BA Politics and Arabic

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Asia-Pacific Security

Course unit fact file
Unit code POLI21041
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


 This course will complement the existing offer on International Politics courses (particularly POLI 20521 Questions about International Politics and POLI20332 Politics of Insecurity) in a number of ways.

First, it will provide students with grounding in some of the more classic/mainstream theories of security, which will provide a solid intellectual basis for studying critical security studies, where the Department of Politics has considerable strength and expertise in. It will also give students skills in applying and testing theories of International Relations, and help develop their analytical skills and knowledge of theory.

The use of Asian cases in this course will provide a valuable opportunity for students to move beyond the Eurocentric focus of International Relations, and addresses increasing calls for political science to ‘decolonise’ its curriculum. It will also inevitably touch upon the domestic politics of each country that produce particular security policy outcomes. This could potentially appeal to students interested in comparative politics, thus widening the intellectual appeal of this course. 


The unit aims to: provide students with a broad overview of the international politics of the Asia-Pacific (Northeast and Southeast Asia), with particular emphasis on the various aspects of security. The geographical focus of the unit provides excellent case studies for students to gain an understanding of classic theories of security studies (alliance theory, nuclear deterrence etc.), but also non-traditional security questions that are overlooked in traditional approaches.



Brief overview of the syllabus/topics.


  1. Introduction
  2. Theories of IR and Security
  3. Hegemonic Stability: US hegemony and the Rise of China
  4. Alliance theory: the US hub and spokes system
  5. The Korean Nuclear Crisis and nuclear deterrence theory
  6. ASEAN and security communities
  7. Economic Interdependence and Insecurity
  8. Human Security
  9. Ontological Security: the ‘history issue’ in Northeast Asia
  10. Humanitarian Intervention


Teaching and learning methods

20 hours of lectures over 10 weeks and 10 hours of tutorials over 10 weeks will be given, resulting in 30 hours in total. The aim will be to promote enquiry-based learning through the use of lectures, workshop formats, and open discussions. Blackboard will be used as a repository for the introductory lecture slides, presentation materials, and course information. 

Knowledge and understanding

understand key theories of Security studies, both traditional and non-traditional

Intellectual skills

undertake critical analysis, and obtain an ability to apply IR theory to case studies

Practical skills

obtain an ability to present ideas and thoughts in a logical and coherent manner, in both verbal and written form.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

obtain analytical skills, and independent research skills

Assessment methods

Short Paper (1200 words, 30%)

Long Paper (2800 words, 70%)

Feedback methods

Politics staff will aim to provide feedback on written work within 15 working days of submission.

Students should be aware that all marks are provisional until confirmed by the external examiner and the final examinations boards in June.

For modules that do not have examination components the marks and feedback for the final assessed component are not subject to the 15 working day rule and will be released with the examination results.

You will receive feedback on assessed essays in a standard format. This will rate your essay in terms of various aspects of the argument that you have presented your use of sources and the quality of the style and presentation of the essay. If you have any queries about the feedback that you have received you should make an appointment to see your tutor.

On assessments submitted through Turnitin you will receive feedback via Blackboard. This will include suggestions about ways in which you could improve your work in future. You will also receive feedback on non-assessed coursework, whether this is individual or group work. This may be of a more informal kind and may include feedback from peers as well as academic staff


Recommended reading

Michael Yahuda, The International Politics of the Asia-Paficic 1945-1995. Abingdon: Routledge, 2011.

Muthia Alagappa (ed), Asian Security Practice: Material and Ideational Influences. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Shogo Suzuki Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Please note that course materails for this course will be criculated via Microsoft Teams

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