• Class Number 9698
  • Term Code 2960
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Paul Hutchcroft
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/07/2019
  • Class End Date 25/10/2019
  • Census Date 31/08/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 29/07/2019
SELT Survey Results

This course provides students with the conceptual and analytical tools they need to develop a deeper understanding of politics in contemporary Asia. Through the framework of comparative politics, it will take on several major themes including democratization, identity politics, corruption, and development. In ordinary language, comparisons are often implicit, and arguments are based on weak evidence or poor logic. In this course, students will master not just facts and figures, but a sophisticated approach to analysis that can be used in the study of politics not just of countries in Asia but around the world. The twin thrusts of this course will be learning how to evaluate key concepts in political science (e.g. democracy), and learning how to draw valid causal inferences from comparative political analysis. Students will thus develop the skills to critically evaluate causal claims made in academic, policy, and journalistic writing. The course will be structured by first introducing students to key theoretical and comparative works on selected themes and then applying the approaches comparatively across and within countries in Asia. At the end of the course, students will have a  greater understanding of political events in Asia and have better understood why it matters for us to think about the region comparatively. 

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate a broad understanding of domestic politics in contemporary Asia.

2. Debate the major issues around concept formation and measurement in comparative politics.

3. Apply these concepts in analysing political phenomena within and between states in Asia.

4. Analyse the foundations and implications of the comparative method in political science research.

5. Critically evaluate the elements of causal inference as it applies to contemporary politics.

6. Express themselves clearly in verbal and written formats.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 26 July SECTION I: State Formation and State-Society Relations Japan John Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (New York: W.W. Norton, 2000), “Introduction,” pp. 19-30 and 33-34. “The Meiji Restoration and Modernization,” Asia for Educators, Columbia University, at http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/special/japan_1750_meiji.htm Gary D. Allinson, Japan’s Postwar History (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997), Chapter 2, pp. 45-82. Steven R. Reed, Making Common Sense of Japan (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993), Chapters One and Two, pp. 3-46.
2 2 August South Korea
3 9 August Thailand
4 16 August Indonesia
5 23 August The Philippines
6 30 August Mid-Term Examination
7 Teaching Break
8 20 September SECTION II: Postwar Political Economy Northeast Asia
9 Make-up Session (date tbd): Southeast Asia
10 27 September SECTION III: Democracy and Authoritarianism Early Trajectories
11 4 October The ‘Third Wave of Democracy’ meets “Democratic Recession’: Asian Dynamics
12 11 October SECTION IV: Central-Local Relations and Regional Fissures Beyond the Capital: Central-Local Relations, Patronage, Bossism…and Local Democracy
13 18 October Regional Fissures and Efforts to Resolve Them: From Electoral Cleavages to Secessionism
14 25 October SECTION V: Democratic Design Re-engineering Democracy Through Political Reform: Goals and Outcomes

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
1. Critical comments 20 % 26/07/2019 25/10/2019 1,2,3,4,5,6
2. Midterm Examination 30 % 30/08/2019 18/09/2019 1,2,3,6
3. Class Participation 10 % 22/07/2019 25/10/2019 1,2,3,4,5,6
4. Take-home Final Examination 40 % 31/10/2019 28/11/2019 1,2,3,4,5,6

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


There is a substantial reading load in this course, and it is fully expected that each student will studiously keep up with the readings assigned for each class session. As major new developments emerge, additional recent analyses may be recommended at certain points in the semester. Throughout the semester, students are encouraged to read current news of the five countries from relevant websites, including those found on the East Asia Forum (eastasiaforum.org) and New Mandala (newmandala.org).

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 26/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 25/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

1. Critical comments

Critical comments. 1500 words total, 20% of final grade. Students will be required to submit written critical comments on readings for two of the twelve seminars of the semester, one prior to the midterm and one after the midterm. Each should be roughly 750 words in length, and each is worth 10% of the final mark.

At the first tutorial sessions, on Friday 26 July, you will be asked to sign up for the two weeks for which you will contribute critical comments. (When there are not adequate numbers of volunteers for a given week, it may be necessary for the convenor to be more proactive in ensuring a roughly equal distribution of critical comments across sessions.) The critical comments are to be submitted by 11:55 pm on the Wednesday evening prior to the relevant Friday lecture and tutorials. For example, those of you writing a critical comment on the readings for Friday 2 August will need to submit the assignment by 11:55 pm on Wednesday 31 July.


The critical comments are to be submitted via the forum section of Wattle (where there will be one forum established for each tutorial). They will thus be submitted not only to the professor but to all participants in your respective Wattle forum, and be used (particularly in the second half of the semester) as springboards for tutorial discussions.


These comments will examine the assigned readings for the week, and should focus on an issue, question, or problem raised by the readings. Your task is not to summarize the readings, but rather to examine critically and comparatively some aspect of the author or authors' arguments, evidence, conclusion, and/or interpretation. Some of the questions you might examine are: What is the main argument of the author or authors? What evidence is brought to bear? Are you convinced by the conclusion? What do you see as particular strengths and weaknesses of the argument, or gaps that deserve further attention? What alternative explanations or interpretations might you find convincing? How does the analysis relate to other analyses assigned either for the same week or for previous weeks? What interesting comparative questions come forth as you relate this analysis to relevant analysis of another country? 

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 30/08/2019
Return of Assessment: 18/09/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,6

2. Midterm Examination

Midterm Examination, Friday 30 August, 10 am-12 noon, 30% of final grade. The examination will test your knowledge of the readings and lectures in the first five weeks of the course, and will be comprised primarily of identification of terms as well as short essays. In addition, there will be a short section to test your knowledge of basic geographic features of the five countries examined in the course.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 22/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 25/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

3. Class Participation

Class participation. 10% of final grade. There will be one class lecture and one class tutorial each week, and all students are expected to attend both the lecture and the tutorial. Unexcused absences will be noted and factored into determination of the final grade. If a student is absent due to illness or emergency, he or she should email the professor prior to the class session.


The lecturer will reward consistent and intelligent contributions to class discussion; borderline grades will be particularly influenced by the quality and consistency of class participation.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 31/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

4. Take-home Final Examination

Take-home Final Examination. 2500 words, 40% of final grade. The exam will extend across three days within the exam period, with exact dates to be determined through the exam scheduling process. The questions will be distributed at 5:00 pm on a given date tbd, and essays are to be submitted three days later at 11:55 pm. The exam will cover readings, lectures, and discussion across the entire semester, with particular attention to the comparative themes developed in the second portion of the semester. You are not expected to do any outside research for this assignment; rather, it is intended to be an opportunity for you to demonstrate your mastery of all course material (readings, lectures, and discussion) throughout the 12 weeks of the course.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Prof Paul Hutchcroft
02 6125 3207

Research Interests

Prof Paul Hutchcroft

Wednesday 14:00 16:00

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