SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

Economy, Politics and Society in East Asia (Online Module)

In this module students will critically examine the nature, evolution and challenges to the economy, politics and society in East Asia. You will begin by considering the key theoretical and analytical perspectives on regional order as well as the role of history in shaping East Asian regionalism and regional dynamics. You will then proceed to examine the key actors and processes in regional order-building, flashpoints and contemporary security challenges, and their implications for the maintenance of regional peace and stability.


This module aims to provide you with the analytical tools to critically examine East Asia's increasingly complex security environment and the pathways to regional order. You will develop a keen awareness of competing theoretical visions of regional order, the historical evolution of order in East Asia, the key actors and processes in regional order-building and the implications of contemporary security challenges to regional order.


This module also enables students to build a layered and nuanced account of both historical and contemporary world politics by which to analyse concrete issues and policies as they impact East Asia. Specifically you will look at the principle patterns of conflict and cooperation in the region and to what extent East Asia can overcome its 'history problem'. Although we will spend considerable time thinking about concepts and theories, empirical case studies will inform all the questions we ask. In true comparative fashion our examples will stem from American hegemony in East Asia, the rise of China, the re-emergence of Japan as a 'normal' Asian power, ASEAN, North Korean nuclear challenge, and the crisis in the South China Sea. In the end you will also explore the future of the region, particularly how the regional order can be best conceptualised and achieved in East Asia, the greatest threats to regional peace and security in the coming decades, and more significantly, whether Asia is about to reoccupy the centre of the global stage.

All modules are subject to availability and are subject to change from session to session.

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