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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Asian Studies

Undergraduate Course: Contemporary Challenges in East Asia (ASST08074)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryContemporary Challenges in East Asia will introduce students to a variety of different topics relevant to understanding contemporary developments in China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. It will support students to develop core analytical skills via a portfolio of written materials introducing you to all the key skills you need. The course will be split into three sections covering different contemporary issues from the perspective of East Asian states and the region as a whole. Students will participate in weekly tutorials to discuss the topics as well as larger sessions where we will focus on reviewing each section - for each session you will prepare using a mixture of recorded talks, documentaries, and key readings.
Course description Academic Description:
For the purposes of Contemporary Challenges in East Asia the region is broadly defined as China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. East Asia as a region has been the site of significant social, political, and economic change since the end of the Cold War. Challenges which are of global relevance are being met by states and societies that have had a different historical experience of development and modernity than the West. As an area of academic study the region offers insights into how challenges which affect us all such as ageing, climate change, migration and governance can be met in a variety of different systems of government and by societies which are in varying levels of development. At the same time the region is bound by a shared history, close cultural ties, and a common experience of rapid industrialization in the latter half of the 20th century.

The course aims to introduce students to topics which affect the region as a whole and how different actors within the region engage with and seek to resolve these contemporary challenges. The course takes a social science approach (for example comparative politics, public policy, social anthropology, and international relations) to these issues, introducing students to the different ways academics and academic research engage with complex problems across different social, political, and economic systems. The course would be of primary interest to students taking degrees with an Asian language component but would also be of interest to those from different programmes and with different backgrounds.

Outline of content:
This course will cover a variety of different topics and will change over time reflecting our research interests and the priorities of the region. Our aim for Contemporary Challenges in East Asia is to address topics which help to understand and explain the current social and policy making challenges which China, Japan, and Korea face. Indicative topics would be: ageing, climate change, human rights, migration, or governance.

Student Learning Experience:
The course is designed to provide students with a variety of learning opportunities. Three topics will be covered during the course. Each topic will be allocated three weeks of teaching. Students will prepare for each week by engaging with a combination of recorded talks, documentary films, and key readings. Tutorials will give students the opportunity to discuss each of the specific issues raised in the weekly preparation within a small group guided by a member of staff. At the end of each topic the entire class will participate in a group session. Guided and supported by the teaching team these sessions will give students the opportunity to work in groups beyond their tutorials to discuss and present their conclusions regarding the topic as a whole. Learning will, therefore, support a variety of different forms of engagement and knowledge building.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critically assess secondary resources in East Asian Studies.
  2. Identify, gather, and evaluate suitable primary sources (including East Asian language primary sources).
  3. Evaluate academic work which relate to research questions in contemporary East Asia.
  4. Produce written work for different academic tasks.
  5. Make critical use of primary and secondary sources when answering essay questions on issues related to contemporary East Asia.
Reading List
Chou, K-T., Koichi Hasegawa, Dowan Ku, Shu-fen Kao. 2022. Climate Change Governance in Asia. London: Routledge.
Goodman, Roger, Gordon White, and Huck-ju Kwon, eds. 1998. The East Asian Welfare Model: Welfare Orientalism and the State. London: Routledge.
Gunter Schubert et al, eds. 2020. Immigration Governance in East Asia: Norm diffusion, politics of identity, citizenship. London: Routledge.
Meinert, C. 2013. Nature, environment and culture in East Asia: the challenge of climate change. Leiden: Brill.

Abrahamson, P. 2017. 'East Asian welfare regime: obsolete ideal-type or diversified reality.' Journal of Asian Public Policy, 10, Issue 1: 90-103.
Haines, D., Keiko Yamanaka, and Shinji Yamashita. 2012. Wind over Water: Migration in an East Asian Context. Oxford: Berghahn.
Harris, P.G. 2003. Global Warming and East Asia: the domestic and international politics of climate change. London: Routledge.
Lynch, D. and Stanley Rosen, eds. 2010. Chinese Politics: State, Society and the Market. London: Routledge.
Walker, A. and Check-kie Wong, eds. East Asian welfare regimes in transition. Bristol: Bristol University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research and enquiry: Problem solving; analytical thinking; critical thinking; knowledge integration and application; handling complexity and ambiguity, operating with academic skills.

Personal and intellectual autonomy: Self-awareness and reflection; independent learning and development; creative and inventive thinking.

Personal effectiveness: Planning, organising and time management; assertiveness and confidence; flexibility.

Communication: Interpersonal skills, verbal and written communication, presentation.
KeywordsEast Asia,China,Japan,Korea,social issues,contemporary issues
Course organiserDr Daniel Hammond
Course secretaryMrs Vivien MacNish Porter
Tel: (0131 6)50 3528
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