AIR204 - Great Power Relations

Year: 2019 unit information
Enrolment modes: Trimester 2: Burwood (Melbourne), Waurn Ponds (Geelong), Cloud (online)
Credit point(s): 1
EFTSL value: 0.125
Unit chair:

Chengxin Pan





Incompatible with:

AIR205, AIR245 and AIR345

Contact hours:

Campus: 1 x 1-hour Class and 1 x 1-hour Seminar per week
Cloud (online): 1 x 1-hour class per week (recordings provided) and 1 x 1-hour online seminar per week


International relations and world order are to a large extent defined and shaped by great power relations. In the 21st century no other great power relationship is more important and more complex than that between the United States and China, the two largest economies in the world. With the US and China as Australia’s strongest ally and its largest trading partner respectively, the stake is particularly high for Australia.

Will the U.S. and China be able to cooperate in confronting a raft of global challenges or will their competition lead to hegemonic conflict or even war?

Is the twenty-first century the American or Chinese Century?

To understand such pressing questions, this unit surveys the evolution, dynamics, opportunities, problems, and challenges of this fascinating and important bilateral relationship, as well as some common theoretical and analytical perspectives on great power relations more broadly.


Essay, 2000 words, 50%

Exam, 50%