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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Eastminster: Decolonisation and State-Building in Asia (PLIT10157)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe end of the British Empire in Asia had a huge impact and long legacy for the region's politics and people as they emerged from colonial rule. The colonial legacy also had significant influence on how states and institutions were framed and power exercised or denied. The process of decolonisation and state-building was a critical phase in Asia. While much attention has been given to how the Westminster model worked in the 'settler' areas, this course instead examines how British and colonial ideas and institutions were adapted in Asia and mixed with local direction to produce 'Eastminsters'. The course will cover South Asia, South East Asia, Britain, and take in wider regional and imperial perspectives.
Course description This course will give students an introduction to the political dimension of the end of Britain's Empire in Asia and its impact on the region. It is particularly concerned with the climactic decolonisation process and the difficult task of state-building that faced the leaders and peoples of independent Asia. This critical period witnessed partitions, wars, ethnic conflict, but also the framing of new constitutions and institutions for new states and the opportunity for locals to take control after years of colonial rule. This course assesses and analyses the last phase of British rule in South Asia and South-East Asia and the critical years following independence when state-building occurred, which together would have a critical and long-lasting impact. Students will have the opportunity to understand late colonial British rule and policies in Asia and to investigate the diversity and complexity of the Asian political context. It will also explore the political difficulties of building new states and democracy in the wake of Empire in Asia as well showing keen awareness of the distinct experiences and differences within Asia.

This seminar has two objectives:
- Firstly, for students to understand the politics and contemporary history of the end of the British Empire in Asia;
- Secondly to understand how the British colonial experience influenced state-building and politics in post-colonial Asia.
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.

Knowledge acquired in the following courses will be highly beneficial for students, but is not required: South Asia in the World, Comparative Politics in a Globalized World.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least four Politics/IR courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). Only university/college level courses will be considered.
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 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 90 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Seminar Presentation - 10%«br /»
Research Paper: case study of student's choice, answering a common question (2000 words max) - 30%«br /»
Essay: analytical study answering one of several available questions (3500 words max) - 60%
Feedback All essays will receive written feedback after submission. Feedback will be provided about the research presentations. General in-class feedback will also be provided.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critically explore key debates about imperialism, decolonisation and post-colonialism, particularly as applied to Asia.
  2. Show an understanding about the political legacies of British rule across the Asia, especially concerning the adaptation of the Westminster Model and its consequences.
  3. Comprehend key characteristics surrounding the context and history of Asian politics during state-building as well as the political diversity within Asia.
  4. Demonstrate research and project management skills in order to carry out independent learning and group work.
  5. Plan and prepare scholarly essays and papers in politics with attention to historical, comparative and regional issues.
Reading List
Bayly, C. A. and T. Harper, Forgotten Wars - The End of Britain's Asian Empire, (London, 2007)

Hyam, Ronald, Britain's Declining Empire - The Road to Decolonisation 1918-1968, (Cambridge, 2006)

Jalal, Ayesha, Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia: A Comparative and Historical Perspective, (Oxford, 1995)

Kumarasingham, H. (ed.), Constitution-Making in Asia - Decolonisation and State-Building in the Aftermath of the British Empire, (London, 2016)

Tudor, Maya, The Promise of Power - The Origins of Democracy in India and Autocracy in Pakistan, (Oxford, 2013)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Analytical thinking about complex cases
- Ability to evaluate the past for contemporary assessment
- Conduct research and enquiry into relevant issues through research design, the collection and analysis of historical and qualitative data, synthesising and reporting.
- Write detailed analysis using a variety of sources including historical, political, constitutional, comparative and regional material
- Have an ability to understand different cultures and contexts.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Harshan Kumarasingham
Tel: (0131 6)51 4750
Course secretaryMs Agata Lebiedzinska
Tel: (01316) 515197
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