ATS3705 - Knowledge and power in world politics - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Politics and International Relations


Associate Professor Maria Rost Rublee

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


How does power operate in world politics? What is the relationship between power and knowledge about world politics? This unit introduces students to debates in the discipline of International Relations that focus on epistemological questions (or how we know what we know). Students will examine foundational, critical, post-structuralist, feminist and post-colonial approaches to knowledge and power within the discipline and explore their implications for key contemporary issues such as the rise of China and the legacies of colonialism. Contending theoretical perspectives offer different possibilities for interpreting politics and acting politically. The unit aims to develop students' critical awareness of the relationship between the politics of knowledge and our options for political practice.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. contextualise the discipline of International Relations within the history of the social sciences;
  2. demonstrate understanding of the relationship between knowledge and power and its implications for world politics;
  3. apply and compare diverse theoretical perspectives in order to define and analyse issues in world politics;
  4. demonstrate an understanding of the different possibilities for action that are enabled by contending theoretical perspectives in International Relations;
  5. communicate complex ideas in a manner (written and spoken) appropriate to an academic and general audience;
  6. demonstrate independent research skills appropriate for the capstone level.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units. It is highly recommended that students only take this unit after they have completed two gateway and two cornerstone units in International Relations.