Special Topics: International Relations

Subject POLS90031 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

February, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 08-Feb-2016 to 18-Feb-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 10-Feb-2016
Census Date 11-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 contact hours: A 3 hour seminar each day, over 8 days in February.
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 Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Prof Andrew Walter




Professor Zhongqi Pan

Subject Overview:

February 2016 Topic

China’s Foreign Policy: A Chinese Perspective

Professor Pan Zhongqi, School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

With the historical rise of China, China’s foreign policy and international behaviour have been hotly debated in both policy and academic circles. Key questions have been raised and approached generally from a western perspective. These include how China handles its border and maritime disputes with neighboring countries, how China’s foreign policy principles and initiatives have been proposed and implemented, whether China will become a revisionist state or a status quo power in the dynamic regional and global orders, how China manages its relations with major powers in the world, and what role China will play in global governance. Various IR theoretical perspectives have attempted to provide answers to these and related questions, but there is little agreement among western analysts. This subject will provide an alternative Chinese perspective on these issues. It will begin with an exploration of the Chinese way of thinking, and distinguish it from western approaches. In addition to contending IR theories, the distinctive Chinese way of thinking will a fresh perspective that will help to decipher China’s otherwise puzzling foreign policy. To better understand China’s international engagement, this subject will examine key issues including China’s foreign policymaking mechanism, new foreign policy initiatives such as One Belt and One Road, China’s regional engagement, China’s handling of land border and maritime disputes, China’s relations with major powers such as the US, China’s position towards international order, and China and global governance.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • be able to demonstrate a specialist understanding of the subject being studied;
  • show a good capacity to communicate research in written form;
  • have developed the analytical skills to evaluate the core issue of the subject;
  • have an awareness of the contemporary theoretical debates in the subject;
  • be able to demonstrate an ability to undertake critical independent research.


Assessment for February availability:

  • A 1,000 word essay (20%) due 2 weeks after the intensive teaching period.
  • A 4,000 word research essay (80%) due during the examination period.

Hurdle requirement: As this is an Intensively-taught subject, Lecture/Seminar attendance is compulsory for all classes. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Reading materials will be available either online or through the LMS.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On competion of this subject students should:

  • develop effective oral and written communication skills;
  • display aptitude for theoretical analysis;
  • ability to apply research skills to a specific area of inquiry.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of International Relations
200 Point Master of International Relations
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Advanced) - Politics and International Studies
PC-ARTS Politics and International Studies
PD-ARTS Politics and International Studies

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