• Class Number 3040
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Brendan Taylor
    • Prof Brendan Taylor
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/02/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 08/05/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
SELT Survey Results

This course has three aims. The first is to explore and explain the nature of power politics as a mode of international relations. The second is to explore specifically the power politics of Asia today, and try to understand what is happening and where it is going. And the third is to explore some concepts and ideas that can help us understand power politics better. The study of power politics is central to any study of strategy, but it is especially interesting and important in Asia today, because Asia is right now in the throes of a major power-political revolution as a radical change in the distribution of wealth and power overtakes the old order and forces the creation of a new one. We will explore this process closely in the course, by looking at how key regional powers are trying to position themselves in the new order of the Asian Century, and how their interests and aims interact with one another in the regional strategic system.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the factors — historical, social, political, economic and cultural — which shape grand strategies of key Asia-Pacific powers.
  2. Evaluate and critically assess the new power politics of Asia and how power politics in the region is changing.
  3. Compare and contrast the grand strategies of a diverse range of Asia-Pacific states.
  4. Conduct scholarly research, express ideas and construct evidence-based arguments in both written and oral form lectures, class room discussions, tutorials and a variety of written assessments.

Research-Led Teaching

The seminars for this course are delivered primarily by Professor Taylor, who is an internationally-recognised authority on Asia's Power Politics. His writings on this subject have been published in prominent international outlets, including Survival, The Washington Quarterly, International Affairs, The Pacific Review and Review of International Studies. Professor Taylor is the author or editor of 12 books, including The Four Flashpoints: How Asia Goes to War, which was published by Black Inc in 2018.

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs

There are no additional class costs associated with this course.

Examination Material or equipment


Required Resources

Required readings for each session are available from the course Wattle site.

A list of recommended readings for each topic is available from the course Wattle site.

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

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 What is Power Politics? What is Asia? 5 March
2 What does China want? 12 March
3 A new US-China Cold War? 19 March
4 Without America: Who else could check China? 26 March
5 Is there an Asian arms race? 2 April (Commentary assignment due 30 March)
6 Asia's Cuban Missile crises? Korea and Taiwan 30 April
7 Tinderboxes on water? East and South China Sea 7 May
8 Can architecture tame Asia's power politics? 14 May (Research essay due 11 May)
9 What are Australia's choices? 21 May
10 What is Asia's strategic future? 28 May

Tutorial Registration


Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Commentary 20 % 30/03/2020 20/04/2020 2,4
Research Essay 40 % 11/05/2020 01/06/2020 1,2,4
Take home examination 40 % 08/06/2020 02/07/2020 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.




The course includes a take home examination, held during the end of semester examination period.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 30/03/2020
Return of Assessment: 20/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 2,4


Due 11:55pm, Monday 30 March 2020 via Turnitin

1500 words. Detailed assignment instructions are provided on the course Wattle site. An in-class academic skills session for this assignment will also be provided.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 11/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 01/06/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Research Essay

Due 11:55pm, Monday 11 May 2020 via Turnitin

2500 words. Detailed assignment instructions are provided on the course Wattle site. An in-class academic skills session for this assignment will also be provided.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 08/06/2020
Return of Assessment: 02/07/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Take home examination

To be held in end of semester examination period. Dates TBA.

Take home exam consisting of a two short (1,000-1,500 word) essay-style questions to be completed over a three-day timeframe. Detailed assignment instructions will be provided on the course Wattle site. An in-class academic skills session for this assignment will also be provided.

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

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension is 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).
Prof Brendan Taylor

Research Interests

East Asian flashpoints, US-Australia alliance, Asia-Pacific security architecture

Prof Brendan Taylor

By Appointment
Prof Brendan Taylor

Research Interests

Prof Brendan Taylor

By Appointment

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