• Class Number 2948
  • Term Code 3430
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic Performing Diplomacy: Past and Present
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Deepak Nair
    • Dr Michael Varnay
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 19/02/2024
  • Class End Date 24/05/2024
  • Census Date 05/04/2024
  • Last Date to Enrol 26/02/2024
SELT Survey Results

This course will be occasionally scheduled to offer one-off opportunities to study under visiting experts, or to showcase a new teaching area. Information on the particular topic offered under this course will be outlined in the ‘Other Information’ section, including topic title, the topic convenor, and an indication of workload and indicative assessment. The topics offered each year will vary in response to current issues and emerging research. Details of the topic(s) of the coming year are available from the convenor.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the major issues in, and concepts associated with the special topic area;
  2. Confidently apply relevant theory and concepts to the study of the special topic area;
  3. Critically evaluate approaches to the study of the special topic area;
  4. Adapt theory, concepts and approaches to the special topic area as a result of independent enquiry;
  5. Demonstrate effective communication skills in written and/or other formats.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction - 'Performing' Diplomacy
2 Stability, Status, and the Purpose of Performance
3 Diplomats and the Institutions that Make Them
4 Representing the State? Ambassadors and Diplomats
5 Setting the Stage – Space, Geography, and Proximity
6 Authority and Power – Establishing Roles and Identity
7 ‘Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick’ – The Military and Diplomacy
8 Entertainment, Sport, and Spectacle as Diplomatic Performance
9 When Performances Fail – The Consequences of Diplomatic Blunders
10 Behind Closed Doors – Diplomacy, Legitimacy, and the Absence of Formality
11 ‘The Undiscovered Country’ – Establishing Peace and the Birth of New Orders
12 Conclusion – The Future of Performing Diplomacy

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Participation 10 % *
Ritual Analysis - 1500 Words 30 % 19/03/2024 1,2,5
Essay Plan - 1000 Words 20 % 16/04/2024 3,4
Research Essay - 2500 Words 40 % 21/05/2024 1,2,3,4,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 


Students are expected to actively participate in the course. This means conscientiously viewing lectures, attending seminars, completing readings, asking questions, and engaging in discussions both in groups and as a class.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 19/03/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,5

Ritual Analysis - 1500 Words

This assessment task provides the opportunity for students to apply the theoretical concepts discussed in class to real world cases. They will determine what the ritual seeks to convey, how it goes about doing so, and its effectiveness in communicating this. Students may select ONE of a possible FIVE cases.


i.) Attari-Wagah border ceremony

ii.) 2015 China Victory Day Parade

iii.) Opening of the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly

iv.) Coronation of Elizabeth II

v.) Funeral of Joseph Stalin


These run the gamut from routine everyday rituals to profound and seismic events in the course of international life. Nevertheless, each captures a moment wherein actors are engaged in a ritual whose ramifications extend beyond the immediacy of their performance.

The analysis is structured in the following manner. Section 1 provides background information including the context in which the ritual is performed, the type of ritual it can be classified as, and the meaning it conveys. Section 2 looks at the performance itself, and the process by which meaning is conveyed through the actions of participants. Section 3 considers how it is staged in a particular location and how participants are positioned within it. Section 4 explores the outcome of the ritual and its impact beyond the initial performance.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 16/04/2024
Learning Outcomes: 3,4

Essay Plan - 1000 Words

For their second piece of assessment, students will complete an essay plan for one of the assigned questions (see Assessment 4). This is intended to help students as they prepare for their research essay. It requires students to i.) provide an overview of their argument in response to the question and ii.) outline how they seek to demonstrate this across the main body of their essay. 

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 21/05/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Research Essay - 2500 Words

The final piece of assessment consists of a research essay answering ONE question. Students can select from FIVE potential questions which have been provided below. 

i.) Do actors prioritise ensuring their status during diplomatic performances at the expense of stabilising relationships with other actors?

ii.) Are diplomatic practitioners’ simply representatives of the state or do they maintain their own agency and interests during performances?

iii.) Is the symbolism of diplomatic performances today less important than it has been historically?

iv.) What are the consequences of disruptions to the formalities associated with diplomatic performances?

v.) In what ways can diplomatic rituals be transformative events within the international system?

Each question engages with different concepts and themes discussed during seminars. The assessment requires you to draw on the concepts discussed in this course with your own research. Your essay should develop a sustained argument, in response to one of the questions below. It should have a clear introduction (with a topic, motivation, thesis, and outline of how the essay will proceed), a well-reasoned and organized body, and conclusion recapitulates the argument made. The essay should use primarily academic sources (chiefly those covered in the literature review) and should be your own, original work. 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

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.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded. OR Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Dr Deepak Nair

Research Interests


Dr Deepak Nair

Sunday 11:00 12:00
Dr Michael Varnay

Research Interests

Dr Michael Varnay

Wednesday 11:00 12:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions