A Postcolonial International Relations?

Subject POLS40014 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week for 12 weeks.
Total Time Commitment:

Total of 170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Politics and International Studies at Undergraduate level

Non Allowed Subjects: None
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


Assoc. Prof. Phillip Darby


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.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • 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 (30%) due during the semester, and a research paper of 4000 words (70%) 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 submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% 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:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • 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
200 points Master of Arts in Professional and Applied Ethics
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies

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