• Offered by Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Diplomacy
  • Areas of interest Australian Indigenous Studies, International Relations, Political Sciences, Diplomacy, Politics
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Julien Barbara
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

please direct all inquiries to the course coordinator: James Blackwell James.Blackwell@anu.edu.au

The aim of this course is to showcase the sovereign diplomatic practices of First Nations peoples in Australia, and Indigenous peoples’ engagement with foreign policy and the international system; giving students an understanding of this, alongside contemporary issues for First Nations diplomacy and sovereignty, and allowing them to understand and evaluate these practices within international relations. Part One of this course provides an introduction to concepts relating to Indigeneity and international relations, including Indigeneity, sovereignty, nationhood, relationality, agency, and power. It will also explore Indigenous values and worldviews across the Australian continent, and how Indigenous peoples experience and live in their cosmologies. Part Two of the course looks at Indigenous diplomacy, inter-polity relations, and diplomatic practices around the Australian continent, with a key focus on certain regions and peoples. It will look how Indigenous peoples conceive of the idea of diplomacy, examples of diplomatic practice, and the connection between culture, law, sovereignty, and diplomacy, and how . There will be an optional workshop during this period where elders from various nations will be in attendance in Canberra, where students can learn, participate, and ask questions. Part Three of the course focuses on contemporary issues in Indigenous sovereignty and diplomacy. It will delve into struggles over diplomatic standing and presence in the international system, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, efforts to achieve sovereignty and assert rights, efforts by states to undertake Indigenous diplomacy, and the 2023 Voice to Parliament Referendum.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Describe the main principles and practices of Indigenous Diplomacy in pre-colonial Australia and critically evaluate the ways in which Indigenous peoples have used their traditional practices, knowledges, and experiences in the contemporary international system.
  2. Evaluate how the principles and practices of Indigenous Diplomacy can be valuable in negotiating contemporary inter-nation disputes and transnation governance.
  3. Explain the concepts and principles involved in Indigenous diplomacy within the Australian state in relation to treaty, reconciliation, and constitutional recognition; in particular around the struggle for diplomatic recognition. 
  4. Evaluate the effectiveness of culture, values, and principles involved in the development of the concepts of Voice and Makarrata as proposed in the Uluru Statement From the Heart.
  5. Critically compare Indigenous principles and practices with contemporary western derived inter-state diplomacy, and in particular the contribution such principles might make to broader understandings of diplomacy in the contemporary world.
  6. Demonstrate a sophisticated awareness of the relationality of Indigenous inter-polity relations with western political systems, including both traditional and contemporary practices of diplomacy.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Reflection papers x3 (500 words / 10% each) (30) [LO 1,2,3]
  2. Statement of Intent Research Proposal (1000 words) (20) [LO 1,4,5,6]
  3. Research Essay (3,500 words) (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]

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.


This course requires some 130 hours of work from students, split over face-to-face and self-directed learning.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You will need to contact the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts


Preliminary Reading

A list of relevant readings will be provided each time the course is timetabled.

Assumed Knowledge

Students would benefit from having taken the required Diplomacy Studies courses, including

DIPL8001 Transnational Diplomacy (6 units)

INTR8068 Foreign Policy Analysis (6 units)


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
2024 $4440
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6360
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
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
9306 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 In Person View

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