AZA3641 - Diplomacy in contemporary international relations - 2018

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

South Africa School of Social Science

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Victoria Graham


Ms Palesa Nqambaza

Not offered in 2018


ATS2641, ATS3641, AZA2641


Basic understandings of diplomacy in international relations are developed: what diplomacy is, what it entails (structure, process, agenda), what some of the complexities, anomalies and challenges are. Follows the historical trajectory of diplomacy in international relations and deliberates upon what are seen as key historical junctures. Seeks to link the relevance of diplomacy to current international issues, events, relations, and nuances. The course is theoretically grounded and practically useful. Relevance is tied directly to contemporary examples and case studies.


The objectives lie within five inter-related bands. These concern:

  1. factual information
  2. sources and resources
  3. conceptual definition
  4. academic debates
  5. analytic communication skills.

    Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of and familiarity with the following types of information, academic perspectives and skills:

    1. Knowledge of the divergent structures, processes, and agendas that exist in multi-issue areas of diplomacy
    2. An appreciation of the complexities, problems, anomalies, and challenges that diplomatic negotiations undergo
    3. An understanding of what it means to be a diplomat, to partake of diplomatic functions and duties
    4. Grounding in the theoretical and normative debates, discourses, and perspectives underpinning foreign policy decision making
    5. A familiarity of key terminologies such as foreign policy, game theory, levels of analysis, rational choice theory, bureaucratic politics model, group think, instrumental rationality, procedural rationality, policy agenda, mediation, arbitration, negotiation, sanctions, carrot and stick approach, brokering, brinkmanship policies
    6. Experience in conducting independent research and writing tasks, utilising a wide array of primary, secondary, visual, and electronic resources
    7. Improved oral, debating, presentation, and writing skills
    8. Students undertaking this unit at a third year level will be expected to meet all these objective criteria at a higher level of demonstrable and proven competency than those completing the unit at a second year 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

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