The study and teaching of International Relations is at a crossroads within and beyond Australia. The old ingredients of international order, settled liberal norms, and the overarching framework of American power are today contested as rising powers seek to create their own place in the global and regional order, and as existing powers face a range of internal and external challenges.
The Department, the first of its kind in Australia, is a world-leading centre of the study of the challenges, opportunities, and processes that emerge from these momentous changes. Since our foundation in 1949, we have approached the challenge of thinking about global and regional affairs with a combination of academic rigour and ethical awareness.
Some of the key questions that our staff are currently researching include: How can we reappraise the historical evolution of the key concepts of world affairs? What does the rise of Asia mean for our understanding of the key concepts and practices of international relations? What will the future of existing military alliances be? What roles will the countries and regions of the Asia-Pacific play in the future and how can we understand these stories? What is Australia’s role regionally and globally not only in the politics of international affairs but as a joint architect of the regional and international order?
In addressing these questions, whether through research, education, or public engagement, the Department today follows in the footsteps of the discipline-leading men and women who have worked here in the past and upon whose inheritance we continue to build. The quality of our academic research has been consistently recognised in various global and national rankings – along with colleagues from across the ANU, we have received a QS ranking for ANU’s Politics and International Studies discipline as sixth in the world and a score of 5 in the most recent ERA.
Dr Mathew Davies, Head of Department