Contemporary Asian Studies - 3rd year

Provides students with opportunities to deepen their understanding of East and Southeast Asian nations through theoretical analysis and basic research. The course will clarify social, political, economic and cultural problems of the Asian nations and the origins or causes of these problems.


By the end of this course, students will be able to:

1. Identify important problems in nations of the Far East and Southeast Asia, and understand the differences and similarities existing in those problems through theoretical thinking;

2. Analyze the impact of international relations on Asian nations with a special focus on “globalism vs. regionalism”;

3. Identify and explain forces of social change (i.e., industrialization, urbanization, the nuclear family, etc.) and their impact on the culture of Asian nations;

4. Plan his/her own research and produce a research paper through library work and basic data analysis;

5. Identify what roles the student needs to play to cope with ongoing or future problems in Asia.


This course consists of three periods, namely theorization, familiarization, and specialization periods. Major topics to be dealt in each period are as follows:

1. Theorization Period

a. Philosophical orientation (The meanings of society and nation-state)
b. Theories of social change (Modernization theory, Dependency Theory etc.)
c. Theories of political change (Functionalism, System Theory etc.)
d. How to organize research

2. Familiarization Period

a. Geopolitical features of the Asian nations (Land, people, and resources)
b. Impact of history (Legacy of colonialism, influence of the Cold War)
c. Cultural commonalities and differences among the Asian nations (Ethnicity, Religion, and Culture)
d. Economic development (Important substitution, Export or oriented product)
e. Process and degree of social change (Urbanization, Industrialization, etc.)
f. International relations (APEC, EAEC, ASEAN)

3. Specialization Period: Research Paper Project

a. Problem identification (Deciding research topics)
b. Data collection (Library work)
c. Research report (Class room presentation)

Method of Instruction:

1. Lectures

2. Class discussion

3. Video

4. Country report presentation

5. Data analysis

6. Research paper presentation

Types of Assignments:

1. The student will be given a small quiz each week and write a one-page-long short essay for each quiz
2. Every student will be in charge of reporting about two countries in Asia in both oral and written forms
3. The student will write a ten-page-long research paper, which identifies an important problem in the Asian country of his/her choice

Sample Text:

1. The World of Asia by Akira Iriye (Edward J. Lazzerini and William J. Miller, Wheeling, IL, 1995)

2. The Asian Pacific: Political and Economic Development in a Global Context. Vera Simone, Ann T. Feraru. (Longman Publishers, 1995.)

3. East and Southeast Asia. (Ed. Colin Mackerras. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1995.)