• Class Number 4690
  • Term Code 3130
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Pauline Kerr
    • Dr Pauline Kerr
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/02/2021
  • Class End Date 28/05/2021
  • Census Date 31/03/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/03/2021
SELT Survey Results

The origins of diplomacy can be traced back to at least 3,000 years ago, when, in ancient Mesopotamia (now modern Iraq), sovereigns (usually kings and occasionally queens) of political units (usually tribes or city-states) sought recognition and communication with each other through messengers carrying clay tablets in cuneiform script over vast distances.

These same processes are the core of contemporary diplomacy. But much has changed. The revolution in communications technology provides political units (now states and organisations) and global citizens with real-time digital, verbal and visual connections. How, why and what the implications of such changes are for future theories and practices of diplomacy is puzzling and a matter of much debate.

By taking the longue durée, the long view, and analysing continuities and changes in the forms and functions of diplomacy from its origins to present times, this course aims to engage you in the debate about diplomacy and equip you with ideas that help you develop your own arguments about the theoretical and practical directions that will sustain diplomacy in the digital age, at a time when managing national and global issues cooperatively has never been more critical.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. understand the evolutionary forms and functions of diplomacy, from its origins to the present time, with the objective of understanding what will sustain diplomacy in the digital age
  2. critically engage disciplinary perspectives, such as Diplomatic Studies (DS) and International Relations (IR), with the objective of understanding how diplomacy, past and present is conceptualised and theorised
  3. critically analyse arguments and counterarguments about the impact of changes and continuities in social and political contexts on diplomacy and how diplomacy in turn shapes contexts, with the objective of understanding the two-way relationship and its implications for world politics
  4. debate the impact of digital technologies on the forms and functions on contemporary diplomacy in ways that provide an awareness of graduate studies standards of research, clear writing, argumentation and academic style.

Research-Led Teaching

Teaching based partly on lecturer's co-edited book (with Geoffrey Wiseman) Diplomacy in a Globalising World. Theories and Practices, Oxford University Press, New York, 2018, and partly on other recent research by Diplomatic Studies and International Relations scholars.   

Field Trips

Not relevant

Additional Course Costs

Students will need to purchase or borrow the second edition of the class text book, Diplomacy in a Globalising World. Theories and Practices, Oxford University Press, New York, 2018.

Examination Material or equipment


Required Resources

See above re class text book.

Pauline Kerr and Geoffrey Wiseman (eds), Diplomacy in a Globalising World. Theories and Practices , Oxford University Press, New York, 2018.

Costas M. Constantinou, Pauline Kerr and Paul Sharp (eds), The SAGE Handbook of Diplomacy, SAGE Publications Ltd, London, 2016. (Access via ANU library online.)

The Hague Journal of Diplomacy (Access via ANU library online.)

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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


Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction Participate in online Introductory Discussion Forum. Compulsory but not assessable. The tasks below are all assessable.
2 Ancient and classical diplomacy Participate in online Discussion Forum
3 Italian Renaissance diplomacy and French "modern" diplomacy Participate in online Discussion Forum
4 Theorising diplomacy No assessment
5 Theorising diplomacy Submit online podcast
6 Diplomacy in the digital age No assessment
7 The MFA in the digital age Submit short 1500 word essay
8 Public diplomacy in the digital age No assessment
9 Economic diplomacy in the digital age Submit online blog and blog self-assessment
10 Diplomacy and the use of force in the digital age No assessment
11 The US and China in the digital age Participate in Discussion Forum
12 Diplomacy in the future? Research and writing for long 3000 word essay due 11.55pm Monday 7 June

Tutorial Registration


Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Week 2 Discussion Forum online 2 % 05/03/2021 10/03/2021 1 2 3
Week 3 Discussion Forum online 2 % 12/03/2021 17/03/2021 1 2 3
Podcast online (500 words) 17 % 26/03/2021 02/04/2021 1 2 3 4
Short essay (1500 words) 20 % 23/04/2021 05/05/2021 1 2 3 4
Blog online (500 word blog and 200 word blog self assessment) 17 % 07/05/2021 19/05/2021 1 2 3 4
Week 11 Discussion Forum online 2 % 21/05/2021 27/05/2021 1 2 3 4
Long essay (3000 words) 40 % 07/06/2021 22/06/2021 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. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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: 2 %
Due Date: 05/03/2021
Return of Assessment: 10/03/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1 2 3

Week 2 Discussion Forum online

In 150-200 words compare and contrast some of the forms and functions of Amarna diplomacy and Roman diplomacy.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 2 %
Due Date: 12/03/2021
Return of Assessment: 17/03/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1 2 3

Week 3 Discussion Forum online

Your reading by the Italian new diplomatic historian Daniela Frigo examines the roles of the ambassador in Italy from the 16th to the 18th century. In 150-200 words refer to one major change and one major continuity in the role of the ambassador during this period. To the extent possible suggest why this change and continuity in the role of the ambassador occurred.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 17 %
Due Date: 26/03/2021
Return of Assessment: 02/04/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1 2 3 4

Podcast online (500 words)

Should the practices and theories of diplomacy matter to International Relations theory? If they should, why should they? If they should not, why not?

The script of the podcast must be 500 words and submitted with the podcast or emailed to Pauline.Kerr@anu.edu.au

Assessment Task 4

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 23/04/2021
Return of Assessment: 05/05/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1 2 3 4

Short essay (1500 words)

Iver Neumann (reading) argues that, "Diplomacy is an emergent institution shaped by its social and material environment. Humanity shapes diplomacy, and diplomacy shapes humanity. The two are co-constitutive." Do you agree with Neumann’s argument? If so why do you agree? If you do not agree then why not? Illustrate your argument with examples from the course.


A major focus of diplomatic studies and this course is the evolution, the changes and continuities, of diplomacy. Andrew Cooper and Jeremie Cornut (reading) argue that their concept of “frontline diplomacy” provides a new direction for understanding changes in diplomats’ activities, and moreover, these "new diplomatic practices at the frontline contribute to shape international politics today" (p.319). What are strengths and weaknesses of their argument?

Assessment Task 5

Value: 17 %
Due Date: 07/05/2021
Return of Assessment: 19/05/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1 2 3 4

Blog online (500 word blog and 200 word blog self assessment)

Blog: In their respective TED presentations (readings/resources) Professor Rebecca Adler-Nissen and Ambassador David Cvach, address the question of how social media and AI might be used constructively in diplomacy. What is your evaluation of their suggestions?

Blog self-assessment: provide answers to the questions in the self-assessment submission box.

Assessment Task 6

Value: 2 %
Due Date: 21/05/2021
Return of Assessment: 27/05/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1 2 3 4

Week 11 Discussion Forum online

In 150-200 words say what you think is most interesting about the US and China’s approach to public diplomacy and soft power during COVID-19.

Assessment Task 7

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 07/06/2021
Return of Assessment: 22/06/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1 2 3 4

Long essay (3000 words)

What is meant by the ‘digitalisation of diplomacy'? What, if any, impact is this development having on practices and theories of diplomacy? What are the implications of your argument for the sustainability of diplomacy? Illustrate your answer with examples from the course.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

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) 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

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. 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 Pauline Kerr
+61 2 61257983

Research Interests

Diplomatic studies: theories and practices of diplomacy. International Relations. 

Dr Pauline Kerr

Thursday 11:00 13:00
Dr Pauline Kerr
6125 5744

Research Interests

Dr Pauline Kerr

Thursday 11:00 13:00

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