University of Technology Sydney

976001 Foundations in International Studies

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2022 is available in the Archives.

UTS: International Studies: International Studies and Global Societies
Credit points: 8 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject provides students with an introduction to international studies that locates students' particular place and identities in relation to contemporary local, national and international issues, positions and perspectives. The subject has a strong focus on transcultural and national comparisons. Key concepts covered include Indigenous knowledges, identities and worldviews, transculturation, migration, empires, and nation-states, alongside case study discussions of religion, languages, food, music, sport, and the environment. The subject guides students towards an ethical and self-reflective awareness of how the international starts here, where we are now, while building students' critical thinking capacities, and their academic research, presentation, and writing skills.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

a. Reflect critically on on key concepts of the “international”
b. Develop ethical understandings of studying diverse peoples and cultures
c. Adopt a self-reflective stance about our place in the world
d. Find and use appropriate information when researching
e. Communicate effectively (written, audiovisual, oral)

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject engages with the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs), which are tailored to the Graduate Attributes set for all graduates of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (INT = International Studies CILOs):

  • Conduct independent research into contemporary societies and cultures. (INT.2.1)
  • Evaluate research findings and creatively use research methods in International Studies. (INT.2.2)
  • Reflect on and use knowledge of contemporary societies to engage with diverse cultures. (INT.3.1)
  • Value Indigenous knowledges and sovereignty in Australian and international settings. (INT.4.1)
  • Develop capacity to engage with current issues and to act ethically in Australian and international settings. (INT.5.1)
  • Communicate clearly and effectively in written and spoken English. (INT.6.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

International Studies as it is taught in the Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (BAIS) constitutes a practice of ethical, self-reflective and critical approaches to different societies and peoples. In this subject, learning springboards from the premise that the international begins here, where we are now. Students establish competencies in the basic concepts needed to understand and question their place in the world, and to consolidate the methodological skills needed for reading and thinking critically, building an argument, and using academic and non-academic materials in research.

Learning is based on students preparing before tutorials each week through pre-seminar work including set readings and online activities. Students extend this learning in tutorials, through structured learning activities, class discussion and workshopping of assignments. Pre-class preparation is needed in the tutorials to participate in class discussions and engage with assignment workshops. Every week there will be a tutorial and independent study.

Students will receive informal feedback from tutors through class discussions on their use of subject ideas and content, and their ways of expressing opinions and evidence. In the assignments students extend their learning further, and demonstrate their capacities in relation to the subject’s learning objectives. Formative feedback about the first assessment task, Mapping Our World, will be provided in assignment workshops in tutorials from week two through to week five.

Content (topics)

This subject aims to increase and desimplify students’ understanding of the international, and what it means to be an internationalised student and a global citizen in the contemporary world. This aim is framed and managed pedagogically through the conceptual lens of transculturation. Transculturation is applied and reconfigured across numerous disciplines and sociocultural and geographical settings, and has given rise to, or influenced, important attendant concepts such as contact zones and borderlands. Expanding out from transculturation are the subject’s other key concepts (to be embedded in the content on a weekly basis, and signposted gently from week one), noted below. The subject is divided into two parts:

1) week one to week six introduces students to key concepts and historical developments (Indigenous knowledges, migration, languages, political histories of empires and nation-states, borders and borderlands);

2) week seven to week twelve present a set of engaging case study discussions that convert the subject’s implicit theoretical and conceptual approach to the international into accessible, real world and student-relevant/engaged topics: religion, food, music, sport, environment.

Content (topics)

Indigenous knowledges, migration, empires, de/colonisation, nation-states, transculturation, cultural identities, contact zones, borderlands, cultural mixings


Assessment task 1: Mapping Our World


c, d and e

Weight: 30%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Feasability of research design - information gathering, presenting findings 30 d INT.2.1
Depth of critical reflection on one's own local place in relation to the wider world 40 c INT.5.1
Clarity and coherence of communication (reflection) 30 e INT.6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Group Presentation: Worldviews and Indigenous Sydney


a, b, c, d and e

Weight: 30%

Presentations should be 15 minutes long, then the presenters should engage the class in discussion on their topic for a further 5 minutes.

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Feasibility and appropriateness of research design 20 d, e INT.2.1
Depth of analysis of reading 20 a, d INT.2.2
Degree of insight on one’s own worldview in relation to the Indigenous worldviews in the case study 30 b, c INT.4.1
Demonstrated procedural skills for group work 10 e INT.6.1
Clarity of communication in presentation 20 e INT.6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Essay


a, d and e

Weight: 40%

2000 words (excluding the reference list).

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Feasibility of research design - information gathering, presenting findings 30 d INT.2.1
Quality of research, analysis and problem solving 30 a INT.2.2
Quality of communication (appropriate organisation, expression and formatting) 20 e INT.6.1
Evidence of critical reflection on key concepts of the "international" 20 a INT.3.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes


Please see the list of readings for each week in the relevant folder of FIS subject on UTSOnline. They are free to download from the UTS Library Subject Resources eReadings for the subject.