This module examines major themes, debates and issues related to the study of politics and international relations in the specific regional context of Asia.
It will explore key features and themes in Asian politics including political systems, political economy and development, political values and ideas, as well as pan-Asian themes and international relations/global politics including intra-regional, trans-regional and international issues. It combines theoretical perspectives with historical developments and contemporary issues in Asian politics.
This module involves the researching and writing of a substantive dissertation within the field of Asia and international studies. The dissertation must be between 14,000-16,000 words.
Covert Action and Unacknowledged Interventions
This module covers:
- Covert Action
- Propaganda and Influence Operations
- Fake News and the Digital Revolution
- Political Action: Coups, Bribery, and Election Rigging
- Paramilitary Action: Sponsoring Insurgencies
- Assassination and Targeted Killing
- Secrecy in International Relations
- Covert Signalling and Strategy
- Political Management of Covert Action
- Democratic Oversight of Covert Action
- Measuring Success: Evaluating Secret Policy Impact
Grand Strategy examines how states have sought to integrate political, economic, and military goals to preserve their long-term interests. The module analyses a variety of strategies to understand what drives decision making at the highest levels of government in times of war and peace. It draws on scholarship from the fields of international relations, diplomatic history, and strategic studies to provide you with a more nuanced understanding of global politics.
Justice Beyond Borders: Theories of International and Intergenerational Justice
The module introduces and explores the concept of distributive justice on an international and intergenerational basis. Standard accounts of distributive justice typically operate upon the assumption that the relevant principles are framed by, and apply within the borders of the nation-state.
This module examines how justice has traditionally been conceptualised, and challenges the idea of the nation-state as providing limits to the proper operation of principles of justice. Justice between nations, and between generations, as well as between humans and non-humans, forms the focus of this module.
The programme for dealing with these themes includes:
- international theories of justice, with particular reference to faminie relief and humanitarian intervention
- intergenerational justice and personal identity
- 'biocentric' theories of justice
- animal rights
- direct political action
Research Methods in International Relations
This module covers:
- Methods and methodology – the logic of qualitative and quantitative research
- Theory, metatheory and methodology – how they relate to each other
- Quantitative data collection – surveys and polls
- Quantitative data analysis – basic statistical analysis
- Qualitative data collection – interviews and documents
- Qualitative data analysis - process tracing, thematic analysis, discourse analysis
- Mixed methodology – pros and cons
- Primary and secondary sources – how to use the library
- Research questions, design and ethics – practical considerations of research
- Academic skills – how to write a literature review and how to plan a dissertation
Terrorism and Insurgencies
This module is designed to acquaint you with two of the most important aspects of contemporary international security: terrorism and insurgencies.
Both threats have become more acute in recent years and much intellectual, military and economic capital has been used up in efforts to contain them. In taking this module, you will begin to understand the nature of the threats posed by terrorists and insurgents. You will understand how such threats come about and why individuals are drawn towards exercising the use of force against certain governments, their representatives, and the citizens of those governments.
You will also understand the nature and scope of counter-insurgency practices. You will discuss what works and what does not and the controversies encountered in implementing certain measures. By the end of the module, you will be conversant with, and have an appreciation of, factors which affect the security of many people in today's world.
Theories and Concepts in International Relations
The War on Iraq and the US and British invasion of the country in 2003 has led to huge tensions in geopolitics. At the same time, the supposed 'threat' of international terrorism and continuing financial turmoil in the world economy have both brought to the fore the global politics of co-operation and confrontation.
Whilst it might be possible to agree on the significance of these events, the explanation and/or understanding of them is dependent on prior theoretical choices. The purpose of this module is to make you aware of the diversity of approaches to international theory.
Within international relations theory there exist highly divergent interpretations and applications of key concepts (for example, power, the state, agency, structure, and world order) as well as contested views about the practical purpose underpinning theories of world politics. The overall aim of the module is to provide you with a solid theoretical and conceptual grounding of this diversity. As a result, it will be possible to recognise not only how international theory informs policy-making and practice but also, perhaps, how truly contested the underlying assumptions of world politics are.
China in International Relations
This module explores China's foreign relations since the establishment of the PRC in 1949 thorough examination of key episodes in China's relations with global and regional powers. Lectures will address the role of ideology (or ideologies) in China's diplomacy, and the meaning of the "national interest" for policy makers in Beijing, and how these concepts help (or do not help) us to understand China's foreign policy behavior throughout the Cold War, and the problems and prospects of "China's rise".
International Political Economy in the Era of Globalisation and Regionalisation
The module will introduce you to the main approaches to international political economy before turning towards globalisation and the main structural changes in the global economy. This includes a theoretical engagement with the concepts of globalisation, regionalisation and the related impact on the role of states as well as an analysis of empirical changes in the areas of international trade, finance, production and development.
The module will further address the relationship between globalisation and the individual instances of regional integration including the EU, NAFTA and APEC before looking at recent formations of resistance to globalisation.
Asia in Transregional Perspective
The mobility of people and the flow of goods and ideas across Asia so familiar to many today have significant historical precedents that have been diminished by heavily nation-and region-centred, and present-minded, understandings. This module acknowledges the relevance of regional rubrics such as Southeast Asia, the Middle East, East Asia and so forth, and the many nation-states they subsume.
The module explores, however, the historical connections that existed across regional and national boundaries and their presentday implications. The transregional in this instance is not a methodology but a perspective that offers the scales required to grapple with inter-Asian themes such as migration and diaspora, the circulation of texts, food, and cultural artifacts, and networks of family, politics and trade.
The module asks what the imaginaries are that have shaped Asia. By considering different scales, from the transregional to the local, it offers grounded understandings of mobile, expansive and complex histories. You will read key works that chart transregional imaginaries and thereby frame an understanding of Asia in the context of the world.
Global Political Economy
This module seeks to provide you with an understanding of the complex interaction between states and markets. It uses theory (trade theory, currency theories, theories of integration, theories of economic development) to examine state behaviour in markets.
In addition to offering a theoretical framework, the module also examines state-market relations in specific horizontal issues such as the environment, sovereign debt, and economic integration. It will contextualise the theory and issues in case studies on regional interaction focusing primarily on the SE Asian region.