A Postcolonial International Relations?

Subject POLS40014 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week.
Total Time Commitment:






Recommended Background Knowledge:

Politics and International Studies at Undergraduate level

Non Allowed Subjects:

166-543 A Postcolonial International Relations?

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/


Assoc. Prof. Phillip Darby: pgcd@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

This subject introduces students to postcolonial thought as it might relate to the poltiics of the international. We will use postcolonial discourses to critique the deep Eurocentrism that characterizes so much of disciplinary international relations. Particular attention will be paid to development, security, the struggles of Indigenous peoples and the role of performance. Throughout questions will be raised about the problem of the nation-state, the prospects of rethinking the international from the perspective of everyday life, and the returns that might flow from using alternative source material (imaginative literature, visual culture) and writing differently. The course will mesh closely with seminars and other events at the Institute of Postcolonial Studies. So far as possible, it will be collaborative in nature. On completion of the subject, students should have an understanding of very different ways of approaching international politics, and be able to decide for themselves which kind of knowledges they wish to pursue.

  • be able to relate postcolonial concerns to disciplinary international relations.
  • be able to evaluate the argument that international relations is fundamentally Eurocentric.
  • be able to engage with grassroots approaches to the international such as Subaltern Studies.
  • be able to identify potential points of connection between critical security studies and postcolonialism.
  • be in a position to take postcolonialism in new and exciting directions.
  • be ready to commence research for a postgraduate thesis in international politics.

A class paper of 1000 words (25%) due during the semester, and a research paper of 4000 words (75%) 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. Regular participation in class is required.

Assessment that is submitted after the due date and up to 10 working days late without an approved extension will be marked on a pass/fail basis only. Assessment that is submitted later than 10 working days will not be accepted or marked. 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:
  • be able to apply research skills and critical methods to a field of inquiry.
  • be able to develop persuasive arguments on a given topic.
  • be able to communicate oral and written arguments and ideas effectively and articulately.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of International Relations
200 Point Master of International Relations
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies

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