• Offered by Department of Pacific Affairs
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Pacific Studies
  • Areas of interest Development Studies, Political Sciences
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Graeme Smith
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

The Pacific Islands region, on Australia’s doorstep, is a region of diverse political traditions, complex developmental challenges and continuing strategic importance. Australia is the region's largest aid donor, reflective of a close - but contested - relationship. This course provides an overview of contemporary political and developmental issues in the region, including ongoing processes of decolonisation, coups and constitutional crises, and the existential threat of climate change. It also examines how the politics of aid plays out in an evolving geostrategic environment, as China becomes an increasingly influential regional player.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify and discuss key debates and theories in Pacific politics and development and apply these to different case studies
  2. Identify and discuss different approaches to politics, aid and development in the region and apply these to different case studies
  3. Analyse critical contemporary political and developmental challenges in the region
  4. Demonstrate advanced skills in critical thinking, reading, writing and oral presentation

Indicative Assessment

  1. A presentation on key political and/or developmental issues facing a particular Pacific Islands state, presented as part of a ‘mock Pacific Islands Forum’ (10) [LO 2,3,4]
  2. A 1250 word policy brief on an issue of relevance to the Australian aid program in the Pacific (25) [LO 2,3,4]
  3. A 3000 word research essay on a topic related to politics, aid and development (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  4. A take home exam covering key themes of the course, in the exam period (25) [LO 1,2,4]

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.


120 hours – 36 contact hours, 84 hours of library/online work.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

Each week students will have a set of required readings (usually 2-3 journal articles or book chapters) and additional supplementary readings. As there is no suitable textbook for this course, the readings will draw on a range of sources.

Preliminary Reading

Carter, George and Stewart Firth (2015) 'The Mood in Melanesia After the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands', Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies 3 (1): 16-25.

Dornan, Matthew and Jonathan Pryke (2017), Foreign Aid to the Pacific: Trends and Developments in the Twenty-First Century. Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies 4 (3): 386-404.

D'Arcy, Paul, The People of the Sea: Environment, Identity and History in Oceania. Honolulu, University of Hawai'i Press, pp. 5-26.

Evans, Gareth (1988), Australia in the South Pacific, Address to the Foreign Correspondents’ Association, Sydney, 23 September.

Fry, Greg (2019) Framing the Islands: Power and Diplomatic Agency in Pacific Regionalism, Canberra, ANU Press.

Hau’ofa, Epeli (1994), Our Sea of Islands, The Contemporary Pacific 6 (1): 148-161.

Jetnil-Kijiner, Kathy (2014), Statement and poem, United Nations Climate Summit Opening Ceremony, 24 September.

Kabutaulaka, Tarcisius (2015), Re-Presenting Melanesia: Ignoble Savages and Melanesian Alter-Natives’, The Contemporary Pacific 27 (1): 110-145.

The Little Red Podcast. ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? Inside the Solomons’ Big Switch.’ Podcast available here: https://omny.fm/shows/the-little-red-podcast/should-i-stay-or-should-i-go-now-inside-the-solomo

McDonald, Ewen (2020) ‘Realising the Pacific’s Vision for Stability, Security and Prosperity.’ Security Challenges 16 (1): 17-25.

Payne, Marise (2020) Australia and the world in the time of COVID-19, Speech, National Security College, Australian National University, 16 June.

Teaiwa, Katerina (2019), 'No Distant Future: Climate Change as an Existential Threat', Australian Foreign Affairs, 6: 51-70.

Wallis, Joanne & James Batley (2020) 'How does the 'Pacific' fit into the 'Indo-Pacific'? The changing geopolitics of the Pacific Islands.' Security Challenges 16 (1): 1-16.


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
8908 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 In Person View
9079 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 Online View

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