pol5ric ir past and present




Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This introductory subject provides an overview of the major historical developments since the birth of the discipline of International Relations (IR) at the beginning of the 20th century. It focuses on surveying the major events that have shaped the international system, tracking the significant power shifts that have occurred during each period, and the theories that have been developed in response to this changing context. Topics include: the World Wars; post-War II construction of global institutions; the Cold War; decolonisation; post-Cold War globalisation; the 'war on terror'; humanitarian intervention; the Great Recession; and American decline and rising powers. Students will gain a comprehensive overview of the historical debates that have shaped the discipline of IR and an appreciation of the historical roots of contemporary international politics.

SchoolSchool of Humanities & Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorDaniel Bray

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 5 - Masters

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites Must be enrolled in HUSS Graduate Diploma or Masters Degree or through subject coordinator's approval.


Incompatible subjects POL4CIR; POL5CIR

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditions Core subject for the Master of International Relations (AMIRL/AMIRS), Graduate Diploma of International Relations(AGIR) and Graduate Certificate of International Relations (ACIR)

Learning resources


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsInternational Relations Since 1945: A Global HistoryRecommendedYoung, J.W and Kent, J. (2013) 2nd editionOxford University Press
ReadingsIntroduction to International Relations: Enduring Questions and Contemporary PerspectivesRecommendedGrieco, J., Ikenberry, G.J. and Mastanduno (2015)Palgrave Macmillan

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Students will have extensive knowledge of key historical periods that shape contemporary international relations.

Seminar participation; Weekly Blog Posts; Historical Brief

02. Students will use their advanced knowledge to critically analyse texts about the history of international relations

Weekly Blog Posts

03. Students will design and execute a substantial research project that provides a historical background to an institution or issue in International Relations.

Historical Brief

Subject options

Select to view your study options…

Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne, 2019, Semester 1, Day


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorDaniel Bray

Class requirements

SeminarWeek: 10 - 22
One 2.0 hours seminar per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via blended.


Assessment elementComments%ILO*
Weekly Blog Posts (2500 words)5001, 02
Historical Brief (2500 words)5001, 03