• Class Number 3968
  • Term Code 3330
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Marcus Mietzner
    • AsPr Marcus Mietzner
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 20/02/2023
  • Class End Date 26/05/2023
  • Census Date 31/03/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 27/02/2023
SELT Survey Results

This course surveys the main issues of Southeast Asian security, giving due attention to traditional concerns with interstate conflict as well as non-traditional themes like the economy and the quality of democratic governance. It also provides a grounding in the Cold War-era conflicts that shaped the region as we know it today. The central focus, however, is on contemporary internal armed conflict rooted in processes of state formation and state decay (for instance, ethnic conflict in Myanmar, separatist violence in Indonesia or the attempts to create an autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao in the Philippines). Key internal conflicts affecting the human security of millions of Southeast Asians, as well as near neighbours like Australia, will be analysed in their unique historical and cultural context, and related to cross-cutting questions with broad inter-disciplinary significance negotiating views from above and below, from inside and outside. 

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Possess a deep understanding of the historical and conceptual foundations of Southeast Asian security.
  2. Possess knowledge of key concepts for analysing security issues and violent conflict in Southeast Asia. This will include understanding of the main schools of thought in security studies, but also of important literature in conflict studies.
  3. Apply these concepts in analysing Southeast Asian security and the most current conflicts.
  4. Conduct research independently and effectively, especially by identifying scholarly acceptable sources and materials.
  5. Express themselves clearly and scholarly in verbal and written formats.

Research-Led Teaching

This course draws from more than two decades of research experience in Southeast Asia. The convener has studied Southeast Asian politics, and especially military politics, since the 1990s.

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment

The examination will be in the form of a take-home exam. Normal access to online and other resources is allowed.

Required Resources

Since some elements of this course are delivered online, a stable internet connection is recommended. However, students without such a stable connection are given the opportunity to submit written commentaries on the class readings in order to substitute for direct contributions in class.

While it will be sufficient to read the allocated articles each week, it would be useful for you to read Donald E. Weatherbee, International Relations in Southeast Asia: The Struggle for Autonomy (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014).

Staff Feedback

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

+ written comment sheets on presentation and all writings (except take-home exam)

+ verbal feedback in class and consultation hours

+ for the take-home exam: marks announced on Wattle.

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 COURSE INTRODUCTION 20 February The introduction will provide an overview over the course structure, the assignments and other basic information.
2 SECURITY IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: CONCEPTS AND ACTORS 27 February After shortly discussing the parameters of security studies, the first lecture will introduce Southeast Asia as a political and security entity. It will give an overview of the main regional actors in the region, and present snapshots of the subjects to be analysed in this semester. Required reading: Donald E. Weatherbee, “Chapter 1: Introduction - The What and the Why of Southeast Asia”, in Donald E. Weatherbee, International Relations in Southeast Asia: The Struggle for Autonomy, (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014), pp. 19-38. Recommended reading: Alan Collins, “Introduction: What is Security Studies?”, in Alan Collins (editor), Contemporary Security Studies (Oxford University Press, 2006), pp.2-3.
3 DECOLONISATION AND THE COLD WAR IN SOUTHEAST ASIA 6 March This week we look at the process of state formation in Southeast Asia after the Second World War. The end of the war triggered a process of decolonisation in the region, which led to the emergence of nation states as the main players in Southeast Asian security. As with most international developments at that time, the evolution of Southeast Asia’s regional security system was heavily influenced by the Cold War, with both the United States and the Soviet Union trying to pull the region to their sides. Required reading: Robert J. McMahon, “The United States and Southeast Asia in an Era of Decolonization, 1945-1965,” in Marc Frey, Ronald W. Pruessen and Tan Tai Yong (editors), The Transformation of Southeast Asia: International Perspectives on Decolonization (Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 2003), pp.213-225. Recommended reading: Donald E. Weatherbee, “Chapter 3: “The Cold War in Southeast Asia”, in Donald E. Weatherbee, International Relations in Southeast Asia: The Struggle for Autonomy, (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014), pp. 67-88.
4 ASEAN’s CONFLICT MANAGEMENT IN SOUTHEAST ASIA 13 March Today we discuss the emergence of ASEAN as a key player in Southeast Asian security. While often detracted as marginal and ineffective, ASEAN has developed into an important forum to discuss security matters that affect all Southeast Asian states. In order to understand the way ASEAN functions today, we analyse the circumstances of its creation as well as its involvement in contemporary security problems in the region. In the lecture, the organization's attempt to address the post-coup conflicts in Myanmar will serve as a case study of ASEAN's abilities and deficiencies. Required reading: Mely Caballero-Anthony and Ralf Emmers (2022). Keeping the Peace in Southeast Asia: ASEAN and the Quest for Positive Peace. The Pacific Review, 35 (6): 1079-1104.. Recommended reading: David Martin Jones and Nicole Jenne (2016). Weak States' Regionalism: ASEAN and the Limits of Security Cooperation in Pacific Asia. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 16 (2): 209–240. Since 13 March is a holiday, the lecture will be pre-recorded and posted online, so that students can watch it anytime before the tutorials. The date of the pre-recording will be announced in due course to allow students who wish to participate in the online recording of the lecture can do so.
5 INTERNATIONAL ACTORS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA 20 March This lecture introduces the main international actors in Southeast Asian security. Discussing the strategic interests in and diverse approaches to Southeast Asia, we will look at the role of the United States, China, Japan, India and Australia, as well as multinational organisations like the UN or the World Bank. The analysis will point to important economic and political reasons behind the engagement of each country or organization in the Southeast Asian region, with the rivalry between the United States and China given special attention. Required reading: David Shambaugh (2018), U.S.-China Rivalry in Southeast Asia: Power Shift or Competitive Coexistence?, International Security 42 (4): 85-127. Recommended reading: Jonathan Stromseth (2019). Don't Make Us Choose: Southeast Asia in the Throes of US-China Rivalry. Brookings. SHORT PAPER DUE: 27 MARCH, 23.55.
6 ESSAY WRITING GUIDELINES 27 March In this lecture (and in the tutorials), we will discuss essay writing guidelines in preparation for the research essay assignment.
7 TERRORISM IN SOUTHEAST ASIA 17 April Since the Indonesian Christmas Bombings in 2000, jihadist terrorism has become a serious and regular threat in Southeast Asia. After initially reluctant to act, governments in the region understood after the Bali attack in 2002 – which was one of the largest terrorist incidents in modern history – that they needed to increase their counter-terrorism capacities. In this week's discussions, we try to explore the motivations of terrorist groups and individuals, and analyze the impact of counter-terrorism measures on Southeast Asia's security and political landscape. Required reading: Julie Chernov Hwang and Kirsten E. Schulze (2018). Why They Join: Pathways into Indonesian Jihadist Organizations, Terrorism and Political Violence 30(6): 911-932. Recommended reading: Mohammed Ilyas (2021). Decolonising the Terrorism Industry: Indonesia. Social Sciences 10 (2): 1-16.
8 ONGOING INSURGENCIES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: SOUTHERN THAILAND AND THE PHILIPPINES 24 April Today we discuss two of the most complex ongoing insurgencies in Southeast Asia: the violence in Southern Thailand and the Mindanao conflict in the Southern Philippines. For decades, militants groups in the Muslim area of Mindanao have fought for independence (or, alternatively, more autonomy) from the mostly Catholic Philippines. Similarly, Islamist activists and cells have launched a violent campaign for independence from the predominantly Buddhist kingdom of Thailand. We look at the various attempts to resolve these conflicts, and try to understand why these efforts have so far been unsuccessful in the case of Southern Thailand, and peace arrangements remain highly volatile in Mindanao. Required reading: Nicole Jenne and Jun Yan Chang (2019)., “Hegemonic Distortions: The Securitisation of the Insurgency in Thailand's Deep South,” TRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia, January 2019, pp. 1-24. Recommended reading: Mimmi Söderberg Kovacs, Kristine Höglund and Mélida Jiménez (2021). Autonomous Peace? The Bangsamoro Region in the Philippines Beyond the 2014 Agreement, Journal of Peacebuilding & Development, First Published January 24. Since 25 April is a holiday, the tutorials on that day will not take place. Students in these tutorials are encouraged to attend other tutorials in the week, but are not penalised if they don't.
9 ACEH: A SUCCESSFULLY CONTAINED SEPARATIST CONFLICT? 1 May This lecture will focus on the separatist conflict in Aceh, which seems to have been peacefully resolved through the Helsinki accord signed in August 2005. Up until that time, the rebel group GAM (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, Free Aceh Movement) had fought a 30-year war for secession from Indonesia. The lecture will discuss the reasons for the emergence of GAM, as well as the reasons for the success of Helsinki. Required reading: Michael Morfit, “The Road to Helsinki: The Aceh Agreement and Indonesia's Democratic Development”, International Negotiation - A Journal of Theory and Practice 12, Spring 2007. Recommended reading: Veronica Strandh and Benni Yusriza (2021), War Widows’ Everyday Understandings of Peace in Aceh, Indonesia, Journal of Peacebuilding & Development, First Published January 8, 2021.
10 ETHNIC CONFLICT IN NATION STATES: MALAYSIA AND MYANMAR 8 May This lecture contrasts two very different approaches to managing ethnic diversity in Southeast Asia. On the one hand, we will discuss Malaysia, which has traditionally tried to contain ethnic tensions by integrating all groups into a multi-ethnic government alliance – whether in the long-ruling Barisan Nasional or other post-2018 formations. Myanmar, on the other hand, has used a wide range of strategies (few of them successful), ranging from military force, cease fire agreements, peace negotiations and informal arrangements with local drug and war lords. These conflicts have now fused with the fight against the junta that took charge (again) in 2021. Required reading: Samuel Hmung (2021), New Friends, Old enemies: Politics of Ethnic Armed Organisations after the Myanmar Coup, New Mandala. Recommended reading: Noriyuki Segawa (2017). “Double-layered Ethnic Politics in Malaysia: National Integration, Ethnic Unity and Social Stability,” Commonwealth & Comparative Politics 55 (1): 63-81.
11 SECURITY AND DEMOCRACY IN SOUTHEAST ASIA 15 May So far, the course has focused on conventional security threats, domestic conflicts and the strategic interests of global powers in Southeast Asia. But the state of democracy in the region is as important for the stability of Southeast Asian security as the volatility of inter-state, ethnic, social and religious tensions. This lecture analyses the interrelationship between the effectiveness of democratic institutions, the strength of civil society and the level of security in Southeast Asian states. Required reading: Thomas Pepinsky (2017). Southeast Asia: Voting Against Disorder. Journal of Democracy 28 (2): 120-131. Recommended reading: Jie Lu and Yun-han Chu (2021), Trading Democracy for Governance, Journal of Democracy 32 (4): 115-130. RESEARCH ESSAY DUE: 15 MAY, 23.55.

Tutorial Registration

The registration for tutorials is through MyTimetable.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Tutorial Participation (10%) 10 % * * 1,2,3,4,5.
Short Paper (20%) 20 % 27/03/2023 29/03/2023 2,3,4,5
Research Essay (35%) 35 % 15/05/2023 26/05/2023 1,2,3,4,5
Take-home Exam (35%) 35 % 14/06/2023 * 1,2,3,4,5

* 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 Integrity 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 Skills 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.


See Assessment Task 1.


See Assessment Task 4.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5.

Tutorial Participation (10%)

You will be assessed on your tutorial participation. The assessment is primarily based on the quality of your contributions in class (and therefore, not simply on the frequency of your contributions and/or attendance.) After each tutorial, you will receive a mark. Absence is marked as zero, unless docomentation on justifiable absence is provided. At the end of the semester, the average of your eight best marks achieved throughout the semester will be your total mark for tutorial participation. In order to prepare for the tuorials, it is essential that you have read the required reading and attended/listened to the lecture of that week. The better you are prepared through reflecting on these materials (and, optionally, additional material you researched yourself), the more effectively you will be able to engage in class, and the better your mark will be.

For students who feel uncomfortable with public speaking in class or who face participation hurdles due to the specific circumstances created by the pandemic, the course convener accepts brief written commentaries on the main reading of the respective week as a substitute for a contribution made in class. Students who wish to make use of this opportunity should send this brief commentary to the course convener within one week of the tutorial for which the student seeks a substitute participation mark. However, such students should write to the course convener at the beginning of the semester and explain their reasons for not being able to contribute in class. Unavailability due to work commitments or similar reasons are not acceptable - the mechanism of substituting oral contributions with brief commentaries is designed to accommodate students who can't contribute in class because of the barriers mentioned above, not because of pragmatic timing issues or matters of convenience.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 27/03/2023
Return of Assessment: 29/03/2023
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4,5

Short Paper (20%)

After the lecture on 13 March, a question will be explained and subsequently released in writing on Wattle. This question has to be answered by all students in a 1000-word paper that must be submitted through Turnitin on 27 March at 23.55 at the latest.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 15/05/2023
Return of Assessment: 26/05/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Research Essay (35%)

A research paper of up to 2000 words is due no later than 15 May at 23.55, and should be submitted through Turnitin. Students are free to choose any topic that is related to the overall subject of this course - that is, Southeast Asian Security. For more detailed guidelines on the research paper, please refer to the manual posted on the Wattle site of this course (and refer to the lecture on 27 March).

Assessment Task 4

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 14/06/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Take-home Exam (35%)

A take home exam will be posted on Wattle in the last week of the semester, and must be returned through Turnitin no later than 14 June at 23.55.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

Assignments (with the exception of the take-home exams) will be returned as hard copies with written commentary in text and a separate comment sheet. The time in which the assignment will be returned varies and is based on the length of the assignment. Please refer to the items in the assessment summary for detailed return times. Students who participate in online-only tutorials will be sent scans of their assessment sheets and in-text comments to their ANU emails.

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.

Resubmission of Assignments

Re-submission of assignments after the deadline is only permitted after consultation with the course convener and (concurrently) if the previously submitted version suffered from a technical problem. Before the deadline, students are free to replace their previous submissions at any time.

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).

AsPr Marcus Mietzner

Research Interests

Indonesian politics; democracy and elections; the political role of the armed forces; Islamism

AsPr Marcus Mietzner

By Appointment
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AsPr Marcus Mietzner

Research Interests

AsPr Marcus Mietzner

By Appointment
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