• Class Number 6944
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Paul Hutchcroft
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
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 29 July SECTION I: State Formation and State-Society Relations Japan N.B. The instructor reserves the right to make substitutions in the reading assignments, as appropriate. There may be additional selections to augment the readings for certain sessions.
2 5 August South Korea
3 12 August Thailand
4 19 August Indonesia
5 26 August The Philippines
6 1-3 September N.B. No lecture or tutorials on 2-3 September. Midterm Essay
7 Teaching Break
8 23 September SECTION II: Postwar Political Economy Northeast Asia
9 Make-up Session (date TBC): Southeast Asia
10 30 September SECTION III: Democracy and Authoritarianism Early Trajectories
11 7 October The ‘Third Wave of Democracy’ meets “Democratic Recession’: Asian Dynamics
12 14 October SECTION IV: Central-Local Relations and Regional Fissures Beyond the Capital: Central-Local Relations, Patronage, Bossism…and Local Democracy
13 21 October Regional Fissures and Efforts to Resolve Them: From Electoral Cleavages to Secessionism
14 28 October SECTION V: Reforming Democracy, Countering COVID-19 Democracy and Democratic Reform into the Era of the Pandemic

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
1. Critical comments 20 % 05/08/2021 01/12/2021 1,2,3,4,5,6
2. Midterm Essay 25 % 03/09/2021 24/09/2020 1,2,3,6
3. Tutorial participation. 10 % 30/07/2021 01/12/2021 1,2,3,4,5,6
4. Final Essay 45 % * 01/12/2021 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 Academic Integrity . 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).

Although the online format means that class participation is not figured into the final grade, it is important to emphasize the challenges of performing well in the course if you do not regularly attend both the lecture and the tutorial. To the extent possible within an online environment, the convenor strongly encourages consistent and intelligent contributions to class discussion in both the lecture and the tutorial. My teaching style thrives on interaction with students, and as much as possible I want to nurture an environment in which students are able not only to ask questions but also to contribute their own insights. As such, please do not hesitate to ‘raise your hand’ (virtually) if you would like to ask for clarification or offer a comment.


If a student expects to be absent from either the seminar or the tutorial due to illness or emergency, he or she should (whenever practicable) email the convenor prior to the class session.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 05/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 01/12/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

1. Critical comments

Critical comments. 1200 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 600 words in length, and each is worth 10% of the final mark.

At the first tutorial sessions, on Friday 30 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 Thursday lecture and Friday tutorials. For example, those of you writing a critical comment on the readings for Thursday 5 August will need to submit the assignment by 11:55 pm on Wednesday 4 August.


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: 25 %
Due Date: 03/09/2021
Return of Assessment: 24/09/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,6

2. Midterm Essay

Midterm Essay. 1500 words, to be administered over a 48-hour period on 1-3 September, 25% of final grade. The essay questions will be given out at noon on Wednesday 1 September, and is due back at noon on Friday 3 September. The exercise will test your knowledge of the readings and lectures and discussions in the first five weeks of the course, and will be comprised primarily of short essays.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 30/07/2021
Return of Assessment: 01/12/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

3. Tutorial participation.

Tutorial participation. 10% of final grade.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 45 %
Return of Assessment: 01/12/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

4. Final Essay

Final Essay. 2500 words, 45% of final grade. There will be a three-day window to complete this exercise. 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 essay 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. Extensions may be granted 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

Monday 13:00 15:00

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