• Class Number 4648
  • Term Code 3350
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Tomoko Akami
    • AsPr Tomoko Akami
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/06/2023
  • Class End Date 15/08/2023
  • Census Date 07/07/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 30/06/2023
SELT Survey Results

International History from Asia and the Pacific: Framing Critical Perspectives (ASIA8049)

This course introduces the exciting new field of International History, viewed from an Asia Pacific perspective. Through a series of case studies of the region, students will develop the skills to analyse how the norms, practices and structures that underpin international affairs today have developed since the 19th century, and what role Asia and the Pacific region played in this process. The course prompts students to imagine alternative pathways and outcomes arising from specific historical moments. Examples of these key case studies include: Pattern of the adaptation of international law by China and Japan; alternatives to the Europe-centred world system; critical assessment of the idea of human rights; colonial participation in international organisations; the development of international anti-terrorist law; historical origins of the border disputes in Northeast Asia; and the development of refugee law, with its implications for the current refugee crisis in Asia and Australia.


Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Critically assess key ideas and debates in international history
  2. Understand the role of Asia and the Pacific region in the development of international law and international organisations
  3. Critically assess historical documents of international conventions, identifying diverse agendas of multiple stakeholders in given historical contexts.
  4. Develop a critical perspective on major debates in international history and international affairs.
  5. Critically utilise case studies and concrete evidence when arguing analytical points in writing.
  6. Summarise, digest and present the contents of analytical readings

Research-Led Teaching

There has been a significant development in International History, especially in history of international organisations, to examine the historical development of the global governing system, and there has been a growing trend for scholars in International History, International Relations and International Law working closely to critically assess this process. There are still, however, little works on the role of Asia and the Pacific, and the meaning of colonialism, in this exciting new field. I work in this field, especially using the case study of Japan, the first non-Euro-American modern empire, and this course is to encourage students in MAPS to work in this field from the perspectives and cases of Asia and the Pacific.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

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 Lecture/seminar - Session 1: Introduction: What is international history, and why Asia and the Pacific? Why is 'international history' important for understanding the ideas and politics which have shaped the current global governing institutions? Why are International Relations (IR) and International Law experiencing a 'historical turn' recently? Why have the experiences of Asia and the Pacific been neglected, and why are they important? How can we locate the current crisis of these institutions in a broad historical span? Students need to identify the topic for the research essay. Please note that some of the topics and the sequence of the order below may change.
2 Lecture/Seminar - Session 2: Indian Ocean System As well as the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, there has been a growing interest of the significance of the Indian Ocean as an integral maritime region. You may recall that it is Australian Foreign Ministry which promotes the idea of the new term, 'Indo-Pacific'. The Indian Ocean connects the East coast of Africa, the Middle East, the Indian Continent, Asia and the Oceania, and it has been significant in the development of trade (including slave trade), transportation, communication, and maritime strategic operations. We will examine the meaning of the Indian Ocean in the development of the modern International system, and see how this development is connect to the current issues.
3 Lecture/seminar - Session 3: Westphalia reconsidered: why is there much criticism for this system which has been important to understand modern IR history, and what diid/does it mean for Asia? When did the Peace of Westphalia 'become' an orthodox in history of IR? We will critically assess the 'Westphalian' model and Bull's notion of International Society. What are useful, or problematic in these concepts from the perspectives of Asia and the Pacific?
4 Lecture/seminar - Session 4:: International law reconsidered: extra-territoriality and the problems of international law and the international system of the 19th century We understand modern international law is based on the principle of equal, sovereign national state, but there were many exceptions to this principles, and 'extra-territoriality' was one of them. What was it, and why was it applied to Japan and China (and Siam, the Ottoman, and Persia etc), but not to a small state in Europe, and what consequences did it have? Is an equality among the state an illusion, or a significant principle in international politics? Do we still have an extra-territory issue now, and if so, what is the similarity and difference between these historical cases and now?
5 Lecture/seminar - Session 5: International law reconsidered: peace and the origin of the international justice system The Hague has been the site of developing an institutional mechanism for peaceful solution of international conflicts since 1899. The ideas of international arbitration and international justice materialized in the establishment of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), and after the First World War, the Permanent Court of International Justice, PCIJ (the predecessor of the current International Court of Justice: ICJ) was established. Before 1945, its cases were almost exclusively those on Europe, but Japanese and Chinese judges also played a role. We will look at the founding discussion of the PCIJ, and what were the potentials and the limits, especially for our region. We will look at the issues of the principle of the equality of the state, the idea of the civilization, the relationship between justice and politics, especially between Japanese representative, and the responses of the others to their arguments.
6 Session 6: writing workshop Writing workshop for the assignments
7 Lecture/seminar - Session 7: Racial equality, anti-slavery conventions, and Asia: 1840, 1919, 1926, and 2015 In 1919, at the Paris Peace Conference after the end of the First World War, the Japanese delegate proposed to insert a clause of racial equality into the covenant of the newly established League of Nations, the predecessor of the UN, and this was rejected. Australian Prime Minister, Billy Hughes, played a significant role in this League's decision. Why was it rejected? Did the Japanese want the universal racial equality, and how did it work for its colonies? We will consider the meaning of this racial equality proposal in the context of the recent critical literature of history of human rights, cheap labour, class and race, and in relations with the development of anti-slavery conventions then and now. Is the world heading towards more equal rights of the people, and how significant is the race factor here? What international systems do we have now to protect racial equality, and how are the countries in this region responding to them?
8 Lecture/seminar - Session 8: Roles of NGOs for shaping global governing norms and system and Asia and the Pacific in the inter-war period Recent scholarship established the League of Nations (LN, 1920-46) as a harbinger of the following UN’s global governing system. Although the LN has been understood as predominantly a European organization, independent countries beyond Europe also joined, including Japan, China, Siam, Persia, as well as India. The LN consolidated, enhanced and mobilized the works of international (governmental and non-governmental) organizations, especially expert organizations, which had been playing a significant role in shaping regional and global governing norms. The American philanthropic organizations, such as the Rockefeller Foundation and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, also funded these activities of the LN and other international organizations throughout the world, including Asia and the Pacific. Despite this, however, we still know little about what role did those from Asia and the Pacific played in these League’s activities.
9 Lecture/seminar - Session 9: : the idea of sovereignty reconsidered: sovereignty in the sea One of the major issues the League of Nations tackled before 1945 was to develop the idea of the sovereignty in the sea, although the relevant laws and institutions developed after 1945. What prompted the initial discussion at the League, and what happened after 1945, and whose views prevailed, and why? Is the freedom of sea the logic of the powerful, or the tool of the small states to ensure sea passage. Were there the cases in Asia before 1945, and what were the implications of decolonization after 1945? What laws do we have to regulate sea sovereign territory, what historical legacy do they have, and are they effective to solve the current cases in Asia and the Pacific? Why is the case not an issue until recently?
10 Lecture/seminar - Session 10: international law and human rights reconsidered: the development of the refugee convention and the current refugee crises in Europe and Asia How do we define a refugee, and what rights do they have and have not? How was the idea of refugee and the refuge protection developed, and what role did the League of Nations play? Were there 'racial implications' in defining who were worth protecting? What laws do they exist now to protect refugees? Were there major refugee crises in Asia and the Pacific? What role did Australia play for refugee crises in Asia, and why the recent governments take different attitudes to refugees from those for the post Vietnam War or the post Tenanmon incident? Recently the Olympic committee decided to create a category of refugees. How did they come to this decision, and what implication does it have?
11 Lecture/seminar - Session 11: Decolonization reconsidered: Economic development and anti-malaria campaigns of WHO in Asia in the late 1940s and early 1950s In the late 1940s and early 1950s, WHO ran a major anti-malaria campaign with which they thought it was possible to eradicate malaria, and Asia became one of the priority areas. The campaign, however failed, and malaria in Africa still remain a major problem (WHO says in 2015, '88% of global cases and 90% of global deaths occurred in the Africa'. Now with global warming, it is said that malaria affected areas will expand.) We will look at this anti-malaria campaign in Asia in the 1940s and 1950s, and examine how it was pursued, and how the ideas of health and development interacted in the age of decolonization and the Cold War, and whose interest was served. We will ponder what lessons this early campaign teach us, and what improvements we can make. We will think the impact of the climate change on this in Asia and beyond.
12 Lecture/seminar - Session 12: Summary and workshop: What are missing in International History, International Law and International Relations, which do not incorporate extra-Europe and America? How do the disciplines of International History, International Relations and International Law approach different topics? Could we learn from each other, and what would be the constructive ways of understanding modern international relations better? The workshop for the research essay.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Tutorial participation 10 % 01/07/2023 14/07/2023 1,2,3,4,5,6
Review Essay 35 % 11/07/2023 25/07/2023 2,4,6
Research Essay 55 % 15/08/2023 29/08/2023 1,2,3,5,6

* 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 Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

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.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 01/07/2023
Return of Assessment: 14/07/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Tutorial participation

Students are expected to attend each session, participate in discussions and complete assigned activities for the designated sessions. It is crucial for students to read the required readings for each session and address the questions.

The marking for this component is based on:…  

  • Demonstration that the student read and digested the assigned readings of each session.
  • Demonstration that the student has thought about the issue of each session, and demonstrate this in the discussion.
  • Use of evidences (from the readings and beyond) to back up points in discussion.
  • Active participation in the discussion of the issues…  relevant…  to the readings and topics of each week.
  • Leading and facilitating role in discussion
  • Actively participate in role playing session

Assessment Task 2

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 11/07/2023
Return of Assessment: 25/07/2023
Learning Outcomes: 2,4,6

Review Essay

Review Essay (2400 words: text in total, exclusive footnotes/bibliography)

The assignment should have the two sections: 1) Essay to review relevant scholarly works on your research topic  2) Brief statement on your research strategy. On the details see the wattle. Assessment criteria: see the wattle

Assessment Task 3

Value: 55 %
Due Date: 15/08/2023
Return of Assessment: 29/08/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5,6

Research Essay

Research Essay (4000 words: exclusive footnotes/biblio)

Developing your own research question, relevant to this course, research for it, and write a good paper on this is another part of the weekly sessions of this course, and we will start this from day one of the course.

I. For assessment criteria, please see the wattle.

II. General guideline on essay preparation and the specific formatting requirements, see the wattle.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community 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 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 University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

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. Only word documents are accepted (no pdf). Only a submission to the wattle site of the course is accepted.

Hardcopy Submission


Late Submission

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.

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).
AsPr Tomoko Akami

Research Interests

International History, History of International Relations, History of International Law, History of NGOs and GOs, Japan's Diplomatic, Intellectual and Political Histories

AsPr Tomoko Akami

By Appointment
By Appointment
AsPr Tomoko Akami

Research Interests

AsPr Tomoko Akami

By Appointment
By Appointment

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