 % 21/03/2019 28/03/2019 2, 3, 4, 5
Essay 2: Effective States 30 % 02/05/2019 09/05/2019 2, 3, 4, 5
Essay 3: Violence 30 % 10/06/2019 17/06/2019 2, 3, 4, 5

* 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.


Full participation, i.e., completion of required readings and participation in class discussion is expected of all students. Participation grades will determined by submission of reading notes.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 04/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 31/03/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Seminar Preparation

Preparation for seminar discussion is expected of all students, whether they attend the seminar in person or not, and including weeks without a seminar due to public holidays. All students must prepare notes on all required readings (and optionally on recommending readings) and submit them by via Wattle by midnight on the day before class in preparation for discussion. These notes may consist of summary, comments, critiques, questions, etc. arising from the readings. There is no maximum limit on notes and they may be in bullet points, full sentences, or short essays. Notes should be substantial. I would expect c. 1 page of bullet points per reading, depending on how concisely you write. It should be possible from your notes for you to reconstruct the main points of a reading, as if you were preparing for an exam. Notes should address the following: What is the core argument(s)? What predictions do the authors make? What evidence do they present to support those predictions? What is your view on the plausibility of the argument or the quality of the evidence? Notes will be marked on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory scale. 

NOTE that this is a HURDLE ASSIGNMENT. 10 sets of notes are required in total (i.e. 1% per set of notes). However, students must receive a passing grade in this assignment. I.e. you must submit at least 5 satisfactory sets of notes to pass the course.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 04/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 5

Seminar Presentation

Each student will also lead 1 x 10 minute (maximum) presentation of the required readings. Following a brief summary, presentations should focus on a critical analysis of the reading. This may concentrate on the theoretical contribution, research design, or empirical quality of a reading or set of readings. Students can use Powerpoint, Prezi, or other presentation software, but this is not required. This assessment is not graded. Please keep to the assigned time limit. Presentation slots will be assigned in Week 1.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 21/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/03/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3, 4, 5

Essay 1: The Origins Political Order

Students will complete one 2,000 word essay (+/- 10% of word limit) from the following essay topics. Choose one essay title only:

Essay 1: The Origins Political Order

1.     The rise and fall of states is caused by ecological factors. Discuss.

2.     “War makes the state, and the state makes war.” Discuss.

Essay Requirements.

Structure and style: Essays should follow logical structure (statement of problem, brief plan, engagement with relevant theories, supporting evidence from published research, brief conclusion). Ensure that sets of literature or arguments are properly grouped together into coherent sections; key terms should be defined concisely with appropriate citation; language and style should be professional and scientific (avoid both excessively casual language and unnecessary jargon. Write directly and positively in clear prose. Use passive voice and rhetorical questions very sparingly, if at all. See Pinker, The sense of style: The thinking person's guide to writing in the 21st century).

Argument: Clearly make an argument that is supported by evidence and citation. Demonstrate familiarity with contending explanations but don’t simply summarize them as a list. Put rival arguments in conversation and compare logic and evidence to argue for which (if any) case is best supported.

Broad and deep knowledge of the relevant literature. Required readings are not sufficient. I am not looking for an original contribution as much as I am looking for mastery of the research literature on a topic. I expect a min of 15-20 genuine citations (i.e. appropriately used with some evidence they’ve been consulted, not just pirated from another text). When referring to a journal or book, be sure to include sufficient detail to make your point. For instance, don’t just write: “Kalyvas (2006) analyses the role of strategy in civil war violence.” Rather tell me exactly the mechanism put forward by Kalvyas; that “both insurgents and governments use violence against civilians as a strategy to deter defection”. Then detail the evidence used to support that point, and so on.

Written feedback will be provided if submitted by the appropriate deadline. Late submissions will be subject to penalty if not agreed in advance with supporting written documentation (e.g. military service, death in immediate family, medical certificate, EAP).

NOTE that this is a HURDLE ASSIGNMENT. It is not necessary to receive a passing grade for this individual assignment, but students must make an honest attempt in order to receive a passing grade for the course as a whole.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 02/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 09/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3, 4, 5

Essay 2: Effective States

Students will complete one 2,000 word essay (+/- 10% of word limit) from the following essay topics. Choose one essay title only:

Essay 2: Effective States

1.     Do institutions cause development?

2.     Explain the emergence of the Rechtsstaat (the bureaucratic, rule-based state).

Requirements as above.

NOTE that this is a HURDLE ASSIGNMENT. It is not necessary to receive a passing grade for this individual assignment, but students must make an honest attempt in order to receive a passing grade for the course as a whole.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 10/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 17/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3, 4, 5

Essay 3: Violence

Students will complete one 2,000 word essay (+/- 10% of word limit) from the following essay topics. Choose one essay title only:

Essay 3: Violence

1.     Has the world become less violent? Why?

2.     What causes violent breakdowns in political order?

Requirements as above.

NOTE that this is a HURDLE ASSIGNMENT. It is not necessary to receive a passing grade for this individual assignment, but students must make an honest attempt in order to receive a passing grade for the course as a whole.

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).
AsPr Paul Kenny

Research Interests

Political economy, comparative politics

AsPr Paul Kenny

Tuesday 14:00 15:30
AsPr Paul Kenny

Research Interests

AsPr Paul Kenny

Tuesday 14:00 15:30

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