POLS1102 The Contemporary International System

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Political Science and International Relations major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category A broadening unit for Bachelor of Arts students where relevant according to the broadening requirements for each student
  • Level 1 elective
This unit enables students to understand the nature of international politics. It looks at the structure of the international system, its evolution, current international political configuration, the role of developing states, and the emergence of various non-state actors in international politics. The ideas of order and justice, and the role of the United Nations, are explored with reference to a range of issues which may include alliances, regionalism, international law, environmental problems, human trafficking, nuclear proliferation, human rights, religion, ethnicity and terrorism. The unit aims to make students familiar with various approaches to the study of international relations and also to give students an appreciation of the complexity of decision making in the current world order. Overall, the unit provides the conceptual and methodological foundations that allows students to begin thinking like an international relations analyst.
Students are able to (1) identify and describe elements of continuity and change in contemporary world politics; (2) identify the types of actors participating in the contemporary international system and describe their characteristics; (3) demonstrate a basic understanding of how the interaction between these actors is regulated (or not regulated) by international norms and institutions; (4) demonstrate a basic understanding of the concepts, theoretical frameworks and discourse conventions of the academic field of international relations; (5) conduct research and analyse evidence from a range of relevant sources, and construct a logical and persuasive argument; (6) develop appropriate interpersonal and oral presentation skills; and (7) as a result of 1 to 6, demonstrate the ability to proceed to the acquisition of specialised and advanced knowledge of the various subfields of international relations.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) written work; (2) tutorial participation and presentation; and (3) examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Samina Yasmeen
Contact hours
3 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.