Courses & Units

Introduction to International Relations HIR101

Hobart, Launceston


We live in an uncertain and challenging era where global issues increasingly affect our local daily lives. Forty years of uneven globalisation has been accompanied by the rise of corporations, regional and international institutions, and international nongovernmental agencies. As important influencers of decision-making, these agencies have both undermined and transformed the nation state's position as the key actor in world affairs. Despite national, regional and global intergovernmental and multistakeholder governance efforts, the world remains beset with problems. These range from transnational terrorism, pandemic disease, human rights atrocities, war, weapons of mass destruction and global injustices from deep gender inequality to the dramatic, new and daunting sustainability challenges including of climate change that existing institutions seem ill-equipped to resolve. How should these challenges be met? Can states acting alone solve these old and new global problems as the new populist nationalism appears to believe? Or should regional and international institutions and new multistakeholder governance organisations play a larger role? How should we address other important issues such as the world's economic division into the rich, developed 'North' and the poor, developing 'South'?

Tackling these challenges requires understanding as deeply as we can the strengths and weaknesses of different explanations for the nature of world affairs. Is it effectively a struggle for power as IR Realists suggest? Or is it better conceptualised as an evolutionary process of global rule making that makes peace and universal justice possible as IR Liberals argue? Is it based on capitalist exploitation by footloose corporations, a view put forcefully by neo-Marxists? And why do women remain invisible in IR theory despite ‘holding up half the sky’, a critique made be IR Feminists observe? Finally, what is the role of IR discourse itself in the production and reproduction of ideas that shape the way we view the ‘reality’ we purport to study? We will consider these vital questions in this unit as we examine both conventional and new approaches to international relations and world politics.

This unit aims to provide students with an introduction to the process, substance, and changing nature of international relations and world politics, including a basic knowledge of some key theoretical debates in the field. After completing this unit students will have a broad understanding of international relations, which will serve as a useful base for the more advanced international politics units offered by the Program in Politics and
International Relations.


Unit name Introduction to International Relations
Unit code HIR101
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Arts, Law and Education
School of Social Sciences
Discipline Politics and International Relations

Assoc Prof Fred Gale

Teaching staff

Level Introductory
Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? No


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 2 On-Campus International Domestic
Launceston Semester 2 On-Campus Off-Campus International International Domestic Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 2 13/7/2020 10/8/2020 31/8/2020 18/10/2020

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (see withdrawal dates explained for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2020 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2020 will be available from the 1st October 2019.

About Census Dates



Band CSP Student Contribution Full Fee Paying (domestic) Field of Education
1 2020: $835.00 2020: $2,108.00 090103

Fees for next year will be published in October. The fees above only apply for the year shown.

Please note: international students should refer to this page to get an indicative course cost.


Mutual Exclusions

You cannot enrol in this unit as well as the following:

HSA101, HSA102, HSD101, HSD102 , HSG102, HSG106


Teaching Pattern

On Campus: 1 x 2hr Lecture (13 weeks), 1 x 1hr tutorial (12 weeks);

Off Campus: web-based delivery (13 weeks)


2,000-word essay (35%), 500-word paper (10%), tutorial assessment including online quizzes (25%), 2-hr end-of-semester exam (30%)

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Information about any textbook requirements will be available from mid November.

Booktopia textbook links

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