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

Undergraduate Course: Korean Politics and International Relations (ASST10155)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures 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
SummaryThe course aims to introduce students to Korean politics and international relations in East Asia. The course first provides the overview of domestic politics of Korea and comparative perspectives with East Asian countries during the 20th and early 21st centuries paying attention to state formation, regime types, party systems, democratisation, political culture, and political economy. The course gradually moves on to developments in the international politics of East Asia. Here the interplay between external and regional powers is analysed, alongside the foreign policies of the main actors in the region.
Course description The course introduces students to the politics and international relations of Korea and East Asia. The course is divided in two parts. The first part of the course covers issues of state building, regime types, democratization, political culture, and economic development, including state-led development and the post-Asian crisis period. The second part of the course explores the regional and global dimension more in depth, by looking at the interaction between the two Koreas and their neighbours (China, Japan, Taiwan) as well as other players (primarily the United States). Special attention is also given to trends in Asian Regionalism (politics, security, and economy), soft power, and globalization.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesNo pre-requisites for visiting students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  11
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Class participation and attendance 10% - Class participation includes active participation in discussion, presentation and QnA assignments.

Mid-term assignment 40% (800 words) - Students can choose one type of assignment from various options of assignments, including video essays (2-3 group work possible, 1mins), policy briefs, blogs, Wikipedia entries (2-3 group work possible), podcasts (2-3 group work possible, 5mins), contrast two journal articles or editorials

Essay: 50% (3,000 words)

Marking Criteria:
Honours Class Mark (%)
1st 90-100 Excellent
1st 80-89 Excellent
1st 70-79 Excellent
2.1 60-69 Very Good
2.2 50-59 Performance at a level showing the potential to achieve at least a lower second class honours degree
3rd 40-49 Pass, may not be sufficient for progression to an honours programme
Fail 30-39 Marginal Fail
Fail 20-29 Clear Fail
Fail 10-19 Bad Fail
Fail 0-9 H Bad Fail

Marking criteria for mid-term assignments:
Relevance to question
Organization and structure
Time/ space management
Clarity and engagement with the audience/ readers
Sound understanding of the topic
Adequacy of research
Adequacy of analysis
Clear and sound argument
Effective use of evidence
Range of sources used
scaled by Outstanding 80-100, Very good 70-79, Good 60-69, Adequate 50-59, Weak 40-49, Poor 30-39, Fail 0-29

Feedback Formative assessment with associated feedback for the final paper by Week 7.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. provide an introduction to the domestic and international politics of Korea and East Asia.
  2. explain the cultural, historical and theoretical contexts of historical and contemporary developments on the Korean Peninsula.
  3. formulate research questions and critically assess source material.
  4. write reviews of literature on the related topics.
  5. engage with debates on the main conflictual dynamics and current social and political issues in the region.
Reading List
Kim, Y. Ed.(2018). Korea's quest for economic democratization: Globalization, polarization, and contention. Cham: Palgrave.
Gill, B. (2017) China's future under Xi Jinping: challenges ahead, Political Science, 69(1):1-15.
Wang, Z. and Vangeli, A. (2016) The Rules and Norms of Leadership Succession in China: From Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping and Beyond, The China Journal, 76: 24-40.
Acharya, A., & Buzan, B. (2019). The Making of Global International Relations: Origins and Evolution of IR at its Centenary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

You, J. S. (2015) Democracy, Inequality and Corruption: Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines Compared, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Armstrong, C. (2013) Tyranny of the weak : North Korea and the world, 1950-1992, Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Pembel, T. J. Ed. (2012) The Economy-Security Nexus in Northeast Asia, New York: Routledge.
Kim, S. (2006) The two Koreas and the Great Powers, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Charles, A. Ed. (2006) Korean Society: Civil Society, Democracy and the State, Oxon: Routledge.
Haggard, S., Herman, L., and Ryu, J. (2014) Political Change in North Korea Mapping the Succession. Asian Survey, 54(4): 773-800.

Further Reading:
Mochizuki, M and Porter, S. (2013) Japan under Abe: toward Moderation or Nationalism?, The Washington Quarterly, 36(4): 25-41.
Wang, Z. and Zeng, J. (2016) Xi Jinping: the game changer of Chinese elite politics? Contemporary Politics, 22(4): 469-486.
Kim, Y. (2011) The Politics of Coalition in Korea: Between Institutions and Culture, London: Routledge.
Kim, B and Vogel, E. Eds. (2011) The Park Chung Hee Era: The Transformation of South Korea. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Ding, Y. (2015) Consolidation of the PRC's Leadership Succession System from Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping, China Report, 51(1): 49-65.
Suh, J. J., Katzenstein, P. J., and Carlson, A. Eds. (2004) Rethinking Security in East Asia : Identity, Power, and Efficiency, Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Choi, Y. (2017) North Korea's hegemonic rule and its collapse, Pacific Review, 30(5): 783-800.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills *Think critically and produce undergraduate-level work under pressure.
*Work independently, seeking relevant advice and support when necessary.
*Explain, interpret, and use scholarly resources.
*Gain global perspectives on the subject.
*Work on digital product development with confidence.
Keywordspolitics,state formation,democratization,regime types,regionalism,soft power,international relations
Course organiserDr Youngmi Kim
Tel: (0131 6)51 1363
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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