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Unit information: Power Politics and International Relations of East Asia in 2015/16

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Unit name Power Politics and International Relations of East Asia
Unit code POLI29008
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Rob Yates
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The aim of this unit is to introduce students to the studies and analysis of the international relations of East Asia, one of the most dynamic and consequential regions in world politics today. Through a close examination of the interplay of great power politics, security competition and foreign policies between principal state actors in the region; namely, China, Japan, the United States, and to a lesser extent, Russia, it looks at problems, challenges and prospects of regional conflict and cooperation and assesses the implications of possible power transition played out in East Asia for the global future.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon completing this unit, students are expected to have developed the following

  • A body of historical and analytical knowledge about international relations of East Asia from the theoretical perspective of power politics;
  • A critical understanding of dynamics of regional cooperation and conflict in East Asia and their implications for global politics;
  • Enhanced ability to deliver seminar presentation and engage critically in scholarly discussion at academic seminars;
  • Improved analytical skills in conducting independent enquiry.

Teaching Information

2 hours of lectures and 1 hour seminar

Assessment Information

Formative assessment in the form of seminar presentation is designed to assess the learning outcome 1, 2 and 3. Detailed feedback will be provided to give students guidance as to how to improve their knowledge acquisition and analytical skills.

The summative assessment consists of:

  • A 2000 word essay (25%) designed in particular to assess the learning outcome 4 (but also learning outcome 1 and 2);
  • A 2-hour unseen exam (75%), designed to assess in particular learning outcome 1 and 2.

Reading and References

  • Yahuda, Michael, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, 2nd ed. London and New York: Routledge, 2005.
  • Pyle, Kenneth B., Japan Rising: The Resurgence of Japanese Power and Purpose. New York: Public Affairs, 2007.
  • Bergsten, Fred, et al, China’s Rise: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington D.C.: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2008.
  • Zhao, Suisheng (ed.), China and the United States: Cooperation and Competition in Northeast Asia. New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2008.