• Offered by Department of International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Diplomacy
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online

The origins of diplomacy can be traced back to at least 3,000 years ago, when, in ancient Mesopotamia (now modern Iraq), sovereigns (usually kings and occasionally queens) of political units (usually tribes or city-states) sought recognition and communication with each other through messengers carrying clay tablets in cuneiform script over vast distances.

These same processes are the core of contemporary diplomacy. But much has changed. The revolution in communications technology provides political units (now states and organisations) and global citizens with real-time digital, verbal and visual connections. How, why and what the implications of such changes are for future theories and practices of diplomacy is puzzling and a matter of much debate.

By taking the longue durée, the long view, and analysing continuities and changes in the forms and functions of diplomacy from its origins to present times, this course aims to engage you in the debate about diplomacy and equip you with ideas that help you develop your own arguments about the theoretical and practical directions that will sustain diplomacy in the digital age, at a time when managing national and global issues cooperatively has never been more critical.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. understand the evolutionary forms and functions of diplomacy, from its origins to the present time, with the objective of understanding what will sustain diplomacy in the digital age
  2. critically engage disciplinary perspectives, such as Diplomatic Studies (DS) and International Relations (IR), with the objective of understanding how diplomacy, past and present is conceptualised and theorised
  3. critically analyse arguments and counterarguments about the impact of changes and continuities in social and political contexts on diplomacy and how diplomacy in turn shapes contexts, with the objective of understanding the two-way relationship and its implications for world politics
  4. debate the impact of digital technologies on the forms and functions on contemporary diplomacy in ways that provide an awareness of graduate studies standards of research, clear writing, argumentation and academic style.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Podcast (10) [LO 3,4]
  2. Online discussion forum (10) [LO 1,3,4]
  3. Minute papers (20) [LO 2,3]
  4. Presentation (20) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  5. Written assignment (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]

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10 hours per week covering classes and personal study

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts



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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There are no current offerings for this course.

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