UCL European & International Social & Political Studies


UCL European & International Social & Political Studies


ESPS0041 - Politics of East Asia

Course value: 15 credits
Convenor: Dr. Igor Rogelja
Duration: One term (Term 2)
Teaching structure: Two-hour seminar
Assessment: 1 assessed policy report of 1,000 words (20%), 1 assessed essay of 3,000 words (80%)
Available to: Priority will be given to ISPS Mandarin and Japanese major language students, but all ISPS students are welcome (as space permits)
Module level: Intermediate

Course Description:

This undergraduate module provides insight into the politics of East Asia. Starting with a historical look at the world’s most complex system of pre-modern diplomacy, it sketches out how the region has changed under the pressures of development, conflict and ideology. This is a region where the involvement of outside powers continues to shape relations into the 21st century, and where economic development has occurred under a range of ideological and political regimes, from the hereditary totalitarianism of North Korea to the vibrant democracy of Taiwan. 
The course will be split into area (Japan, China and Taiwan, Korea) and thematic units (arrival of modernity, economic development, domestic politics, pacifism and nuclear weapons, politics of protest, regional governance). Through these, we will explore the peculiarities of the region’s politics by using cases and readings relevant to each country or area. This will enable students to have both a good grasp on contemporary issues, as well as master the conceptual frameworks essential for making sense of this populous region.