• Class Number 6477
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Edward Aspinall
    • Colum Graham
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

How do we compare political dynamics as they vary from one country to another? Why are some countries highly developed while others struggle to lift their most disadvantaged citizens out of poverty? Why are some democratic, others authoritarian, and still others prone to frequent shifts back and forth from one regime type to another? Why are some countries effectively centralized yet others decentralized with sub-national enclaves lorded over by heavily armed local bosses? Why are political parties strong and coherent in some settings but weak and incoherent elsewhere? Within what political contexts do we observe the rise of populist charismatic leaders and why? What is the impact of regional fissures, as expressed either in voting patterns or (at the other extreme) secessionist movements? What motivates efforts to reform democratic structures, and where have reforms been most effective in achieving their goals? What explains the major differences in pandemic response from one country to another?


These are the types of questions that will be explored in ASIA2065 as it focuses on the politics of a selected number of Asian countries. The course will begin with examination of country-specific historical foundations: processes of state formation and the evolution of state-society relations as well as basic landscapes of identity politics. The remaining weeks of the course will be devoted to comparison across countries with a focus on specific themes. These themes could include political economy; democracy and authoritarianism; territorial politics (central-local relations, political dynamics at the sub-national level, and regional fissures); and democratic design and political reform.


By the end of the course, students will have the opportunity to gain rich and historically grounded insights into the politics of the countries examined in this course. Just as importantly, they will be able to acquire a valuable conceptual ‘toolkit’ that can be applied to comparing polities elsewhere, both within Asia as well as beyond. Finally, they can become familiar with basic techniques of comparative politics and learn how to evaluate claims about the underlying causes of major political and political economic phenomena.

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.

Whether you are on campus or studying online, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

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). 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 28 JulySECTION I: State Formation and State-Society RelationsJapan 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 4 AugustSouth Korea

3 11 AugustThailand
4 18 AugustIndonesia
5 25 AugustThe Philippines
6 31 August-2 SeptemberN.B. No lecture or tutorials on 1-2 September. Midterm Essay
7 Teaching Break
8 22 SeptemberSECTION II: Postwar Political EconomyNortheast Asia 
9 Make-up Session (date TBC): Southeast Asia
10 29 SeptemberSECTION III: Democracy and AuthoritarianismEarly Trajectories
11 6 OctoberThe ‘Third Wave of Democracy’ meets “Democratic Recession’: Asian Dynamics
12 13 OctoberSECTION IV: Central-Local Relations and Regional FissuresBeyond the Capital: Central-Local Relations, Patronage, Bossism…and Local Democracy
13 20 OctoberRegional Fissures and Efforts to Resolve Them: From Electoral Cleavages to Secessionism
14 27 OctoberSECTION V: Reforming Democracy, Countering COVID-19Democracy and Democratic Reform into the Era of the Pandemic

Tutorial Registration

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.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
1. Critical comments 20 % 03/08/2023 * 1,2,3,4,5,6
2. Midterm exam 25 % 02/09/2023 26/09/2023 1,2,3,6
3. Tutorial participation 10 % 29/07/2023 01/12/2023 1,2,3,4,5,6
4. Final exam 45 % * 01/12/2023 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 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.


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).

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. 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 to the extent possible I treat the lecture period as a seminar in which there is ample opportunity for two-way exchange. I want to nurture an environment in which students are able not only to ask questions but also to contribute their own insights.


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

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 03/08/2023
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.


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: 02/09/2023
Return of Assessment: 26/09/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,6

2. Midterm exam

Midterm exam. Approximately 1500 words, to be administered in Week 6 of the course, 25% of final grade. 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: 29/07/2023
Return of Assessment: 01/12/2023
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: 01/12/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

4. Final exam

Final exam. Approximately 2500 words, 45% of final grade. The date of the exam will be during the centrally administered examination period and announced at a later date. 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. 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, 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

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.

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 Edward Aspinall

Research Interests

Paul Hutchcroft, comparative politics, Southeast Asian politics

Prof Edward Aspinall

Friday 14:00 15:00
Colum Graham

Research Interests

Colum Graham

Friday 14:00 15:00

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