Special Topics: International Relations

Subject POLS90031 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2011.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week. If enrolments exceed 30, the 2nd hour of the seminar may be split into 2 or 3 small classes.
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: Politics and International Studies at Undergraduate level
Non Allowed Subjects: .
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Professor Ian Clark
Subject Overview:

2011 Topic: Primacy, Hegemony, and Special Responsibilities: The United States in International Order

How is international order managed when there is one preponderant state? This option explores the possible roles of the United States through the theoretical lenses of primacy and hegemony. The first relates the US role to the distribution of power. the second locates it in a context of social legitimacy. Traditionally, great powers have been assigned ‘special responsibilities’ for managing international order, but the nature of these responsibilities differs in the two theoretical accounts. This subject explores the theory, and applies it to policy issues such as climate change, UN Security Council reform, East Asian regional order, and the shaping of the international economic regime.

  • understand the major theories of international order
  • relate theories of great-power management to the unusual distribution of one dominant state
  • apply those theoretical frameworks to major issues of international public policy
  • develop an understanding of the specific potential of the United States, and the constraints on its ability to act
  • engage with the debates about the passing of US primacy or hegemony

A 1,000 word essay (20%) due mid-semester, and a 4,000 word research essay (80%) due during the examination period.

Hurdle Requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. Students who fail to meet this hurdle requirement will be deemed ineligible to submit the final piece of assessment for this subject. Regular participation in class is required.

Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 2% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available for purchase from the University Bookshop

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • develop effective oral and written communication skills
  • display aptitude for theoretical analysis
  • ability to apply research skills to a specific area of inquiry
Related Course(s): Master of International Relations

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