Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: International Relations of the Asia Pacific (PLIT10109)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis module focuses on East and South East Asia as well as the Asia Pacific in the twenty-first century, but with attention to how these modern day regional affairs are both increasingly global in significance and heavily shaped by voices and events of the past.
Students will explore, among other things, the much debated contemporary "rise" of China and India; the territorial disputes of the Yellow and South China Seas; the organisations and institutions of Asia and the Pacific including ASEAN and the East Asia Summit; the diversity of local regime types from democracy to absolute monarchy to military junta; and the future of American power and influence.
Key issues of the International Relations discipline will also be examined and revisited throughout, such as security and conflict; the nature of power; diplomacy; cooperation and multilateralism; development; sovereignty; law; and trade.
Course description This comprehensive course examines arguably the most dynamic and rapidly evolving regions of the world. Parts of the Asia Pacific boast economic growth rates far exceeding those of the West, not only transforming the region itself, but ensuring that in recent years countries across Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa and elsewhere have adapted their global outlooks and foreign policies to target and accommodate the opportunities and challenges that have emerged.

Politically, Asian nations are also now far more active and influential in the workings of modern day global affairs, including in existing multilateral organisations such as the United Nations and World Bank, but also in the formation of new ones such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation. So too are Asian nations now more integral to global discussions about the most pressing contemporary issues, including climate change and the environment; poverty and development; trade; finance; and security.

In the realm of security itself, the Asia Pacific is becoming increasingly sensitive, as its rapidly developing economies expand and upgrade their military capabilities amidst long-standing regional disagreements and tensions. The United States' traditionally dominant security position is now increasingly tested by the capabilities of a "rising" China, with implications for a region whose recent history has been comparatively stable and free from major conflict.

This course examines each of these interconnected realms in both historical and contemporary contexts. It is empirical in focus but offers students an additional theoretical understanding of the workings of the Asia Pacific region. Students will, therefore, be exposed to the contributions of the more mainstream International Relations interpretations of the international politics of the Asia Pacific, such as the "great power politics" of US-China relations as interpreted by realists and liberals. In addition, they will utilise contributions of the more critical IR approaches such as social constructivism and postcolonialism, to understand what they may additionally help to explain.

In such a way the module will interrogate the role of forces central to the broad workings of global affairs, and which hold particular resonance in the dynamics of the Asia Pacific. These include distributions of military power and the interdependencies of economies, as well as (neo)colonialism and (neo)imperialism; discourse, imagery and representation; the politics of memory; and nationalism.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Introduction to Politics and International Relations (PLIT08004) OR Politics in a Changing World: An Introduction for non-specialists (PLIT08012) OR Politics and International Relations 1A: Concepts and Debates (PLIT08017)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students who lack the compulsory pre-requisites but have completed comparable courses should contact the Course Organiser to confirm if they are eligible to take this course.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 4 Politics/International Relations courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. Literature review (1500 words) 40%
2. Essay (2500 words) 60%
Feedback All assignments will be returned with feedback within 15 working days of submission
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the historical evolution and development of the international relations of the Asia Pacific from the 1700s to the present day
  2. Understand the range of key issues which steer and define the dynamics of the Asia Pacific today
  3. Reflect on the Asia Pacific┬┐s most important state and non-state actors, and their interconnected roles within the region┬┐s political-economic-security structures
  4. Understand how key theories of International Relations help us explain the workings of Asia Pacific affairs
  5. Demonstrate enhanced research and analytical skills through guided preparation for assessments and display enhanced communication and other transferable skills, including the ability to engage in critical debate and effective group work, and formulate and express arguments and viewpoints
Reading List
Yahuda, M. (ed.) (2011) The International Politics of the Asia Pacific: Third and Revised Edition (London: Routledge)

Pekkanen, S., Ravenhill, J., and Foot, R. (eds.) (2014) Oxford Handbook of the International Relations of Asia (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Ganguly, S., Scobell, A., and Chinyong Liow, J. (eds) (2010) The Routledge Handbook of Asian Security Studies (London: Routledge)

Goh, E. (2016) Rising China's Influence in Developing Asia (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Sutter, R.G. (2015) The United States and Asia: Regional Dynamics and Twenty First Century Relations (London: Rowman and Littlefield)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical thinking and analysis
Effective research and analytical skills
Effective communication
Team work
KeywordsAsia Pacific,East Asia,South East Asia,China,United States
Course organiserDr Oliver Turner
Tel: (0131 6)51 5678
Course secretaryMs Agata Lebiedzinska
Tel: (01316) 515197
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information