Teaching Foreign Policy Analysis in Australia: On Cultivating an 'FPA Disposition'

Australian Journal of International Affairs

Author/s (editor/s):

Benjamin Day

Publication year:


Publication type:

Journal article

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Taylor & Francis

Benjamin Day, ‘Teaching Foreign Policy Analysis in Australia: On Cultivating an “FPA Disposition” ’, Australian Journal of International Affairs, online, 7 November 2019: 1-7.

The United States-centric nature of the Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) subfield poses a range of pedagogical challenges, especially when the subject is taught outside North America. The preponderance of FPA literature written by US scholars and examining US cases can frustrate non-US students, who often wish to study decisions they consider more directly relevant to their own region and experience. I this piece, I reflect on how I have grappled with this tension in teaching a postgraduate FPA course at the Australian National University. I discuss my choice to prioritise cultivating an ‘FPA disposition’ among students and how, as a means of doing so, I chose to design a curriculum based on a semester-long case study examining the US decision to invade Iraq in 2003. While this pedagogical approach may initially seem contradictory to my long-term aim of contributing to the expansion of FPA beyond North America, it reflects my conviction that instilling an ‘FPA disposition’ in the next generation of graduate students is essential to growing and enriching the subfield in the long term.

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