• Class Number 4290
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In-Person and Online
    • AsPr Mathew Davies
    • AsPr Mathew Davies
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 21/02/2022
  • Class End Date 27/05/2022
  • Census Date 31/03/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
SELT Survey Results

This course surveys the principal theoretical perspectives on international relations that have emerged in the 20th and 21st centuries. It considers why we should theorise about international relations, asks what international relations is as an academic discipline, reviews the various meanings of theory, and introduces the major theoretical questions and perspectives that have occupied students of international affairs. The course considers both the internal logic of theoretical development (the role of bureaucracy, the nature of academic disciplines, and the shifting considerations of what it means to engage in social scientific research) and external dynamics (real world events, public demands on intellectuals) to consider how and why the discipline has evolved and changed. The course takes a critical approach to the European and gendered dimensions of IR’s theoretical development.  

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Appreciate the centrality of theorizing to thinking about international relations
  2. Understand the principal theoretical perspectives that have been developed to understand international relations and global politics
  3. Appreciate how individual theories have evolved in relation to one another and within particular social and historical contexts
  4. Engage with theories critically and reflectively
  5. Relate theories to contemporary events
  6. Reason theoretically through written and spoken communication

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 Art, tragedy and theory
2 Traditions of thought before the 20th century
3 Liberal thought
4 Christian and political realism
5 Neorealism
6 Neoliberalism
7 English School
8 Critical Theories
9 Feminism
10 Constructivism
11 21st century theories: Norm scholarship
12 21st Century theories: Cognitive approaches

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Discussion task 30 % 3,6
Short Essay 30 % 1,2,4,5,6
REsearch Essay Task 40 % 1, 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.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 3,6

Discussion task

Discuss the following prompt.

  • Which of the three pre-20th century traditions do you find most persuasive?

In pre-assigned pairs you must record (video or audio) a discussion on the above prompt. The following will help you prepare. The recording must be no more than 10 minutes and must include a presentation you have prepared as a team. 

Here are some tips

You can agree, or disagree, on the answer (and there is no right answer here). It does not have to be a team position necessarily

Feel free to debate a position, or advance different pros and cons. 

You may choose to record over a presentation (as in a zoom screen share recording) or just have the presentation to refer to

There is nothing wrong for this one assignment for referring to both scholarly sources and world events but your emphasis MUST BE on responding to the prompt in an academic way

You will be graded out of 25 on four components

Evidence of underlying research

Quality of material submitted

Accuracy of claims put forward

Presentation style

The first two components you and your partner will share the same score, the second two components you and your partner will receive individual scores. The result is that everyone has the potential to receive tailored and individual results that reflect overall achievement. 

You will not be graded on technological prowess or flashiness. You are, of course, free to go wild if you wish, but remember to focus on the given dimensions above where the grades are to be found. 

You must submit two files per team

- media file (audio or video of your discussion)

- presentation file (powerpoint, PDF, Keynote)

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5,6

Short Essay

Item 2: Essay 1. 11.55pm. 30% 1500 words. 

Critically assess the following statement.

EH Carr would have found the Six Points of Hans Morgenthau far too realist for his liking. 

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

REsearch Essay Task

Item Three: Long essay response. 11 May at 11.55pm. 40% 3,000 words.

Critically assess one of these statements:

Waltz’s assertion that only a third level theory can explain international politics is ultimately a subjective, not a scientific, claim. 

Neoliberal institutionalism is not a liberal theory of international politics. 

The English School’s greatest strength is that it intentionally sacrifices theoretical rigour for explanatory power.

The reason critical theories never replaced problem-solving approaches was because they were too busy with emancipation and not concerned enough with reality.

Feminist analysis of the state and its actions in world politics reveals the realist account of politics to be immoral

Constructivists have ethics, constructivism does not. 

As the study of norms has advanced in the 21st century, so it has become harder to explain the phenomenon of international order. 

You can design your own question if you wish, but must get explicit written agreement from me before you embark on this by the end of week 6.

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. 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 Mathew Davies
6125 5744

Research Interests

AsPr Mathew Davies

Monday By Appointment
AsPr Mathew Davies

Research Interests

AsPr Mathew Davies

Monday By Appointment

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