• Offered by School of Regulation and Global Governance
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject RegNet
  • Areas of interest Interdisciplinary Studies - Sustainability, International Relations, Law, Policy Studies, Politics
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Anthea Roberts
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Autumn Session 2025
    See Future Offerings

We live in a complex and highly interconnected world. In the 21st century, humanity is facing risks stemming from climate change, pandemics, rising inequality, and great power rivalry, which cannot be understood or managed from the perspective of a single discipline. Domains that were previously kept relatively separate, like economics, national security and the environment, are colliding. Governance regimes are multiplying, fragmenting, and overlapping in a bid to grapple with these challenges. This course considers approaches to governance in the face of complexity. It covers issues such as: what governance and regulatory approaches can we adopt to better understand complex problems? What frameworks can we develop to understand and manage opportunities and risks across domains? How does incremental and transformative change happen and what does it demand of us and our institutions? How can our societies develop more resilience in the face of catastrophic risks?

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of concepts related to complexity, catastrophe and resilience
  2. Critically analyse contemporary national and international challenges relating to the governance of complexity, catastrophe and resilience
  3. Evaluate different governance approaches for responding to these issues and apply them with respect to particular domains
  4. Conduct independent research on governance challenges and approaches to complexity, catastrophe and resilience within a particular domain

Indicative Assessment

  1. Active participation in class (10) [LO 1,2]
  2. Reflection on selected class readings (maximum 1000 words) (20) [LO 1,2,3]
  3. Research essay (maximum 3000 words) (70) [LO 1,2,3,4]

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.


Approximately 60 hours comprising seminars as well as associated preparation, independent study, and assessment time.

Actual time required may vary with individual students.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts


Preliminary Reading

Andreas Duit et al, Governance, Complexity and Resilience, Global Environmental Change 20 (2010) 363–368 

Henry Farrell and Abraham L. Newman, ‘Weaponized Interdependence: How Global Economic Networks Shape State Coercion’, 44 International Security (2019)

Ian Goldin and Mike Mariathasan, The Butterfly Defect: How Globalization Creates Systemic Risks, and What to Do about It (2014)

Ted G. Lewis , Bak's Sand Pile: Strategies for a Catastrophic World (2011)

James Mahoney and Kathleen Thelen, Explaining Institutional Change: Ambiguity, Agency, and Power (2010) 

Thomas Oatley, Toward a poliJames Mahoney and Kathleen Thelen, Explaining Institutional Change: Ambiguity, Agency, and Power (2010) tical economy of complex interdependence, European Journal of International Relations 1 (2019)

Charles Perrow, Normal Accidents (1984)

Charles Perrow, The Next Catastrophe (2011)

Nasim Taleb, The Black Swan (2007) and Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (2012)

Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction (2015)


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:
3 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.

3.00 0.06250
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

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.

Autumn Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
5318 01 Apr 2025 18 Apr 2025 18 Apr 2025 30 Jun 2025 In Person N/A
5377 01 Apr 2025 TBA TBA 30 Jun 2025 Online N/A

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