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AIR204 - Great Power Relations


2020 unit information

Important Update:

Classes and seminars in Trimester 2/Semester 2, 2020 will be online. Physical distancing for coronavirus (COVID-19) will affect delivery of other learning experiences in this unit. Please check your unit sites for announcements and updates one week prior to the start of your trimester or semester.

Last updated: 2 June 2020

Enrolment modes:Trimester 2: Burwood (Melbourne), Waurn Ponds (Geelong), Cloud (online)
Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit Chair:Trimester 2: Chengxin Pan




Incompatible with:

AIR205, AIR245 and AIR345

Typical study commitment:

Students will on average spend 150 hours over the teaching period undertaking the teaching, learning and assessment activities for this unit.

Scheduled learning activities - campus:

1 x 1-hour class and 1 x 1-hour seminar per week

Scheduled learning activities - cloud:

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.


These are the Learning Outcomes (ULO) for this unit

At the completion of this unit, successful students can:

Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes


Demonstrate knowledge and understanding about the relations between the United States and China and demonstrate familiarity and understanding of the structures and processes of foreign policy making in the US and China

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities


Use concepts, evidence, and examples relevant to this unit to present and communicate clear and logical ideas both in the context of seminar discussion and written assignments

GLO2: Communication


Identify and critically analyse the assumptions and arguments in both academic and non-academic (such as media and government documents) sources, and on this basis develop their own persuasive arguments on a certain relevant topic

GLO3 Digital literacy

GLO4: Critical thinking

These Unit Learning Outcomes are applicable for all teaching periods throughout the year


Trimester 2:
Assessment Description Student output Grading and weighting
(% total mark for unit)
Indicative due week

Assessment 1 - (Individual) Essay

2000 words 50% Week 7
Assessment 2 - (Individual) Examination   50% Examination period

The assessment due weeks provided may change. The Unit Chair will clarify the exact assessment requirements, including the due date, at the start of the teaching period.

Learning Resource

The texts and reading list for the unit can be found on the University Library via the link below: AIR204 Note: Select the relevant trimester reading list. Please note that a future teaching period's reading list may not be available until a month prior to the start of that teaching period so you may wish to use the relevant trimester's prior year reading list as a guide only.

Unit Fee Information

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