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2012/2013  BA-1IRA  International Relations in Asia

English Title
International Relations in Asia

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Course period Spring
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study board
Study Board for Asian Study Programme
Course coordinator
  • Yang Jiang - Department of International Economics and Management
Main Category of the Course
  • Globalization, International Business, markets and studies
  • International Politics
Last updated on 06-08-2012
Learning objectives
At the end of the course the students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of major schools of international relations theory, and be able to identify their different assumptions, logics and arguments.
  • Show a basic understanding of the role of the state, institutions and politics in social and economic affairs at the national, transnational and international levels.
  • Demonstrate an overall view of international relations in Asia, with an emphasis on the pressing issues for the region today.
  • Show an understanding of the heterogeneity of Asian countries and how it shape dynamics among them in regional and global affairs.
  • Demonstrate the ability to critically think and discuss about international relations theory, both from a conceptual angle and from empirical evidence in Asia.
International Relations in Asia:
Type of test Home Assignment
Marking scale 7-step scale
Second examiner Second internal examiner
Exam period Summer Term
Aids Please, see the detailed regulations below
Duration Please, see the detailed regulations below
Individual take-home term paper based on a topic approved by teacher. Max. 10 standard pages.
Course content

This course provides an international political and institutional framework for understanding the economic and social dynamics in contemporary Asia. It introduces major theories of international relations, and discusses how they can be understood in an Asian context. Therefore it not only applies theory to explain and interpret Asian phenomena, but also employs Asian experiences to critique existing theories that are based mainly on Western history. The course is divided into two parts. The first part is organized according to schools of international relations theory: liberalism and neo-liberalism, realism and neo-realism, English school and constructivism, Marxism and critical theory, as well as efforts to establish Asian international relations theory based on Eastern philosophies. The second part discusses issues central to Asia with an emphasis on the role of the state and institutions, including development, environment,
regionalism and the relations between Asia and the rest of the world, including EU, US, Africa etc. and global institutions. The roles of important regional actors such as China, India, Japan and Southeast Asian countries will be used for the discussions about theory and issues.

Teaching methods
Classes are lecture/discussion format.
Further Information

This course is part of the overall Year One theme, "Comparative Cultural and Social Analysis". The course is intended for students of the Asian Studies Programme in general and serves as an intellectual preparation for the 2nd and 3rd year courses.

Expected literature

Week 1: Classic Realism and Liberalism

Kugler, Jacek (2006) ‘The Asian Ascent: Opportunity for Peace or Precondition for War?’, International Studies Perspectives 7, pp.36-42.

Rice, Condoleezza (2005) ‘The Promise of Democratic Peace’, The Washington Post , 11 December.

Green, Michael and Daniel Twining (2008) ‘Democracy and American Grand Strategy in Asia: The Realist Principles Behind an Enduring Idealism’, Contemporary Southeast Asia 30, 1, pp. 1-28.

Week 2: Neorealism and Neoliberalism

Walt, Stephen M. (1988) ‘Testing theories of alliance formation: the case of Southwest Asia’ International Organization 42, 2, pp. 275-316.

Solingen, Eetel (2008) ‘The Genesis, Design and Effects of Regional Institutions: Lessons from East Asia and the Middle East’, International Studies Quarterly 52, pp. 261-94.

<>Debate: There is more competition of interests than potential for cooperation in Asia for regional integration. VS. There is more potential for cooperation than competition of interests in Asia for regional integration.

Week 3: English School and Constructivism

Zhang, Yongjin (1991) ‘China’s entry into International Society: Beyond the Standard of “Civilization”’, Review of International Studies 17, pp.3-16.

Acharya, Amitav. (1997) ‘Ideas, identity, and Institution-Building: From the ‘ASEAN Way’ to the ‘Asia-Pacific Way’?’, The Pacific Review 10, 3: 319-46.

<>Debate: Asia should not adopt global universal norms because of its unique culture. VS. Asia should adopt global universal norms regardless of culture.

Week 4: Marxism and Critical Theory

Dos Santos, Theotonio (2010) ‘Development and Civilisation’, Social Change 40: 95-116.

Bowden, Brett (2004) ‘In the Name of Progress and Peace: The “Standard of Civilization” and the Universalizing Project’, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political 29, pp. 43-68.

Huda, Sigma (2006) ‘Sex Trafficking in South Asia’, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 94, pp.374-81.

<>Debate: The states are the main exploiters in Asia. VS. The developed countries and multinational companies are the main exploiters in Asia.

Week 5: Political Philosophies in Asia

Tamaki, Taku (2007) ‘Confusing Confucius in Asian Values? A Constructivist Critique’, International Relations 21, 3, pp.284-304.

Pye, Michael (2003) ‘Religion and Conflict in Japan with Special Reference to Shinto and Yasukuni Shrine’, Diogenes 50, 3: pp. 45-59.

<>Debate: Asian values can help more to build a peaceful world than Western values can. VS. Western values can help more to build a peaceful world than Asian values can.

Week 6: Growth and Development

Cronin, Richard (2009) ‘Mekong Dams and the Perils of Peace’ Survival 51, 6: pp.147-59.

Helgesen, Geir and Nis Høyrup Christensen (2007) ‘North Korea 2007: Assisting Development and Change’, http://www.niaslinc.dk/gateway_to_asia/nordic_webpublications/

x506031771.pdf , Chapters 2 and 9.

<>Debate: Africa should copy Asian experiences of development. VS. Africa should not copy Asian experiences of development.

Week 7: Climate and Sustainability

Pendleton, Andrew (2010) ‘After Copenhagen’, Public Policy Research 16, 4: pp.210-17.

ITO, Takatoshi, Akira KOJIMA, Colin MCKENZIE and Shujiro URATA (2010) ‘The Environment and Climate Change: Editors’ Overview’, Asian Economic Policy Review 5, 1, http://


<>Debate: An international legally binding agreement is needed to propel environmental protection in Asia. VS. Asian countries should decide their own policies of environmental protection instead of being bound by an international legally binding agreement.

Week 8: Asian regionalism

Ravenhill, John (2010) ‘The ‘new East Asian regionalism’: A political domino effect’, Review of International Political Economy , 17, 2: pp.178-208.

Selden, Mark (2009) ‘East Asian Regionalism and its Enemies in Three Epochs: Political Economy and Geopolitics, 16th to 21st Centuries’, The Asia-Pacific Journal , Vol. 9-4-09.

<>Debate: Asia should and can adopt EU-style regionalism. VS. Asia should not and can not adopt EU-style regionalism.

Week 9: Asia in the World

Kenneth A. Reinert (2007) ‘The European Union, the Doha Round, and Asia’, Asia Europe Journal 5, 3: pp.317-30.

Beeson, Mark and Stephen Bell (2009) ‘The G-20 and International Economic Governance:
Hegemony, Collectivism, or Both’, Global Governance 15, 1: pp.67-86.

<>Debate: The world is mostly divided among civilizations. VS. The world is mostly divided between developed and developing countries.

Last updated on 06-08-2012