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Unit of study_

GOVT6137: Forces of Change in Int Relations

This unit introduces students to some of the most important contemporary structural changes in the global political economy and power structure with special attention to non-state actors (including corporate ones) and global civil society. The unit begins with an outline of the dominant modes of thinking about international political and economic relations, surveys some of the main theoretical schools and then examines global politics and political economy in terms of those events and forces that have been or are capable of precipitating major change. The historical focus will be principally on the role of war (including the so-called War on Terror), globalisation, power shifts and ideological innovation (including American unilateralism and Islamic fundamentalism) in the post Cold War period. The new agenda of international politics will be explored in a theoretical perspective - including the climate change emergency and the issue of effective global governance; the struggle for global social and economic justice, and the global prospects of democracy. The unit is designed as an advanced introduction to international relations for students pursuing postgraduate studies.


Academic unit Government and International Relations
Unit code GOVT6137
Unit name Forces of Change in Int Relations
Session, year
Semester 2, 2022
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Remote
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Keshab Giri,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Participation Seminar participation
The grade will depend on students' participation in class.
10% - n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1
Assignment hurdle task First Essay
First Essay. Rubric and assessment details provided on canvas
30% Week 07
Due date: 13 Sep 2022 at 23:59

Closing date: 13 Sep 2022
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Participation group assignment Simulation
This is a group role-playing exercise, details to be provided.
30% Week 09
Due date: 04 Oct 2022 at 23:00

Closing date: 04 Oct 2022
2 hours in-class.
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO4 LO6
Assignment hurdle task Final Essay
Final Essay. Rubric and assessment details provided on canvas
30% Week 13
Due date: 01 Nov 2022 at 23:59

Closing date: 01 Nov 2022
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
hurdle task = hurdle task ?
group assignment = group assignment ?

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introductions Seminar (2 hr) LO4 LO6
Week 02 State and International Relations Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 03 Democracy/Democratization Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 04 Washington Consensus and Beijing Consensus Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 05 Systems of Power in IR: Hegemon, Great Power, Middle Power, Small Power Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 06 Multi-Polar World: Rise of India and China Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 07 Decolonization/Neo-Imperialism? Seminar (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 08 Gender in IR: Women in Political Violence Seminar (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 09 Geopolitics in Indo-Pacific: Exercise. Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 10 Mass Atrocities and Prevention in 21st Century Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO6
Week 11 Climate Change and International Relations Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 12 New Era, New Wars and International Relations Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 13 Summary: Things Learnt, Unlearnt, and Yet to Learn Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO6

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.

  • Lecture recording: Most lectures (in recording-equipped venues) will be recorded and may be made available to students on the LMS. However, you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your classroom learning experience.

  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings can be accessed via the Canvas site for this unit.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of world politics, particularly the ideas, pressures and constraints contributing to dynamism
  • LO2. critically examine public and academic discourse and identify the assumptions behind it, and behind students’ own worldview
  • LO3. situate current events within the larger flow of history
  • LO4. engage in critical discussion and debate with respect for, and a desire to understand, other points of view
  • LO5. find and evaluate comprehensive relevant material
  • LO6. communicate effectively and coherently, formally and informally, in discussion and in writing.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
The unit has been updated and modified.


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