• Offered by Strategic and Defence Studies Centre
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Strategic Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Iain Henry
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2023
    See Future Offerings

This graduate course examines the role of alliances in international politics, with a special emphasis on the role of US alliances in Asia since 1945.  The primary lens through which the subject is approached is that of realist alliance theory, though other perspectives are also considered.  Each session focuses on an alliance theory question or concept, which is examined against instances of alliance politics in Asia.  The life cycle of alliances (formation, revision, abrogation) is examined, as are alliance dynamics like abandonment, entrapment, decoupling, wedging, binding, and buck-passing.  In the last session, students will use their new skills and knowledge to critically analyse a contemporary policy issue pertaining to alliance politics.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Develop and demonstrate an understanding of a broad range of alliance theories and concepts
  2. Gain and demonstrate knowledge of major developments in Asian alliances since 1945
  3. Using the theoretical and empirical knowledge described above, critically analyse modern alliances, alignments and prospective alliance relationships.
  4. Develop capacity for original, independent analysis of the theory, history and practices of alliances

Indicative Assessment

  1. Short assignment: 1500 word essay (purely theoretical) (20) [LO 1,4]
  2. Long Essay: 3000 word essay (both theoretical and empirical) (40) [LO 1,2,4]
  3. Exam: take-home exam (with theoretical, empirical, and policy aspects) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]

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120 hours total over semester

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

Snyder, Glenn, Alliance Politics, Cornell University Press: Ithaca, 1997.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $4320
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $6180
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6645 24 Jul 2023 31 Jul 2023 31 Aug 2023 27 Oct 2023 In Person View

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