• Offered by Department of Political and Social Change
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Anthropology, Social Research, Asia Pacific Studies, Political Economy, Politics
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

This seminar course is aimed at Masters and Doctoral degree students who wish to deepen their knowledge of power and non-elite politics in Asia and the Pacific, while becoming familiar with some of the major theoretical approaches to research on this topic, from across the fields of politics, anthropology and development studies.  The diverse approaches, questions and issues covered in the course are unified by an understanding of ‘politics’ as comprising power relations and the exercise of power that are found in all aspects of everyday life, and which cut across conventional dichotomies between state and society, culture and politics, public and private, researcher and researched. Issues include the politics of knowledge; everyday resistance; intimate politics; inequality and violence; and culture, religion and power. Cases will be drawn primarily from South, Southeast and East Asia, and Melanesia.  

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On completion of the course, Masters students will be able to:
1. Communicate specialised knowledge about power in Asian and Pacific societies;
2. Understand, critique, debate and apply a range of theoretical and conceptual approaches to power across politics, anthropology and development studies;
3. Engage authoritatively and critically in discussion about power in Asian and Pacific societies;
4. Design, plan and undertake research into power in Asia and/or the Pacific

Other Information

This is a co-taught course. Any cap on enrolments in one course applies to both courses combined.

Indicative Assessment

(1) Online and classroom participation: 10%
(learning outcomes 1-3)

(2)  Review essay (1,500 words): 25%
(learning outcomes 2-3)

(3)  Project plan (800 words): (15%)
(learning outcome 4)

(4) Research essay (3,000 words): (50%)
(learning outcome 1-4)

Students must pass each assessment item in order to pass the course.
Among assessment items 2-4, no more than 2 may be on the same topic.

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


One two-hour seminar per week. It is expected that students will undertake eight hours of private study per week, including participation in online activities.

Requisite and Incompatibility

Incompatible with ASIA9050

Prescribed Texts

No prescribed text. All required reading and multi-media materials will be provided via Wattle.

Preliminary Reading

Selected reading:

Part 1: Concepts and theories

Stephen Lukes, 1974, Power: A Radical View
Mitchell Dean, 2013, The Signature of Power: Sovereignty, Governmentality and Biopolitics.
Raewyn Connell, 2007, Southern Theory: The Global Dynamics of Knowledge in Social Science (Australia: Allen&Unwin).
Michel Foucault, 1978, History of Sexuality: Volume One, (excerpt)
Gayatri Spivak ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’
James Scott, 1985, Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance.
Partha Chatterjee, 2004, The Politics of the Governed: Reflections on Popular Politics in Most of the World.

Part 2: Themes, topics and case studies

Martha Kaplan, 2004, ‘Neither Traditional Nor Foreign: Dialogics of protest and agency in Fijian History’ In Holger Jebens, Ton Otto, Karl Heinz Kohl eds. Cargo Cult and Culture Critique. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press pp 59–79.
Tania Li, 2007, The Will to Improve: Governmentality, Development, and the Practice of Politics.
Tamara Jacka, 2009, ‘Cultivating citizens: Suzhi (quality) discourse in the PRC,’ positions: east asia cultural critique.17(3): 523-535.
Ann Laura Stoler, Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule
Bina Agarwal, “Bargaining” and gender relations: within and beyond the household’, Feminist Economics 3(1), 1997.
Sally Sargeson ‘Violence as development: land expropriation and China’s urbanization’ Journal of Peasant Studies, 40(6) (2013)
Eves, R 2010, 'Masculinity Matters: Men, Gender-Based violence and the AIDS Epidemic in Papua New Guinea', in Vicki Luker and Sinclair Dinnen (ed.), Civic Insecurity: Law, Order and HIV in Papua New Guinea, ANU ePress, Canberra, pp. 47-79. 
Andrew Walker, 2012, Thailand’s Political Peasants: Power in the Modern Rural Economy
Matt Tomlinson & McDougall, D, eds, 2013, Christian Politics in Oceania
Aihwa Ong, 1999, Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality (Duke University Press)
John D. Kelly and Martha Kaplan, 2001, Represented Communities: Fiji and World Decolonization
Mayfair Mei-hui Yang, 1994, Gifts, Favors and Banquets: The Art of Social Relationships in China

Part 3: Researching power

Heidi Armbruster and Anna Laerke (eds) 2009, Taking Sides: Ethics, Politics and Fieldwork in Anthropology.
Henrietta Moore, ‘Master narratives: anthropology and writing’ in A Passion for Difference.

Assumed Knowledge

Completion of a major in Asian studies, Pacific studies, anthropology, development studies, politics or cognate field


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $3420
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4878
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

There are no current offerings for this course.

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions