To view the course descriptions of the Warwick-NTU Double Masters Programme offered at the University of Warwick, please click here.
This course is fundamental to mastering the academic discipline once known as Oriental Studies. International history allows for deeper analysis of interstate tensions, domestic issues and policy-related problems constructed over time. It leverages on traditional studies of diplomacy and statecraft, as well as economics, strategy, domestic politics and intelligence, globalism, regionalism and even ‘culturalism’, encompassing multi-dimensional ‘occidental’ and ‘oriental’ viewpoints. A key objective would be to relate Asia’s international history to its contemporary international politics. Teaching themes include (i) the critical importance of a historical method that combines investigation with imagination; (ii) the comparative influence of Indian, Chinese, Islamic, and Western civilization on different parts of the continent, at different times; and (iii) the cumulative impact of colonization and decolonization, global war and asymmetric conflict, along with ‘glocalization’ and ‘fragmegration’ via nationalist and separatist movements. Collectively, such themes lead us to ask fundamental questions about the evolution of Asian modernity and regional identity, as advanced or contested by forces both internal and external. Conducted as a series of graduate-level seminars, this course utilizes primary sources and scholarly interpretations from various parts of the world to map continuity and change across East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Western Asia.
This course is a core seminar on comparative politicsatheories and methods with special reference to Asia. Some of the topics we will cover include the development of comparative politics as a field, methodologies used in comparative politics, such as authoritarianism, democratisation, corporatism, nationalism, nation-building, modernisation, development, dependency theory, state-society relations (including civil-military relations), identity and ethnic politics, social movements, revolutions, institutional analysis, political culture, and political economy. We will discuss the relative merits of rational choice, cultural, and institutional approaches.
This course will examine the dynamics of the domestic politics of Southeast Asia. Within the framework of Comparative Politics, this course focuses on the political actors, institutions, and. processes that define the characteristics of political systems in the region. It will explore and analyse the challenges that states face along several themes which include, among others: political development and legitimacy; democratisation and globalisation; the role of elites and civil societies; ethnic and religious conflicts; and the politics of identity. While the course adopts a comparative country study approach, the objectives however go beyond knowing about the Southeast Asian countries. More importantly, it aims to enable students to think conceptually and comparatively about differing political systems and processes, and to critically analyse common problems, issues, and trends that cut across the dynamics of governance and politics of Southeast Asia.
This course will address the dynamics of maritime security in Asia with a particular focus on issues of concern in Southeast Asia, including the safety and security of shipping using the vital waterways in the region. Shipping and seaborne trade continue to grow and the marine environment of the region is under increased threat from higher levels of land-based marine pollution, increased shipping traffic, degradation of marine habitats, and over-fishing. Meanwhile, naval budgets in the region are increasing and there is a risk of maritime strategies becoming competitive rather than cooperative. Law and order problems at sea are becoming more serious with piracy and armed attacks against ships, people smuggling, and drug smuggling, as well as the threat of maritime terrorism. Countering this illegal activity is handicapped by the lack of maritime boundaries in many parts of the region and conflicting claims to sovereignty over offshore islands. All these issues place a premium on the need for cooperation and regime building to address them. This need will be an important theme of the course.
This course evaluates the main currents in Indonesia’s domestic politics since its independence in 1945. It evaluates the institutions, processes and practices of Indonesian politics. It begins with a basic analysis of pre-colonial and Dutch colonial history, the experiences of Japanese occupation, revolution, and the independence period divided into the sub-periods of Parliamentary Democracy, Guided Democracy, the New Order, and the current Reform era. The course identifies the major actors in the political system, the nature of their interaction and the sources of their power. It seeks to answer some of the more complex questions in the study of Indonesian politics: Is Indonesia a democracy? Who rules Indonesia: the politicians, the bureaucrats or the military? What are the causes of political corruption and money politics? Other themes include the impact of electoral reforms; civil-military relations; the politics of patronage; the resurgence of Islam; issues of national integration; and the role of the government in the economy. Whilst highlighting the more distinctive aspects of Indonesian politics, the broader comparative perspective is not ignored, with references to democratic theory, pluralist, elitist, and corporatist models of interest groups, electoral theory and other concepts. Contemporary policy problems are examined, including military, environmental and administrative reforms and decentralisation.
The course examines the successes and failures of Malaysian State, Society and Politics. The “State” is the vestibule of political power and includes all those institutions of government and political governance. “Society” represents all those other activities arising from business and the civil society that are not directly related to the “State”. In this course, “politics” refers to the distribution of power across private and public domains. Malaysia’s constitutionally enshrined system of federal government exhibits unitary state characteristics rather than a federalist tone involving greater political devolution. The course also includes the role and function of the Malaysian Armed Forces and the Malaysian Special Forces. The course emphasises an understanding of the shifting “Triangle of Power” that has evolved dramatically since the introduction of the NEP (1970). Students are encouraged to explore and consult as many historical and contemporary works on Malaysian politics well beyond those listed in the readings. State, Society and Politics in Malaysia includes all political, economic, and social activities across all Malaysian states in the Semenanjung, and the Eastern Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak and has been designed for the newcomer to Malaysian politics.
AS6013 State, Society, and Politics in China This course is intended to be an in-depth examination of the key aspects of contemporary Chinese political economy. There will be four major parts in the course. First, it will quickly survey the political and economic legacies left by Mao. Second, it will look at the origins of China’s reform and opening up policy, and the political dynamics of the incremental reform approach. Special attention will be paid to the questions of why and how China adopted and implemented its gradualist reform program. In the third part, the course will focus on the results and consequences of the reform, including such topics as the changes in centre-local relations, state-society relations, income gap and regional imbalance, rural political economy, and social instability and social welfare. In the last section, we the course will aim to provide an understanding of Chinese society in the broader context of globalisation, the ideological and institutional evolutions of the CCP, and China’s political reforms. The ultimate purpose of the course is to encourage students to understand and analyse contemporary China by grasping the complex interactions of cultural, historical, societal, political, economical, as well as global forces.
Non-Traditional Security (NTS) issues are challenges to the survival and well-being of peoples and states that arise primarily from non-military sources. These challenges include climate and environmental change, resource scarcity, infectious diseases, natural disasters, irregular migration, food shortages, people smuggling, drug trafficking, and transnational crime. These dangers are often transnational in scope. They typically defy unilateral solutions and they customarily demand the attention of multiple agencies and states. This seminar investigates the idea and scope of non-traditional security, the key trends and developments in NTS, and the multifaceted strategies that have been implemented to address NTS issues in Asia. It will also provoke thinking on future trends in NTS and consider new strategies to deal with the challenges posed by new developments in NTS.
The course aims to provide students with a better understanding of the dynamics and characteristics of Islam in Southeast Asia. It seeks to examine the role played by Islam at the political and societal levels by examining Muslim societies in mainland and maritime Southeast Asia and introducing students to the religio-political history and contemporary issues affecting Muslims in Southeast Asia. It surveys Muslim societies in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Southern Thailand and Philippines, Burma and Cambodia) and specific themes that are relevant to both the academic and policy communities alike. There are three key sections to the module. In the first section, students will be presented with a general outline of the history and central teachings of Islam, methodology of studying Islam in Southeast Asia as well as the history of Islam in Southeast Asia. The second section will focus on the two largest Muslim countries in the region, Malaysia and Indonesia. The third section tackles the issue of Islam and violence in the region by examining the Islamic insurgencies in southern Thailand and southern Philippines as well communal violence involving Muslims in Myanmar and Cambodia (during the Pol Pot era) and the threat of terrorism to the region.
States and their policies are critical to businesses and the markets in which they operate. Even in countries where states play a ‘minimalist’ role, they are active in regulating market interactions and enforcing rules. In other countries, the state takes on a more extensive role, even acting as a player in the market. However, the relationship between the state and business groups is not static or one-way. Business groups in different countries have varying degrees of cohesiveness and influence. Furthermore, as specific economic sectors grow and mature, state-business relations must change accordingly. And, as economic globalization progresses, the scope for state action also changes. Using theory and case studies from the region, this course explores the ways that states and businesses can influence each other.
This course will examine and discuss the various facets of China’s foreign and security policy in the post-Cold War era. The course is divided into three parts. The first section will explore the key context underpinning the study of Chinese foreign and security policy—the rise of China. In particular, we will look at the debates on China’s rise, the history and identity dynamics of this ascendancy, and China’s strategic approaches vis-à-vis its rise. The second section will focus on some key relationships in China’s foreign affairs, with particular emphasis on its relations with the United States as well as its relations with important players in the Asian geopolitical space. The third section will look at some of the most important issues in Chinese foreign and security policy. They include the question of China’s engagement with the global order, the structure of Chinese power, the role of the military, Chinese security issues, and the processes of security/foreign policy making in China.
The course introduces the ideological and geopolitical drivers of India’s foreign and security policy. The first part delves into the sources of India’s conduct by focusing on the ancient origins of its strategic culture and the enduring legacy of the British security structures. The second part analyses the evolution of India’s policies in the three concentric circles that surround it— the immediate neighbourhood, the extended neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean, and the global system. The final section focuses on the new policy challenges to India as a rising power. The emphasis will be on understanding the India’s difficult transition from a weak third world state to a potential great power that can shape the regional and international system.
National, cultural, religious and ethnic identities form an important and inescapable element of modern-day politics. This course addresses the issues of nationalism and multiculturalism in contemporary societies by examining the key concepts and theories as well as the specific problems and cases relevant to the understanding and practice of nationalism and multiculturalism. The course deals with the following topics: (1) theoretical understandings of identity; (2) understanding nationalism; (3) benefits and problems of nationalism; (4) understanding difference and the multicultural; (5) multiculturalism and the management of difference; (6) national resilience and the future of nationalism and multiculturalism. In each case, the course offers a critical examination of the existing theoretical literature together with empirical examples, case studies and problems.
This is an introductory course aimed at students with little or no background knowledge in linguistics or philosophy of language. It is divided into two parts: Part I introduces the students to the fundamental theories of discourse analysis, including a brief introduction to linguistics and philosophy of language. It aims to identify what is a ‘discourse’ and how discourse function. Main authors to be studied include Saussure, Locke, Ayer, Russell and Wittgenstein (Texts provided). The second part involves the application of linguistic theory to the analysis of religio-political discourses in general, offering close readings of key texts, speeches and propaganda from a host of different religio-political actors. The aim is to teach students how to understand the working of such discursive systems, and how to understand the discursive effects of such language in a public context and the political domain. No prior knowledge of discourse analysis is required.
This course provides students with an understanding of the role of religion in relation to conflict, violence and peacebuilding processes. It explores the role that Islam and other world religions play in religio-ethnic identities, political conflicts, violence and peacebuilding in a broad context. The course aims to provide an understanding of the complex interconnection between religion, violence and peacebuilding. Importantly, it provides insight into how peace and nonviolence aspects of religious belief can help reduce the level of conflict, aggression and violence in the troubled world of today.Students will embark on an investigation into the relationship between religion, violence and peacebuilding. Through consideration of a range of texts and case studies, students will be guided to analyse different kinds of theological reflection and practices. A variety of sources will be used to acquaint students with the realities of violence and the practicalities of building peace. This course will help to delineate more sharply the destructive impact of religiously motivated violence, yet inspire also the development of strategies that maximise the peacebuilding potential of religion.
This course provides an additional component for the series of “state, society and politics” courses offered by the M.A. programme in Asian Studies. The Philippines, a country of over a hundred million people, is a core member of ASEAN and a key player in regional politics. Instability wrought by Muslim separatist movements in the south, conflicts over competing territorial claims in the South China sea, and the frequency of natural disasters, are some of the reasons why the study of Philippine history, society and politics is particularly salient today.
This course provides a critical understanding of the nature of religious traditions and their study.
Students will be introduced to the contested question of what ‘religion’ is, and also the multidisciplinary approaches to its study. You will explore some major approaches to the study of religion, as well as key contemporary debates and theoretical stances from perspectives such as sociology, critical theory, feminism, and post-colonialism.
The course will mediate between issues that focus upon the Western-centric tradition that has founded contemporary Religious Studies as well as Asian models and questions which have helped shape and call into question aspects of the Western-centric approach. Such questions are part of the global debate today, with scholars from many parts of the world being part of the discussion.
The course is divided into three parts: the first addressing theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding religion and the way it is approached (e.g. insider-outsider debates, lived religion); the second focusing on key methodologies and contemporary debates and theoretical stances (e.g. some classical approaches such as sociological and historical, as well as more recent ones such as critical theory, post-colonialism) which are useful for interrogating religion; the final part explores debates surrounding the ways religions negotiate diversity and life in plural societies in contemporary contexts (themes covered include feminism, secularism, and theology).
This course is an advanced course on governance and security in Myanmar. As a graduate level course, it will be taught at the advanced level. While there are no formal pre-requisites for this specific course, students who have had no previous courses on Myanmar, or who have virtually no prior exposure to Asian Studies, should be prepared to do additional reading.
The course is designed to two themes on Myanmar – domestic politics and external relations. The focus of the course will be on understanding and critiquing the ideas of a number of authors who cover these two themes. Although many readings on Myanmar are often historical, a major goal of this course will be to connect the historical evolution of the country to more contemporary situations throughout the trimester.
The objective will be for students to gain new and deeper understanding of the complexities of some of the major challenges faced in Myanmar and with other countries, to help us all become more sophisticated analysts of (and even actors within) governance and security issues in Myanmar. As an advanced Asian Studies seminar, the class is very reading and writing intensive. Developing a student’s critical thinking and writing skills is a fundamental objective of the course. Active class participation is also essential to making the course work effectively, and will be expected of all students.
This course will provide students with the means to understand, both theoretically and practically, how world religions (with special reference to Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and D/Taoism in the Asian context) have encountered one another through their similarities and differences, how a proper grasp of the creative role of difference in this context can enrich our societies and our lives, and how the encounter of religions can generate respect for those who profess religious beliefs as well as for those who do not. The course will also equip students with the methodological skills necessary to undertake comparative and contrastive study with respect to religious diversity. Finally, it will assess the way religions may meet in dialogue and understanding, and consider the questions that may arise when religions encounter one another in diverse societies of competing social and political forces.
Besides methodological questions, topics covered will pertain to different views among the religions about the nature of the ultimate reality, the kinds of religious experience, dialogue and encounter available, the nature of religious language, the interpretation of scripture and revelation with special reference to religious fundamentalism, the transmission, reform and challenge to religious authority in various contexts, the role of gender in the practice of religion, how religion can engender as well as fight oppression and violence of various kinds, the concept of virtue and holiness, the compatibility or otherwise of the ends and ethical goals of religions, the ordering of sacred space and sacred time, and so on.
Addressing horizons of seeming similarity and difference, the course will equip students to look in comparative context with confidence across religious boundaries, and will enable them to engage actively and productively in this context by appreciating the nature of the contrasts and analogies involved.
The first part of the course is methodological and will consider what it means to “compare” religious traditions, and the pitfalls and gains that this may entail. The rest of the course focuses on particular themes where religions may encounter, dialogue with, or creatively challenge one another, such as scripture, prophecy, authoritative tradition and religious language, the meaning of “orthodox” belief and practice, concepts and practices of sacred space and time, of ultimate being and experience, of the virtuous person, of the role of gender in religious practice and precept, of the relationships between fundamentalism and religion, and of the compatibility or otherwise of professed goals, ends and ethics of the various religious traditions.
AS6032 Contemporary Relations of Islam and Politics : Deconstructing Islamism, Salafism and Jihadism
The rise of Islamism, Salafism and Jihadism are some of the most important developments of the twentieth century in the Islamic world. These developments had resulted in the changing political, religious and social landscape of many Muslim countries and communities in the modern period. This course aims to provide students with an understanding of the dynamics and challenges of modern day Islamism and political Islam with a particular focus on the phenomenon of modern Salafism and Jihadism. The course is designed to provide a more in-depth examination and analysis of the politics and dynamics of Islamism and other modern Islamist ideologies and political movements in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. It looks at the evolution of Islamist philosophy and movements focusing on the emergence of the modern Salafi ideology and Jihadism and the impact these ideologies and movements have on the socio-religious and political arena of the contemporary Muslim world.
The course is intended to benefit students, academics, religious scholars and also those involved in counter-terrorism efforts. It will help to improve their understanding of Islamism, Salafism, Wahhabism and other related ideologies. Students will be taught and exposed to understand and critically analyse the various ideological trends and inclinations of different Islamists and modern Salafi groups and movements.
This module explores the important connection between the foundational text of Islam, the Qur’an, and its context, both immediate, as well as subsequent, and how these have led to different understandings of the text. While the relationship between text and context is key in many religious traditions, it is central in Islamic tradition. How the Qur’an has been approached, understood and interpreted in both the early Islamic and modern periods has shaped much of the thinking within Islam about theological, social, ethical, legal, political and even economic matters. Thus an understanding of how interpretation changes with the surrounding context will help us to understand different trends and schools of thought, as well as the different ways Muslims think about these important matters.
The first half of this module will introduce students to a range of theoretical frameworks about interpretation that have been used by exegetes from the earliest to modern times, with a particular emphasis on those that take context into account. Students will be introduced to a range of areas of Islamic thought where context has been taken into account, drawing from examples of legal and theological hermeneutics that developed in the first three centuries of Islam. From these, students will come to understand how the idea of context has been used, and how it influenced the interpretation of particular texts during the earliest period of Islam.
The second half of the module will examine contemporary approaches to Qur’anic interpretation that have been influenced or shaped by our modern context. Particular attention will be paid to modern discourses about context; ideas about appropriate methods of interpretation; principles and tools to aid contextual interpretation and constraints that have been proposed to prevent interpretations from becoming relativistic.
Throughout the module, particular attention will be paid to Qur’anic texts dealing with matters related to interreligious relations and how Muslims interpret such texts as well as how different social and political contexts lead to changes in interpretation of those texts. Throughout the module, specific consideration will be given to Qur’anic texts dealing with interreligious relations, and how Muslims interpret such texts as well as how different social and political contexts lead to changes in interpretation of those texts.
This module will equip students with the methodological skills to understand how a wide range of Qur’anic texts may be contextually interpreted. Case studies will be used to explore the theoretical issues raised in the module at a practical level. This will give students the confidence to actively engage with certain Qur’anic texts that may be particularly challenging for Muslims in the modern period, especially those that may have a bearing on interreligious concerns. Students will have the opportunity to look at the issue of interpretation, not only as a theoretical exercise that draws on various principles and methods, but as an important tool that assists Muslims to relate to the world in which they live.
In this course, we explore various approaches to the understanding of politics, societies, and cultures of Southeast Asia taken by sociocultural anthropologists. The course is designed for students of Southeast Asia majoring in fields other than anthropology, who would benefit from acquiring the knowledge and skills applied in the discipline of anthropology, so as to strengthen and broaden their ability to pursue studies in related areas of social scientific study. As such, the course covers issues that are important to the understanding of the region for students with diverse needs and background, while offering an alternative and complementary approach to what students learn in their own field. We explore selected classic as well as recent literature in anthropology that has broader theoretical applications beyond certain geographic regions and fields of study, while we familiarize ourselves with the ethnographic details of peoples, societies, and politics in Southeast Asia through reading high-quality ethnography.
Topics include: history, kingship and state, nationalism, peasant society, politics, economy, power, charisma, religion and conflict, and gender and politics. Students are encouraged to read the materials critically, raising their own questions and developing their own opinions and arguments.
Ultimately, through this course, students will develop new ways to view, understand and analyze society that they can apply in their respective future careers.
This course provides a critical understanding of the nature of Interreligious Dialogue (IRD) and its place within wider Dialogue Studies debates. Students will be introduced to the history and development of IRD in a global context, with a particular focus on the recent past, and changes and developments within its practice, especially in the post 9/11 period.
The course will address the global literature on IRD but emphasise Asian contexts and examples to elucidate issues where this is useful and informative. The course will include study of a number of key theorists from both secular dialogue theory, such as David Bohm, Jürgen Habermas, and Hans-Georg Gadamer, as well as (particularly Asian) religious theorists such as Fettullah Gülen and Daisaku Ikeda. It will also combine theoretical rigor with practice, with students both witnessing dialogue as well as being asked to participate in dialogue sessions in class to experience it in action. This will help elucidate the way that theory and praxis in Dialogue Studies are seen as intimately linked and the fact that theorists mostly tend to stress forms of practice rather than simply abstract reasoning as key to understanding dialogue.
The course is divided into three parts: the first (praxis) addressing theoretical and practical approaches to understanding IRD and the way it is understood and practiced. This will include issues such as theories, ethics, and facilitation. The second (piety) will use the well known fourfold typology of dialogue (theological-spiritual-action-life) to look at a range of forms and encounters in interreligious contexts, including Scriptural Reasoning and interfaith marriage, and will examine the place of women in IRD. The third (peace) will turn specifically to the issue of interreligious dialogue and its employment in areas such as social cohesion and peace building. The nexus of the multifaith peace movement and IRD will be explored, with studies looking at the way dialogue can play a role in promoting social peace and harmony, as well as the implications of governmental involvement and how this may shape dialogue and its aims and ends. The Interfaith Youth Movement will also be explored with its focus on action.
This module aims to equip students with the concepts and frameworks that will allow them to understand how Islamic tradition, in all of its diversity, responded to the religious ‘other’ and continues to do so in the modern period. Without ignoring the intra-Islamic sectarian divisions – such as Sunnism, Kharijism and Shi’ism – that led to different notions of an internal ‘other’, the module will focus on the ‘other’ outside of Islam, and examine this relationship from four perspectives: theological, historical, social and legal. At a theological level, the module will explore how and why Islamic tradition developed a notion of the ‘other’ and the context in which this came about. It will also consider how Islam has theologically responded to religions like Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism, and to issues such as salvation and limits to religious freedom.
Historically and socially it will examine Muslims’ engagement and interaction with the religious ‘other’ in specific socio-cultural and political contexts and during selected periods, from the early days of Islam to the modern period, highlighting the diversity of approaches and experiences. A range of historical documents, such as the Medina Charter, the Pact of Umar, and relevant literary texts will demonstrate such engagement in practice. On the legal front, the focus will be on how Muslim states and jurists developed a range of institutions, rules, regulations and laws governing Muslim and non-Muslim relations, and how non-Muslim communities have responded to them.
The module will also examine the changing Muslim discourses about the religious ‘other’ today, and competing models -from strongly exclusivist to strongly inclusivist-, with a particular emphasis on the inclusivist voices that are reconfiguring and reconceptualising earlier theological and juristic notions of the religious ‘other’. Examples from different regions including Southeast Asia will be used to highlight this reconfiguration in practice. Students will conclude the module having gained an understanding of the foundations and resources that can equip them to respond positively to diversity.
This course provides students with a critical understanding of religiously inspired violence, tolerance and peacebuilding within Christianity against the backdrop of the contentious relationship between religion and politics. The course integrates analysis of Asian Christian contexts amongst other global contexts. The course is in four parts: (1) the first provides historical perspectives on violence in Christianity framed by an introductory look at issues surrounding the sacralisation of politics and religiously inspired violence. The presumption that religion is inherently violent will be critiqued as a preamble to a critical assessment of Christianity’s complicity with violence from the early Church to the present. (2) Students will then be introduced to the phenomenon of religious fundamentalism in general and Christian fundamentalism in particular. The roots and controlling beliefs of Christian fundamentalists movements and their impact on society will be explored. Attention will be given to Christian Zionism and its violent apocalyptic predilections. (3) The third will focus on hermeneutics and theology. The interpretation of biblical texts that are ostensibly about divinely sanctioned violence will be examined. Hermeneutical guidelines that take seriously both historical and literary contexts will be offered in the light of the interplay between culture, text and ideology. This will be followed by a canvassing of various Christian views on the use of force. (4) The final part will examine the social teachings of the Bible and the various Christian traditions on peace and peacemaking. The Christian imperative of love for God and neighbour will be explored in the light of how tolerance is understood and practiced today in a multi-religious society. A case study of violence perpetrated by Christians in Eastern Indonesia will provide a contextual anchor to the materials covered in this module.
Turkey and Indonesia, located at opposite sides of the main mass of Muslim populations of West and South Asia, both were established as secular republics although conservative Muslims make up a large proportion of their populations. The countries share a number of common traits, besides some clear differences, which makes a comparison between them interesting. Both have recently been hailed as examples of Muslim societies that have successfully established a functioning democracy. Both republics were born in armed liberation struggles, and the military have assumed a special role as the guardians of the established secular political order, from which they have only recently been persuaded to retreat.
The two countries developed more or less similar regimes of governance of Islam (through state-sponsored religious schools and theological institutes aiming at the formation of a pliable and liberal religious elite, through state-sponsored fatwa bodies, etc.). Political and economic liberalization from the late 1980s onward has allowed committed Muslims to recapture influence in the state apparatus and make a notable impact on public discourse, resulting in a highly visible Islamization of the public domain. The countries have differed considerably, however, in their receptiveness to Islamist and fundamentalist ideas and forms of mobilization originating from the Arab world and South Asia.
This course covers the foreign relations of the People’s Republic of China. The temporal focus is primarily on the post-Cold War era, although earlier periods are referenced. Readings, lectures, research projects, and class discussion will focus on the sources and instruments of China’s international conduct, its interactions with major powers, its relations and neighboring countries in Asia, its “going global” into other regions of the world, its participation in global governance and international regimes, its national security environment and coercive capabilities.
The main purpose of this module is to provide students with an understanding of the Christian view of other religions throughout the history of Christianity so as to provide resources for them to explore how religious diversity may be maintained in their own religious and cultural contexts. Given the current trends of globalization and improved forms of communication, much of the world’s population now live in increasingly religiously pluralistic environments. This has raised important questions for Christians to reflect upon: how have they lived with the adherents of other faiths? Historically, Christians have learned to live with members of other religions in different ways.
The course will be based on a four-part structure, while a significant portion of the course will focus on the historical/biographical examples of Christians/groups and their interactions with other religions throughout history. The first section/ session explores some biblical foundations and key principles in relation to the Christian tradition. A second portion of the course will utilize a taxonomy commonly proposed by religious studies scholars (with some qualifications); i.e. the three-fold typology of pluralism, inclusivism, and exclusivism to summate and explore how Christians have attempted to grapple conceptually with the reality of religious diversity. The remainder of the course will allow participants to present their own understanding of the religious contexts of their own country, and reflect upon how religious harmony may be maintained. A specific example of the efforts of the Christian community in Singapore towards religious harmony will be presented in the final lecture.
This course offers a synthesis of historical and contemporary debates about citizenship. As borders grow more porous and populations increasingly mobile, citizenship is no longer understood merely as a legal status. Changing theories and practices of citizenship impact how membership, recognition and rights are understood, which in turn impact state-society relationships, and understandings of loyalty and home. This course examines the meaning of citizenship in the past and present, unpacks policies and mechanisms of citizenship, and evaluates the impact of globalisation on citizenship, immigration and identities. Topics addressed include: (1) theories of citizenship and their underpinning values; (2) national frameworks of citizenship; (3) rights to citizenship and citizenship rights; (4) tensions between economics and immigration; (5) the rise of the ‘global citizen’ and transnational citizenship; (6) denationalisation; and, (7) the relevance of citizenship today. The course engages with contemporary and historical case studies from Singapore, the region and beyond.
This course is designed to give students an introduction to key theoretical and empirical concepts in the study of international political economy (IPE). IPE sits at the intersection of politics and markets. Many political scientists study political decisions divorced from the economic context. Similarly, economists frequently study the mechanisms of the market as though the economy works without manipulation by political actors. Yet these two areas should not be regarded separately. This course will study the interaction between production, distribution and the use of wealth with politically organised rules and institutions in the global environment.
This interaction will be studied at two levels-theoretical and practical. At the theoretical level, four primary approaches to IPE, including liberalism, mercantilism, Marxism and critical approaches will be examined. These theories will help structure students’ comprehension of real-world examples. The course will also examine substantive issue areas like trade, monetary and fiscal policy, foreign investment, globalisation, development, foreign aid, and international cooperation. An Economics background is not a prerequisite for this course.
This module provides the necessary macroeconomic principles to enable students to tackle some of the major issues and problems in the arena of international political economy, including the comparison of living standards across countries, the costs and benefits of globalisation, proposals to reform the international financial architecture and the case for countries to pursue closer monetary and financial integration. The course begins with the basic macroeconomic framework of national income accounting in an open economy and the construction of the ‘workhorse’ AD-AS macroeconomic model. This is followed by a discussion of the policy issues facing small open economies as their attempt to cope with problems of inflation, unemployment, slow economic growth, balance of payments deficits, foreign exchange market fluctuations and the forces of globalisation. Finally, we examine the evolution of the international monetary system since 1944, recent proposals to reform the international financial architecture and the case for closer monetary cooperation, both in Europe and in East Asia. The module is aimed at students with little or no background in Economics who want to develop the necessary tools to analyse contemporary issues in international political economy.
This course focuses on the political economy of regionalism [which we understand as a formal process of inter-governmental collaboration within a specific geographical space]. Except insofar as all regional cooperation is expected to build confidence among its member states, our focus will not be on regional cooperation on security matters, a subject dealt with extensively in other courses at RSIS.
We begin by examining principal theoretical approaches that I find relevant to regional integration, drawn from economics. We then consider the experience of various regional institutions in different parts of the world, and how these experiences relate to the theoretical approaches covered in the first part of the course. Our primary focus will be on East Asia including China, Japan and ASEAN.
You will learn to apply economic logic to challenges facing the regional economies, know its limitations and present your solutions convincingly and systematically.
This course aims to help non-China specialists familiarise themselves with and develop an appreciation for the multi-faceted linkages between post-1979 China and the world economy. This objective is to be achieved through a combination of instructor’s lectures and class discussions, guest lectures, as well as group or individual presentations of case studies. The course examines the growth and patterns of China’s international trade, trends in inward and outward investment flows, as well as China’s participation in global financial activities. It tries to assess how a rapidly globalising China affects its own domestic economy, as well as its external economic partners and international institutions/regimes. Finally, it attempts to dissect the possible “fault lines” in the Chinese economy and evaluate China’s place in the world economy by 2030-2050. At the end of the course, participants are expected to have gained a holistic comprehension of China’s broadening engagement with the world economy, in the recent past, at present, and in the medium-term future.
Since the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-98, several similar but smaller-scale crises have erupted in some developing economies like Brazil, Argentina, Russia, and so on. These events have spurred multilateral institutions (e.g. the World Bank, IMF), MNCs, international investment banks and national governments to develop more rigorous early warning systems to anticipate such economic crises in countries they have invested in or lent to. Failure to monitor these kinds of crises would entail extremely high costs for international investors and lenders. Recognising this, country risk monitoring and forecasting have become more sophisticated and elevated management functions in these international and national organisations. This course aims to introduce students to the concepts, theories and methodologies of country risk assessment and crisis prediction. It takes a holistic approach, combining the tools of political, economic and financial risk analysis from both the qualitative and quantitative perspectives. The course will incorporate real life, retrospective crises as case studies to help students gain an in-depth understanding of the ingredients that lead to the successes and failures of country risk monitoring and forecasting.
This course is broken into two parts: statistics and formal theory. Depending on students’ backgrounds and interests, they may wish to focus more on one part of the course than the other.
The statistics portion of the course is intended to help students understand quantitative research in political science. Although the emphasis will be on statistical methods, most of the principles taught apply to all types of systematic research, regardless of whether it relies on qualitative or quantitative comparisons. The course aims to help students understand the basic logic of research and equip them with tools to carry out their own research. Since statistics play an important role in social science research, it is essential to understand how statistics can be used and to be able to evaluate how it is used in published research and controversies, even for those who do not rely on statistical methods.
2) Formal Theory
The formal theory portion of the course will introduce students to game theory and formal modelling in a political economy framework. The first part offers a ‘math-light’ introduction to game theory, with Morrow. The aim is to help build students’ intuition about game theory and formal modelling before embarking on more mathematical treatments, as with Gibbons. In the second half of the course, the focus will be on the formal modelling typically used in political economy, international relations and security studies.
Energy is a private good but a fungible commodity while security is a public good. When two distinct goods are combined, the underlying characteristics of the composite good are multifaceted. Though the concept of energy security is not well known, energy security could be simply an assurance of energy supply that can be depended upon both in times of abundance as well as in times of scarcity. As recent international affairs such as China’s deepening relationship with African nations, a cooperation between the UN and India on nuclear technology or Iran’s initiation to build pipelines to India via Pakistan have shown, efforts to secure energy resources are believed to have shaped relations within and across energy-deficient and energy rich countries. Hence, energy security is not only a security issue but an economic issue. This course aims to provide an understanding of the multi-faceted characteristics of energy security ranging from the inherent economic aspects of energy security to its strategic and geopolitical nature. It studies various aspects of energy, security and energy security in the four broadly defined frameworks– economic, political economic, geopolitical, and legal and regulatory context. First, it reviews the economics of energy security, mainly the consequences of import dependence and instability of energy markets. Second, it examines the political economy of energy security, especially interrelations between crude power and oil-importing and -exporting countries. Third, it explores how geopolitics of international relations influence and shape coalitions, cooperation or unilateral action for energy security. Fourth, it analyses the aspects of energy security in legal and regulatory frameworks in local, regional and international context. Apart from the multi-faceted characteristics of energy security, it also discusses particular issues in energy security such as the different perceptions of energy security between developed and developing countries, a different time dimension of energy security, the risk perception of energy security, the role of government, and the nature of the threat. Throughout this course, students are required to read recommended books, reports, and scholastic papers among others, present and discuss what they found from the readings and write an analytical paper on energy security.
This course discusses regional and global financial crises, the causes, policy responses and impacts as well as theories and approaches behind them. The students will be introduced to relevant concepts to theories and approaches as well as the policy aspects of the crisis. Practical cases of regional and multilateral cooperation to address crises, mitigate the adverse impacts and to avoid reoccurrence, will be discussed and demonstrated.
The objective is to help students gain a better understanding of the issues surrounding a financial crisis and to provide them with tools of analysis for better understanding and assessmentof financial crises, whether country specific or systemic.
Political economy is an interdisciplinary subject that integrates economics and politics. Its canonical sources of theoretical inspiration include Smith, Marx, Marshall, Keynes, Schumpeter and Buchanan. This course seeks to understand what these great authors said about cross-disciplinary issues of market and State, which remain the focus of our present-day concerns.
This course will examine the evolving role played by key international organisations – the IMF, the FSF, the WTO, the World Bank, and regional development banks. It will highlight their role in fostering economic growth, reducing poverty and achieving the MDGs, promoting macroeconomic stability and growth, preventing and resolving financial economic crises, and providing global public goods. It will also focus on a number of cutting edge issues in the area of international economic policy.
The course will have four parts. The first part will focus on issues in the area of money and exchange rates with particular attention to the evolving international financial architecture and the challenges to financial stability posed by financial globalisation. The second part will focus on financial sector regulatory issues which have leapt to the forefront of the international economic agenda after the global economic crisis. The third part will deal with issues in the area of international trade in particular with the interaction between economic and political dimensions of trade policy and the recent shifts from multilateral approaches to trade liberalisation toward more regional and bilateral approaches. The fourth part will deal with development finance and its role in fostering economic growth, poverty reduction and in achieving the MDGs.
This course presents the current state of the Indonesian economy with its problems and challenges as well as its opportunities. Even though the focus is on the present, the evolution of the state of the economy is traced from the past, including the different systems that had been implemented as well as the the ups and downs experienced due to external and internal developments. It examines the political economy of the Indonesian path of development through its complex relationships with regional and global trade, investment and finance and Indonesia’s involvement and association with bilateral, regional and multilateral institutions.
This course is a research seminar in comparative political economy. Its reading list aims to provide an introduction and overview of modern political-economy research, specifically the positive political economy of developed and developing countries. The first half of the course focuses on core concepts and approaches which form the building blocks for positive political economy. Then for the second half of the course, we concentrate our attention on a variety of topics in comparative political economy, such as pubic goods, (re)distributive politics, macroeconomic policy, development and growth, and economic reform.
This course is an introduction to the political economy of Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is defined to include all current members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Through the lens of political economy, this course gives an overview of Southeast Asian countries’ economic performance, examines the variations among their strategies and policy responses and how regional economies are governed. The class begins by introducing alternative theoretical frameworks useful for the understanding of Southeast Asian political economy and discussing the history of Southeast Asian economies since the colonial era. This course then scrutinizes specific issue areas (e.g. trade, finance, development) to examine the interactions between economics and politics accounting for countries’ policies and economic governance. The future prospects of the Southeast Asian economies such as ASEAN Economic Community and how regional economic governance could unfold are also discussed.
Political Risk Analysis can be regarded as a multi-disciplinary field that seeks to analyse, measure, monitor, and anticipate political and security risks and their negative impact to businesses, organisations, and individuals. This course will survey the main schools of thought and practice underpinning Political Risk Analysis, and also draw further from the fields of Intelligence Studies, International Relations, and International Political Economy. The objective is to equip students with the basic foundation for becoming a competent analyst capable of conducting short-term country-level forecasts and medium-term scenario-based assessments at the level of quality that will pass muster at consultancies. The course will provide students with an appreciation of political and security risks across various business sectors, with a particular focus on developing and emerging markets – often deemed to be ‘riskier’ and yet more rewarding for businesses that venture into them, with analytical-insight identifying the opportunities.
This course will focus on identifying the factors which contributed to the “Asian Economic Miracle” and the host of issues the new post-crisis Asia is confronted with. It will draw upon existing academic literature and policy papers, among others from the ADB, the World Bank and the IMF as there is no single text book that can be used for the purpose. The course will have a strong policy focus and enable students to develop an understanding of emerging issues facing a new post-crisis Asia such as the evolution of production and supply chains, free trade agreements, efforts to develop local currency bond markets and promote policy dialoguesand the establishment of regional financing mechanisms.
This course is an introduction to the study of the long-run cultural, institutional and technological determinants of economic and political development. The approach is empirical, statistical and historical, that is, we will: study real-world patterns instead of grand theories; employ statistical methods instead of narratives or case studies; use events and contexts from the past to explain contemporary outcomes. The topics covered include the legacy of European colonisation, the effects of globalisation, wars and technological innovation, the role of culture and religion in human capital development.
This course is designed to give you a better understanding of how trade works and how international finance can affect trade and GDP. Specifically, the Trade portion examines how trade policy can affect trade and International Finance examines the dynamics of the global financial system, international monetary systems, balance of payments, exchange rates, foreign direct investment, and how these topics relate to international trade
This course explores and examines the structures, manifestations and implications of globalization and development. We evaluate the form, scope and consequence of increased international integration and cross border flows of trade, finance, technology, and people, as well as imbalances of power involving countries and corporations. We systemically consider the changes taking place in recent decades and the opportunities, challenges, constraints and pitfalls in the pursuit of inclusive and sustainable development in a globalized world. Our approach is inter-disciplinary and oriented to real world situations, taking into account historical and contemporary contexts and shifting balances of power. This course will also examine the scope and limitations of development policy when faced with globalizing forces, and consider alternatives to the dominant mode of globalization.
This course introduces students to the advanced study of international relations through an understanding of competing analytical and normative frameworks, including realist, liberal, constructivist, and critical methods such as Critical Theory, feminism, and post-structuralism. The relationship between these perspectives and the global realities they engage with can be rather complex, which can be viewed in three ways. First, perspectives are templates or tools for analysing major developments and transformations in international relations. Second, perspectives are means of critique not only to assess existing states of affairs, but to censure and expose them as repressive structures from which people need liberation. Third, perspectives are constitutive practices that socially and linguistically produce particular political realities but exclude other possibilities. Students are exposed to the interplay between power, interest, ideas, identity, discourse, socialisation and resistance in explaining continuity and change in international relations. Conceptual and policy debates surrounding several key sources and mechanisms of stability and change, whether structural, institutional and/or cultural, are examined.
This course is an introductory survey of various theoretical cum analytical approaches to the study of international security. The disciplinary domains of international relations and security studies are evolving in response to a social world in transition. What many regard as the dominance of a traditional state-centric notion of security has given way to a rich contestation of ideas on what security is or ought to be – its referent objects, subjects/agents, issues, etc. – and how it should be measured and assessed. In this sense (though clearly not the only), the discipline can be said to evince “critical” dimensions. Indeed, most of the perspectives with which we will be engaging serve, in moderate and radical ways, as critiques – and, in not a few cases, also as endorsements – of the status quo conception of security. For our purposes, however, to be critical also means to treat all claims on security – including our own – with a persistent attitude of estrangement, especially if a claim is presented as natural, self-evident and beyond debate. We must, in Merleau-Ponty’s words, “never consent to be completely at ease with what seems evident” – particularly, in our case, the world of world politics which security intellectuals and practitioners so confidently affirm and delimit, deliberately or otherwise. In this course we will examine prevailing assertions about the “nature”, meanings and practices of security as understood by those in the business of defining, expounding, teaching, exercising and pontificating on international security in its various dimensions, including the self-professedly critical. Of interest to us, therefore, are the participants, processes and practices germane to the business of making, remaking and unmaking of global political life.
This course emphasises a historical and systemic approach toward understanding the international relations of Northeast Asia (and international politics in general). The course is designed with two convictions. The first conviction is that a decent understanding of history is the foundation for any understanding of international politics, and focusing only on current affairs actually tends to obscure some causes and issues that were there decades or even centuries ago. The second conviction is that a systemic approach is absolutely necessary for understanding international politics and the broader system called human society.
The aim of the course is to foster a historical and policy-relevant understanding of key issues in the inter-state politics of South Asia. Since Indian foreign and security policies are dealt with comprehensively in a separate course, our attempt here will be to focus more on the causes and consequences of the broader patterns that characterise the politics of cooperation and conflict in the region. The substance of this course will therefore encompass the interests of regional and external powers over a range of issues that face South Asia as well as examine the complexity of inter-state relations in the subcontinent. This course will serve both as an introduction to the region but also have the flexibility to allow the student to focus on a particular country, if they so desire.
The primary purpose of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the major theoretical perspectives on the study of international institutions and of the evolving role of international institutions in international relations. The latter involves examining the impact of international institutions on policy making and implementation as well as analysing their limits and the problems they face in contemporary international politics. A secondary objective of this course is to explain how competing understandings of, and approaches to, institution building and regionalism apply to Southeast Asia and the wider Asia Pacific region. Consequently, this course provides an understanding of the conceptual and theoretical debates on international institutions and regionalism, the historical evolution of multilateralism, the factors affecting its principles and practice in the post-Cold War era and the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary international institutions. Apart from global institutions such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, regional institutions in Europe and Asia are examined.
The objective of this module is to analyse and understand the dynamics underscoring the international politics of Southeast Asia. The module will adopt a historical and structural approach to help identify key trends and forces that influence the foreign policies of Southeast Asian countries and the security environment of the region, as well as the major watersheds and turning points in the international politics of Southeast Asia. At the end of the module, participants should develop a deeper understanding of and broader perspective on background to the political and security dynamics that shape regional affairs, the conduct of foreign policy among Southeast Asian states, the security challenges facing post-Cold War Southeast Asia, as well as the on-going Asia Pacific security discourse.
This course focuses on contemporary issues to do with Japanese diplomacy and explores their implications for global international relations in general and Asian regionalism in particular. Critical views and theoretical diversity are sought: the course addresses issues from several different perspectives, without supporting any policy or promoting a particular theory. Students are encouraged to develop their own views. The aim of the course is to enhance the students’ knowledge of Japanese diplomacy, build their analytical skills and provide them with tools useful for analysing diplomacy and international relations. The issues explored include: What are the implications of Japan’s “normal” defence policies vis-a-vis Asia? Can China and Japan cooperate to preserve regional peace? Can ASEAN benefit from its relations with Japan? How does Tokyo develop its foreign policies? How does history affect policymaking in Tokyo and the country’s relations with Asia? What were the key determinants of Japan’s economic successes after WWII? Who is the key player in the East Asian community – ASEAN, China, India or Japan?
The key purpose of this course is to understand the important developments in the European security environment since 1989 and to analyse the role of the European Union in shaping the new security order in Europe. Traditionally, the Union institutions fostered security among EU member states by facilitating transactions in areas such as trade and communications. Its success is seen in the creation of a zone of peace and stability in Europe based on mutual trust. With the end of the Cold War, the new dynamics in global security have had a significant impact on the meaning and nature of security. The course will examine these important trends in Europe such as the widening of the concept of security and the shift from balance of power politics to cooperative security as well as the theoretical discourse that underpins these developments. It will also explore the political, institutional and legal developments that shape post-Cold War Europe, and focus in depth on the role of the European Union (EU). The Common Foreign and Security Policy and the “birth” of the European Security and Defence Policy will be examined in greater detail, and how the role of the EU as a security actor relates to other organizations such as the OSCE and NATO in the security architecture of Europe will also be discussed.
This is a foundation course in public international law, or what has been classically known as the law of nations. The course introduces the student to the nature, processes and institutions of the international legal system, as well as the major legal principles governing relations between states, states and international organizations and also between individuals and the international community. In the course of our studies, we will consider the relationship between international and domestic law and the role of law in promoting world public order. The student will learn to appreciate the interaction between law and international politics, how norms are created, why they are obeyed, and how these rules govern behaviour among international actors.
This human rights course deals with competing ideas about the appropriate relationship between the individual and the state and the role of law in regulating that relationship. In particular, we will explore the extent to which human rights are an indispensable and universally desirable aspect of legal regulation. Starting with an historical overview of the development of international human rights law, the course will consider key international human rights documents and conventions and ask if there are reasons to believe that either the idea of human rights or the content attributed to some human rights cannot be justified as appropriate for all societies in all contexts? Selected cases and scenarios from international human rights law – such as group rights (women, children, indigenous persons) and particular rights (education, language, health) – provide the concrete focus for exploring the broader theme.
Global governance is a form of government on a planetary scale that is either very old or very new. Across time, it might retrospectively refer to the federation of sovereign nation-states under a centralized, world government, or a federation of kingdoms under a common supranational religion. Since the late 1990s, the term has referred to a process of cooperative leadership that brings together national governments, intergovernmental organizations, and civil society to achieve commonly accepted goals. It provides strategic direction and then marshals collective energies to address global challenges.
This is the International Monetary Fund’s definition biased in favour of attributing a consultative process. In reality, global governance is a series of political contestations between states, non-state actors and intergovernmental organizations over the nature of democracy, development, the environment, communications, culture, and above all the meaning of sustainable humane society on a planet faced with permeable geographical and social borders.
This course addresses a number of salient issues in contemporary United States foreign policy. It is divided into four sections. The first section introduces students to rival perspectives on the broad question of whether U.S. behaviour on the world stage is primarily driven by ambitions relating to realpolitik, ideology, economics, or to shifting combinations of the three. The second section examines a series of topics relating to the ends and means of American foreign policy, particularly those involving the use of military force. Specifically, it includes discussions of grand strategy; conventional military power; weapons of mass destruction; counterterrorism and counterinsurgency; economic statecraft; and humanitarian intervention. The third section focuses on the national security problems and challenges emanating from three crucial geographic regions, namely, East Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The fourth section surveys a number of works that speculate about the future of U.S. foreign policy.
Foreign policy begins with the state as the primary actor in international relations. Although grand theories such as Realism and Liberalism assume that the state is a unitary actor, foreign policy is in fact a sophisticated product derived from complex decision-making factors. This course introduces the analysis of foreign policy through internal and external determinants, as well as issues relating to problems of implementation. Theories of environmental decision-making, organisational process, bureaucratic politics, leadership biases and memories, cybernetic approaches, and poli-heuristic models will be examined. Implementation too opens up a basket of issues relating to the yawning gaps between the spirit and reality of policy on the ground. Finally, foreign policy cannot be discussed without considering the diplomatic instrument as a calibration of means and ends in implementation. All theories will be discussed with reference to empirical cases.
This course introduces students to the historical and on-going debates about the nature and characteristics of political Islam. It presents the foundational political concepts in modern Islamic political thought as well as later developments in political ideas and practices, from the middle of the 18th century to the contemporary period. It focuses on key institutions (such as states, Muslim political groups and traditional religious scholars) and key thinkers, ideologues, activists and movements. The course begins by providing an understanding of the key Islamic political concepts such as the concepts of Islamic state, Shariah law and dar-ul-Islam, which are seen by many as key determinants in defining Islamism. It will then examine the historical origin of Islamism and investigate the factors that led to the emergence of Islamism as a dominant political ideology in the Muslim World. In particular, the role of the Iranian Revolution in promoting a new conception of Shiite Islamism and the response from Sunni Islamists to the revolution will be examined. The experimentation of several regimes with Islamism will also be given particular attention. This course will then discuss the emergence of extremism and terrorism as players in the international political landscape by analysing the symbolic importance of Palestine and Afghanistan in providing sources of collective grievance in the Muslim world. The response of Al-Qaeda and its conception of international Jihadism will also be evaluated. Finally, the course will draw trajectories in the future of Islamism following the Arab Spring.
This course intends to address the international politics of communication in terms of its existence as an interdisciplinary subfield of political science and international relations. The international politics of communication manifests as contestations of meaning in the symbolic realm, being co-constituted in tandem with the political decisions of terrestrial nation-states. The subsequent analysis will therefore be situated in the spaces afforded by the interplay between ‘soft’ ideational antagonisms and ‘hard’ power politics played out on any pocket of international ground. Information flows, being a composite of ideas, knowledge and technical expertise, can construct and deconstruct the boundaries of community within and beyond the notion of national citizenship.
By the end of this course, students would have developed an appreciation of International Relations (IR) as more than the sum of the exploration of tangible power instruments and issues. It also opens up perspectives on how and why communication matters to issues of war and peace among nation-states, and increasingly non-state actors, as well. Communication also crucially addresses the heart of current debates about political community, development, transparency and transnational ideological hegemony.
Relations across the Taiwan Strait are one of the most intricate, intractable—and consequential—security and political questions in Asia and the world. As a proverbial flashpoint, it remains an enduring source of instability or concern in regional and global affairs. This course will engage students in an in-depth examination of the issues surrounding China-Taiwan relations. The course will explore and discuss, among other things, the theoretical facets, political history, identity politics, political economy, and security and military dynamics of cross-strait relations. The goals, strategies and domestic underpinnings of the main actors in this ongoing and evolving political story will also be examined.
Environmental issues have evolved and entered the centre of international politics and global governance in the recent two decades.
This course is first to introduce global environmental politics and governance (actors, institutions, mechanisms, and power dynamics) to students, and examine the topic(s) by a typology of three categories: global common pool resource, transboundary environmental disputes and cooperation, and local accumulative environmental change. Secondly, the course, as part of the international relations (IR) curriculum, introduces advanced IR theories and elaborates the theoretical challenges and contributions of the environmental field focusing on power in international politics, causes for international cooperation and normative development in global governance.
This course covers the complexity of interactions between the United States and China over time. The course will be both historical and contemporary, as it is vital to understand the historical context of more recent Sino-American relations. While the course attempts to examine both sides of the relationship and its interactive dynamic, primary attention is given to American policy toward China over time. Its thematic thrust will be both policy-oriented as well as theoretical. Readings, lectures, and discussion will focus on the historical evolution of the relationship, the domestic context of policy making in each country, the impact of mutual perceptions, several functional arenas of interaction between the two nations and governments, theories of great power interaction, and prospects for the future.
In addition to learning about the substance of these facets of U.S.-China relations, the course is designed to teach several important practical skills to students: informed reading and critical analysis; oral presentation and policy advocacy; forecasting; in-depth research; and writing. Different assignments are designed to develop and advance these skills.
This seminar course will cover North and South Korea’s interactions with each other and the outside world, predominantly since the end of the Korean War. The primary focus will be placed on understanding the North and South Korean government’s response to a range of external issues beginning with the period immediately prior to the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 until the advent of Kim Jong Un’s government in 2013. While domestic political issues, economic development, and other aspects of both Korea’s development since the Korean War will be considered, the primary emphasis will be placed on understanding both Korea’s strategies and interactions in inter-Korean, regional, and global contexts. Changes in North and South Korean foreign policies, including prioritization of key goals and means, transformations in the conceptualization of security, the increasing importance of economic issues, and prospects for change in the South-North relationship, among other issues, will be covered in the course. Taken together, the course will try to project developments on the Korean Peninsula through three different levels of analyses: (1) global; (2) regional, and (3) local. In other words, how did changes in the international system affect Korea during the Cold War and the 21st century? What policies were the regional powers pursuing vis-à-vis the Korean peninsula? What are the prospects for Korean reunification and stable peace in Northeast Asia?
This seminar will cover a broad array of theoretical and historical literature on conflict, strategy, war, and cooperation. We will discuss the key explanations for both systemic and regional conflicts and will address the question: how does cooperation evolve among states in an anarchic international system? The course will include structural, societal, and psychological explanations of war. Strategies of war and peace, including deterrence, and the impact of nuclear revolution form the other core parts of the course. We will conclude with a discussion of change in international politics, especially at the global/systemic level and conflict and cooperation in the regions.
The purpose of the course is to train graduate students in efficient and critical reading of complex materials and arguments in security studies. The premium is on how to methodically analyse a book or an article in order to grasp its structure, cast its argument in relation to others, and develop original and critical thinking.
For over 150 years, the US has been a Pacific power. With the victory in World War II, it emerged as the unquestioned hegemon of Asia-Pacific, only to be asymmetrically challenged by USSR and China. With the end of the Cold War, many thought the unipolar moment had arrived as the US emerged as the most powerful actor in Asia-Pacific. The dominance is manifested not only through its economic power, but through is military bases, nuclear and conventional forces, in particular naval power, and above all, bilateral alliance relationships with Japan, Korea and with some ASEAN countries. The rise of China in recent years has questioned that dominance and it is of utmost importance to explore how Beijing’s rise will be managed or challenged by the US. Is there a “Thucydides trap’ moment in the making? Will the US, especially in the Trump era, go for unilateral policies that will upset China’s rise as well as jeopardize or improve the security and economic prosperity of regional states?
The purpose of the course is to: strengthen student’s understanding of the goals, actors, strategies that the US apply in Asia-Pacific, evaluate the consequences of US policies, and analyze alternate scenarios in the emerging regional dynamics for Asia-Pacific states. We will encourage students to think of strategies to obtain peaceful change in the region while precluding the hegemony of any single power in the future.
The phenomenal growth of the networked environment, the increase in the number of malicious cyberattacks and the heightened risk of cyberterrorism against critical information infrastructures (such as national power grid, transportation, health, banking and finance infrastructure) have made cybersecurity a critical national agenda. Cyberattacks harm national security and business interests and are considered as criminal acts in most jurisdictions. In dealing with cybersecurity attacks, understanding how the law and legal processes operate is a critical and unavoidable aspect. Beyond cybercrimes, broader cybersecurity concerns such as cyberattacks from nation states and non-state actors have emerged. With cyberterrorism and state sponsored cyberintelligence activities on the rise, cyberdefence has become a new strategic imperative. With traditional geopolitical risks increasingly layered with cybersecurity risks, international relationship management now requires new forms of cooperation between states in the new cyberworld. At the enterprise level, the establishment of a robust legal risk management framework and prosecution regime to fight cybercrime and cyberterrorism continues to be an essential building block. Enterprises, governments and other organizations needs to create a proactive and structured legal and regulatory risk management framework to better manage cybersecurity risks and ensure cybersecurity resilience.
This course will equip students with the knowledge and skills to deal with cybersecurity attacks from the legal, investigative, risk management and policy aspects. It will introduce the concepts and principles of computer crime laws and regulations, cyberterrorism and policy principles and practices to counter cyberthreats.
This course seeks to address three sets of questions with regards to national defence and security policies and issues:
- How and why policy-makers identify what national interests must be secured and defended;
- How policy-makers can approach the problem of how to secure and defend national interests; and
- What kinds of potential problems can these measures designed to secure and defend national interests create that can undermine the entire national security edifice.
In so doing, students will gain a foundation for understanding how states formulate defence and security policies, and will recognise how the roles of various actors adapt as conditions change. This will allow students to conceptualise how national security policies are formed and implemented. Students will later be asked to identify security concerns and explain how the policymaking process will likely work. By the end of the course students should be able to devise a model of the factors affecting security policy so as to understand how these policies might change and what they may look like in future environments.
The course is structured around a series of ‘conceptual’ briefings followed by small team discussions of real-world (or, more precisely, as real-world as is possible in the highly artificial environment of a classroom) defence and security policy questions and situations. In these discussions, students will be expected to assume specific roles as security officials in discussing these specific questions and situations. In each case, students will be expected to generate a series of proposals or policies to address these questions and situations.
S6010 Technology and Military Innovation: A Revolution in Military Affairs, Defence Transformation, or Something Else?
Throughout history, process of innovation was at the heart of creating military effectiveness and therefore gaining military superiority over a rival. This included the introduction of new ways of fighting (the phalanx, employed by the Greek city-states), of organisation (the lévee en masse of the French Revolution), or of technology (the so-called “gunpowder revolution” of the 16th century, or aviation and mechanisation in the 20th century). In 1955, the British historian Michael Roberts introduced the idea of a “Military Revolution” — an event or process in the conduct of war so profound as to alter the entire shape and character of the societies in which it occurred. More recently, this concept has been used to describe recent developments in military technology, driven mainly by information, communications, and computer technologies. Sometimes this development has been termed a “Revolution in Military Affairs” (RMA), or “Defence Transformation,” or something else. This course will examine recent developments in military innovation through the lens of technological change, considering the role of technology in spurring an RMA, whether such an RMA is currently underway (and, if not, what is happening and how significant is it), and the impact of arms industries and arms transfers on military modernisation, all with an eye toward how these overall developments affect current global and regional (Asia Pacific) security.
This module is designed to provide students with the opportunity to analyse the ideas of key strategic thinkers on the nature and conduct of non-nuclear warfare. The course examines important ways of theorising war as a phenomenon and addresses the various methods of studying it and applying the insights. The major portion of the module analyses major theories of warfare, drawing attention to the historical, political, ideological, moral, economic and technological factors that shaped their formulation. In the process the course also provides students extensive opportunities for evaluating the continuing validity of these theories. The module finally examines the ways in which strategic theory helps both students and practitioners of policy determine the optimal use of military power in an increasingly complex post-Cold War, “post-modern” environment.
This course examines the phenomenon of war, from the processes of making strategy to the actual conduct of the military operations that comprise war. It looks at the preconditions to strategy – in particular the facets of geography, strategic culture and armaments – as well as the concepts that underpin particular state strategies. Finally, through a series of case studies, the course will propose a typology of wars in the 20th century, and examine how wars have been transformed since.
The course seeks to provide students of counter terrorism a clear conceptual framework for understanding the national response to the threat of terrorism to the internal security of a state. It intends to examine the state response to both the “old” and “new” terrorism. The course will examine the changing nature of the state and the threats faced by the state in the post-cold war and post-9/11 world. The key questions of the course: How do different states view the concept of homeland security? Does terrorism pose a threat to state sovereignty? The course will also offer a practical look at protecting critical functions of the state and private sector.
The Indian Ocean occupies a position of unique geo-strategic importance amid the maritime arenas of the world. The earliest networks of inter-regional, cross-border interaction between East and West were made directly possible by the compact, closed character of Indian Ocean geography. But evolving dynamics of governance, commerce, demography, knowledge and religion in what has always been a cosmopolitan arena, together with shifting patterns of collaboration and conflict in an increasingly interconnected world, are today compounded by energy security and environmental concerns that dominate any meaningful contemporary analyses of the region. The ‘Indo-Pacific maritime space’ has acquired fresh strategic significance in the post-Cold War era and the present epoch of globalization and nuclearization, particularly with the economic renaissance of East Asia and the concurrent rise of India and China. Post-9/11, maritime security issues in the Indian Ocean region have also been amplified by the expanding context of a transnational war against terrorism. The dawn of the twenty-first century has ushered in a vital phase of ‘globalized’ maritime trade via dense sea-lanes of communication; a spectrum of asymmetric conflicts across maritime and littoral domains; and a host of other challenges in traditional and non-traditional areas of maritime security. This course offers exposition and analysis of the issues of maritime order; littoral security; great-power strategic competition in the Indian Ocean Region; issues of nuclear weapons; maritime access and basing; energy security; sea-based asymmetric threats; and arms trafficking (including weapons of mass destruction). The course reviews issues of maritime security co-operation and the role of navies in addressing transnational and asymmetric threats as well as performing humanitarian and constabulary functions.
This course examines the nexus of terrorism and counterterrorism. It is intended to acquaint students with the dynamics, policy options, and challenges involved in countering terrorism by doing so to establish a solid foundation upon which further expertise can be built. The course considers a wide range of questions in order to provide students with a deeper understanding of the how terrorism can best be fought. Among the questions it examines are: What is terrorism? How has terrorism changed and evolved over time and what are the contemporary implications of these changes? What accounts for the success or failure of government counterterrorist efforts? What are the essential components of an effective counterterrorist strategy? Specifically, the course will assess and analyse the application of various government terrorism countermeasures and the challenges governments face in crafting a response to this threat. An added feature of the class is the viewing of videos to enhance student understanding of terrorism and how to counter it by hearing directly from the terrorists themselves and those charged with fighting them. To that end, the class will view and discuss such landmark films as“ The Battle of Algiers” as well as such award-winning documentaries as “Death on The Rock”; “One Day in September”; and, “Operation Thunderbolt: Raid on Entebbe,” among others.
This course also examines the nexus of Insurgency because countering it involves a solid knowledge of its nature, its organization and of its various techniques. It will deal with the genealogy of “small wars” from the origins to our days and especially on how guerrilla warfare has become revolutionary warfare and the evolution of irregular conflicts until the present insurrection in Iraq. What accounts for the success or failure of this type of warfare? The course will assess and analyse the application of various States countermeasures to deal with this type of threats, which combines guerrilla, sabotage, the use of terrorism and of psychological warfare.
This course examines the diverse explanations that purportedly shed light on the global phenomenon of religious radicalisation, often resulting in terrorist violence, with particular reference to Southeast Asia. Employing insights from a range of perspectives including traditional terrorism studies; Islamic philosophy; Southeast Asian area studies; social and cross-cultural psychology, the course seeks to illuminate the roots, as well as various modalities of countering, the religiously-motivated terrorism phenomenon in general, but especially with special reference to the Southeast Asian region.
Asia is the location of several existing and potential nuclear powers. This course is designed to develop an advanced understanding of the politics of nuclear weapons in East, South and West Asia within a comparative framework. Drawing on the experiences of the Cold War era and more recent nuclear relationships in Northeast and South Asia, it develops the student’s capabilities to anticipate the future of nuclear politics across Asia. Strategic politics is usually studied from the standpoint of the apparently distinct disciplines of strategic studies and international relations theory. Here, the relationship between the two is treated as integral in order to encourage a more holistic and critical understanding of nuclear politics. The course examines central issues about why states want nuclear weapons (motivations); how nuclear-armed states think (concepts and doctrines); how they interact (crises and cooperation; the termination of rivalries); efforts to manage nuclear weapons (arms control, nonproliferation); and the impact of non-state actors (nuclear/radiological terrorism).
Since time immemorial, elite units have played a significant part in political strategy, diplomacy, and strategic decision-making. The modern use of elite units are marked by their use of military science and military technology. Elite units have developed significant combat experience since World War I. However, by the end of World War II, elite units in Allied Forces were on the economic chopping block. Even the US Navy Seals had units that were disbanded. However, the advent of the Cold War from 1955 to 1989 saw a resurgence of the commissioning, training and development of elite special forces. Elite unit training and tactics were revised away from single-terrain/weather type functions to multi-terrain/all weather elite units. The catchphrase was “anywhere, anytime”. The end of the Cold War – around 1989/1990 – resulted in another downsizing endeavour by political leaders in North America, Asia, Latin America and Europe. Large scale downsizing was not limited to elite units but was an across the board policy for all unit types. Clarke and Subic, two of the largest overseas US military bases were closed.
The role and special functions of elite units had to adapt to a rapidly globalizing world. This meant that commanders of these elite units whether they were in Germany, France, Czech Republic, Sri Lanka, Egypt or Japan had to refocus their efforts to the expectations imposed by a rapidly globalizing world. Global media would play a significant role in exposing the secret, black operations conducted by Special Forces worldwide. By the time of the 1997 Asian financial crisis it became clear that the majority of Special Force units were facing deep cuts in their budgets. Increasing costs of military technology meant that traditional services were now fighting harder to keep their share of the budgetary pie. Across the world, Special Force units were quickly being reinvented as Counterterrorist agencies in addition to becoming Peacekeeping troops in Asia and Africa. These units were being literally cannibalised for their weapons while older generations of SF commanders who had served as recently as the first Gulf War were being retired from active duty. The performance of these SF units did not justify the outcome of their missions in the Middle East regardless of whether they were from the SAS or Delta Force. However, in an ironic twist of late modern history, September 11, 2001 happened. The new found security consciousness among Americans and their political leaders meant very good news for SF units. The military privatization initiated during the Reagan administration would now take full swing during the George W. Bush presidency. SF units had finally discovered their universal mission. Counterterrorism was again in vogue. With the United States throwing its Superpower weight behind the use of SF against the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), other countries soon took heed and sought closer international cooperation against the terrorists of the New Terrorism. The stars that shine on the epaulets of Special Forces commanders have never been brighter. This course examines the value, tactics and functions of Special Forces and their related communities.
The course begins with a review and discussion of the central concepts of classic maritime strategic theory and explores the way in which recent legal, political and technological developments have altered and developed those concepts. With this as a background, students will then analyse the maritime dimension of globalisation, and its effects on the role and nature of contemporary navies. Two competing models of naval development will be developed. The first will be a system based collaborative model in which navies cooperate in defence of the trading system. The second will be a potentially more conflictual model in which navies serve narrower and perhaps more traditional state purposes. These models will then be applied to the Asia Pacific area by means of a close comparative examination of interactive naval development in the United States, the PRC, India and Japan. Students will be encouraged to come to their own conclusions about the impact of these developments for the future of globalisation and of international relations in the Asia Pacific area. The course will be taught by a series of informal lectures, student discussions and workshops. Wherever possible, we will include contributions from experts from outside the University.
This course is designed to familiarise the student with the evolution of Islamist Jihadist Strategic Thought and Practice from its origins through to contemporary times. Radical Islamist movements have developed an extensive body of strategic thought over the past several decades based on their own idiosyncratic reading of Islamic history and religion. Their ideas and practices have had a profound impact on the conduct of international politics since the end of the Cold War. The course starts with an analysis of mainstream Islamic theory and practice of warfare from the time of the formation of the Islamic state under the Prophet Mohammad through the rise and decline of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century.
Jihadist strategic and political thought can be identified with the evolution of a tradition that emerged at the margins of the Islamic intellectual mainstream in the thought of Ahmad ibn Hanbal in the tenth century, through Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah in the fourteenth century, to Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab in the 18th century. It is a self-styled “traditionalism,” retrospectively referred to al nahj al salafi or al-salafiyyah (Salafism). In the 19th century, Islamist thinkers beginning with Muhammad Abduh, of al-Azhar University embraced a doctrine-centred on the pristine purity of Islam, helped lay to rest the conventional Islamic view of history as decline and promoted the idea that individual activism and collective militancy can be means of achieving political change. This call was taken up in the twentieth-century by radical Islamist thinkers such as Abu ala al-Mawdudi, Hasan al-Banna, and Sayyid Qutb who are the three key thinkers of Islamist militancy in the twentieth century. Their ideas constitute the ideological and philosophical foundations for the second and third generation of Jihadist thinkers, strategists, and practitioners whose lethal militancy has contributed to the onset of the Global War on Terror.
The Asian continent from the Middle East through to the Indian sub-continent, south-east Asia and Far East Asia has witnessed some of the most protracted and bloody intra-state wars in history. It has also witnessed some of the best theoretical analyses of both insurgency and counterinsurgency. The course will begin by a four week immersion in the theories of insurgency and counterinsurgency. The remaining eight weeks will be devoted to in-depth analyses and discussions of key case-studies of insurgency and counterinsurgency campaigns from the post-World War II era to the present.
This course explores the impact of globalization – succinctly defined as the widening, deepening, and speeding up of worldwide interconnectedness – on war. Bringing together a set of dispersed debates and themes commonly studied in isolation, we investigate the ways in which the increasing presence of relevant transnational actors, ideas, norms, and practices has a distinct, not always expansive, and often unappreciated, influence on the way wars are planned, fought and justified. Why and how do the actors involved in war-making avoid these transnational conditions in some cases, force them aside in others, or turn them to their advantage? “I am not especially sceptical of the phenomena of globalization, noted British strategic thinker Colin Gray, but (…) I am moved to ask, ‘so what?’” This course answers Gray’s question by showing what it means for the character of war to be shaped not only by a system of rival states but by the global village.
Seminar Description: Selected Issues in Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Terrorism is, by definition, an act of sporadic violence which is intended to instil fear amongst a people. The working assumption of this seminar is that even when such an act is contextualized within a religious framework, the aim of such an act is always political. This means that even though we distinguish between ‘terrorist groups’ and ‘insurgent groups’, or ‘political terrorism’ and ‘religious terrorism’, they are all the same in essence: that is, the central tactic of all is the sporadic use of violence intended to create a sense of terror and intimidation for the ends of political gains. In analysing the burgeoning phenomena of terrorism, this seminar analyses various theories of terrorism, focusing on both the nature and the causes of terrorism. Within this context, it discusses the distinctions between a terrorist group and a terrorist movement, as well as the distinctions between entities that are exclusively domestic as well as those that are both domestic and transnational. Using empirical examples, we analyse the implications of such classifications for our understanding of the nature and causes of terrorism. Finally, within the context of such theoretical and empirical analysis, the seminar ultimately engages issues of legality and legitimacy which are central not only to discussions of International Law (particularly those related to notions of a ‘Just War’), but central also to assessing the long-term efficacy of counterterrorism policies.
This course offers a birds-eye view on the evolving concepts of information and cyber warfare in a broader context of wars for information, against information, and through information. In doing so, it explores the progressive dynamics of information warfare in political, military, socio-economic, and cyber domains and its implications on national security, military power, and future conflicts. Specifically, the first half of the course is devoted primarily to excavating the historical, theoretical, and conceptual components of cyber and IW. The second half of the course then focuses on particular cyber and information warfare doctrines, strategies, and tactics of both state and non-state actors – how they conceptualise, plan, integrate, and exploit offensive/defensive IW strategies and technologies to advance their political objectives. In this context, the course will analyse selected case studies of major cyber attacks as well as information operations. The highlight of the course will be the simulation exercise in the final week. The “game” will focus on the use of information technologies in a crisis situation.
If intelligence has been described by some observers as the “missing dimension” of international studies, this course seeks to address this gap, by addressing the following issues:
- The conceptual lenses with which to understand the nature and role of intelligence in its relationship to wide issues of national security;
- The processes inherent in intelligence work, the problems inherent in these processes, and the reliability of the intelligence product thereafter; and
- The dilemmas – moral, ethical, political – generated by intelligence related phenomena
This course introduces students to the theory and practice of civil-military relations with a special focus on Asia. It begins with discussing fundamental concepts on the relations between the military and the state, including the dilemma of ‘guarding the guardians’; arguments linking war-making with state-formation, monopoly over the use of violence and the practice of coup-proofing. This also involves a study of the theories of civil-military relations, and introduces students to the ideas of Huntington and Janowitz and, more recently, Peter Feaver and Eliot Cohen. The final part of the course focuses on civil-military relations in Asia. Focusing on different case studies, such as Indonesia, China, Pakistan and India, among others will allow students to understand concepts associated with civilian control, political power of the military, expertise and best practices in civil-military relations.
This course aims to provide a whole picture of the security policies of Asian states. Complicated historical background and geostrategic concerns shape Asian states’ grand strategies, and how they pursue their respective strategic goals significantly determines their security policies, thus affecting regional and even global stability. The first two weeks will review the evolving definitions, concepts and theories of security, followed with lectures covering major actors and areas, including China, Japan, the Korea Peninsula, Southeast Asia, Singapore, South Asia, Central Asia and powers which are significantly involved in Asian security, namely Australia, Russia, the United States. In these weeks, the first two hours will be provided by lectures with an introduction of the security circumstances in specific states and areas; the final hour will accommodate students’ group presentation for their respective selected questions.
Last updated on 05/06/2018