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IRPG841 – Theories of International Relations

2017 – S1 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
Aleksandar Pavkovic
Aleksandar Pavkovic
Credit points Credit points
4
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MIntRel or PGDipIntRel or GradDipIntRel or MIntCommMIntRel or MIntBusMIntRel or MIntRelMIntTrdeComLaw or MTransInterMIntRel or MConfInt or GradCertIntRel or MPPP or GradCertPP or GradDipPP
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit provides students with a grounding in the principle theoretical approaches to the study of international relations and world order. Beginning with a focus on the historical emergence of traditional approaches such as realism, liberalism and Marxism and their competing perspectives on the causes of war and the conditions for peace, the unit goes on to consider more recent approaches, including gender approaches, critical theory, constructivism, postcolonialism, postmodernism and green theory.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. As a core compulsory unit for all students in the MIR program, this unit provides an essential grounding in theories of International Relations (IR).
  2. Students will gain a critical appreciation of traditional theoretical approaches to the study of international relations as well as of newer approaches that have emerged in recent years.
  3. Students will be able to practically apply IR theory to the analysis of issues in the general field of international politics

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Participation 15% No ongoing
Mid-Semester Test 10% No Multiple
Essay 45% No 21/05/2017
End-of-semester test 30% No 4/06/2017

Participation

Due: ongoing
Weighting: 15%

 Internal Students

Students will be required to participate in the seminars throughout the semester and demonstrate that they have engaged with the prerecorded material and set readings. You are graded on your contribution to class discussion and group work.

Internal students are also required to give a 20 minute presentation once in the semester. Details about this will be forthcoming in the first Seminar.

External Students

Students will participate in weekly online discussions for this unit each week. Responses should be posted before Monday of the following week. The questions that you are required to answer will be accessible via two separate forums. The theme of the first 'Theory Discussion' forum is two general questions about the IR theory (or theories) apropos to the each weeks content. You may chose to provide a longer answer to one question or shorter answers to multiple questions.

The second forum 'Practical Application' requires students to post a suggestions of how one of the theories we discuss each week can be applied to a particular case study. The case study can be either past or present. 

You should post around 250 words in both forum every week (for a total of 500 words). No referencing is required.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • As a core compulsory unit for all students in the MIR program, this unit provides an essential grounding in theories of International Relations (IR).
  • Students will gain a critical appreciation of traditional theoretical approaches to the study of international relations as well as of newer approaches that have emerged in recent years.
  • Students will be able to practically apply IR theory to the analysis of issues in the general field of international politics

Mid-Semester Test

Due: Multiple
Weighting: 10%

A mid-semester test comprising 20 multiple choice questions (worth 1 mark each and 10% of the total assessment) covering material presented in the unit up to and including week 6. The test itself will be conducted at the end of week 6 and will cover material presented in the first 6 weeks. For internal students the test will be conducted in class (7 April) and you will be given one hour to complete the 20 questions.

For external students the test will be administered online. You will have access to the test from 4pm Friday 7 April – 11pm Sunday 9 April. Once you open and start the test, however, you will have only have one hour in which to finish it. You will need to have revise all the material presented in the first 6 weeks of the course to answer the questions before you start the test. You won’t have the time to attempt to simply look answers up during the test.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • As a core compulsory unit for all students in the MIR program, this unit provides an essential grounding in theories of International Relations (IR).

Essay

Due: 21/05/2017
Weighting: 45%

An essay of up to 3,000 words max. (worth 45%). You must include the word count on the title page of your essay. If you don’t provide an accurate word limit you will be penalised. If you exceed the word limit by more than 10% you will be penalised. Essays that are well short of the word limit (more than 10% under) will also be penalised. All essays should be upload it through Turnitin - no hardcopy is required.  Be sure to include examples (one or more case studies) to support your argument. 

Essay Questions

Choose one of the following questions:

1. Elucidate and critically assess the role of ideas about ‘human nature’ in realist and liberal theory.

2. Is the 'democratic peace thesis' realistic?

3. ‘[R]ealists claim to recognize the brute facts about world of international politics for what they are, unclouded by wishful thinking about unobtainable goals.’ (Lawson, 2012, p. 88). Discuss.

4. How relevant is the Marxist critique of capitalism to the analysis of the modern international system?

5. ‘[C]ritical theory focuses attention on the social construction and effects of knowledge …’ (Lawson, 2012, p. 47). Explain this statement and assess the implications for the analysis of world politics.

6. Traditional approaches to IR tend to assume that ‘men make war while women make peace’ (Lawson, 2012, p. 53)? Critically assess this claim.

7. In what ways do postmodern/postructural approaches provide a radical critique of traditional IR theories?

8. How valid is the claim made by proponents of postcolonialism that IR theory is Eurocentric?

9. Is green theory a unique IR theory in its own right? Or does it simply draw upon existing theories and apply them to the particular topic of the environment?

10. What is ‘normative theory’ and how does it relate to ideas about the role of culture in international politics? 

11. Do most IR theories underestimate the role that bureaucratic politics plays in shaping the behaviour of states?

12. Are there current leaders who have adopted the maxims outlined in Machiavelli's 'The Prince'?

13. Contrast the way in which different IR theories conceptualise power in international relations.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • As a core compulsory unit for all students in the MIR program, this unit provides an essential grounding in theories of International Relations (IR).
  • Students will gain a critical appreciation of traditional theoretical approaches to the study of international relations as well as of newer approaches that have emerged in recent years.
  • Students will be able to practically apply IR theory to the analysis of issues in the general field of international politics

End-of-semester test

Due: 4/06/2017
Weighting: 30%

An end-of-semester test worth 30% of the total assessment. Students will be asked to answer a total of 2 short essays out of a choice of ten questions based on the unit material. Answers should be between 500-700 words. The short answer test must also be submitted electronically to turnitin in the same as an assignment and also uploaded to Turnitin. Students must reference any source material, but you do not need to include a bibliography. Answers must be in your own words, and reflect your own thoughts. You have 8 hours to complete the exam on 4 June (exam opens at 9am and closes at 5pm). More details about this will be forthcoming on ilearn.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • As a core compulsory unit for all students in the MIR program, this unit provides an essential grounding in theories of International Relations (IR).
  • Students will gain a critical appreciation of traditional theoretical approaches to the study of international relations as well as of newer approaches that have emerged in recent years.
  • Students will be able to practically apply IR theory to the analysis of issues in the general field of international politics

Delivery and Resources

Teaching Methods/Mode of Delivery

Teaching on the unit consists of online 'flipped' lectures and a 5 day intensive on-campus session.  Students must also be prepared to discuss issues during the seminars based on the recommended readings and the lectures

Prerequisites and Preparation

Students taking this unit inevitably come from a wide range of academic backgrounds. Some students will already have been introduced to the study of IR, and IR theory, at undergraduate level. For others, this unit will be their first experience of the subject, or of the more general field of political studies, of which IR is a part. For those with little or no previous background in the study of politics and IR, it is essential that you do some extra reading and preparation for the unit. Even if you have done some politics and IR before, you will benefit from some revision.

 

Textbooks and Sources: Students make an enormous financial investment in studying for a Master’s degree. Don’t compromise by not investing in the core texts for any unit and relying solely on the library. You are strongly advised to acquire your own copies of the core texts so that you have ready access to them when you need them. You will find that these texts are useful for other units as well. The core texts for IRPG841 are:

Stephanie Lawson, Theories of International RelationsContending approaches to world politics (Polity, 2015) is now available to be purchased at the co-op book store. Most of the readings for each week’s topic will come from this document. The rest of the required readings will be available online

Another text worth purchasing is: Stephanie Lawson, International Relations, (Polity, 2012).  This book introduces students to the general field of IR, explains the emergence of IR theories in an historic context, and examines three major contexts for the application of theoretical concepts, namely: security and insecurity, global governance and world order, and globalization and the state. 

 

 

Unit Schedule

See ilearn

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy (in effect until Dec 4th, 2017): http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html

Special Consideration Policy (in effect from Dec 4th, 2017): https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/special-consideration

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

PG - Discipline Knowledge and Skills

Our postgraduates will be able to demonstrate a significantly enhanced depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content knowledge in their chosen fields.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • As a core compulsory unit for all students in the MIR program, this unit provides an essential grounding in theories of International Relations (IR).
  • Students will gain a critical appreciation of traditional theoretical approaches to the study of international relations as well as of newer approaches that have emerged in recent years.
  • Students will be able to practically apply IR theory to the analysis of issues in the general field of international politics

Assessment tasks

  • Participation
  • Mid-Semester Test
  • Essay
  • End-of-semester test

PG - Effective Communication

Our postgraduates will be able to communicate effectively and convey their views to different social, cultural, and professional audiences. They will be able to use a variety of technologically supported media to communicate with empathy using a range of written, spoken or visual formats.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • As a core compulsory unit for all students in the MIR program, this unit provides an essential grounding in theories of International Relations (IR).
  • Students will gain a critical appreciation of traditional theoretical approaches to the study of international relations as well as of newer approaches that have emerged in recent years.
  • Students will be able to practically apply IR theory to the analysis of issues in the general field of international politics

Assessment tasks

  • Essay
  • End-of-semester test

PG - Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

Our postgraduates will be capable of utilising and reflecting on prior knowledge and experience, of applying higher level critical thinking skills, and of integrating and synthesising learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments. A characteristic of this form of thinking is the generation of new, professionally oriented knowledge through personal or group-based critique of practice and theory.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • As a core compulsory unit for all students in the MIR program, this unit provides an essential grounding in theories of International Relations (IR).
  • Students will gain a critical appreciation of traditional theoretical approaches to the study of international relations as well as of newer approaches that have emerged in recent years.
  • Students will be able to practically apply IR theory to the analysis of issues in the general field of international politics

Assessment tasks

  • Participation
  • Mid-Semester Test
  • Essay
  • End-of-semester test

PG - Research and Problem Solving Capability

Our postgraduates will be capable of systematic enquiry; able to use research skills to create new knowledge that can be applied to real world issues, or contribute to a field of study or practice to enhance society. They will be capable of creative questioning, problem finding and problem solving.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • As a core compulsory unit for all students in the MIR program, this unit provides an essential grounding in theories of International Relations (IR).
  • Students will gain a critical appreciation of traditional theoretical approaches to the study of international relations as well as of newer approaches that have emerged in recent years.
  • Students will be able to practically apply IR theory to the analysis of issues in the general field of international politics

Assessment tasks

  • Essay
  • End-of-semester test

PG - Engaged and Responsible, Active and Ethical Citizens

Our postgraduates will be ethically aware and capable of confident transformative action in relation to their professional responsibilities and the wider community. They will have a sense of connectedness with others and country and have a sense of mutual obligation. They will be able to appreciate the impact of their professional roles for social justice and inclusion related to national and global issues

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Students will be able to practically apply IR theory to the analysis of issues in the general field of international politics

PG - Capable of Professional and Personal Judgment and Initiative

Our postgraduates will demonstrate a high standard of discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgment. They will have the ability to make informed choices and decisions that reflect both the nature of their professional work and their personal perspectives.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • As a core compulsory unit for all students in the MIR program, this unit provides an essential grounding in theories of International Relations (IR).
  • Students will gain a critical appreciation of traditional theoretical approaches to the study of international relations as well as of newer approaches that have emerged in recent years.
  • Students will be able to practically apply IR theory to the analysis of issues in the general field of international politics