• Offered by Department of Political and Social Change
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Political Sciences
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Paul Hutchcroft
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

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.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Critical Comments x 2 (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  2. Midterm Essay (25) [LO 1,2,3,6]
  3. Tutorial Participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  4. Final Essay (45) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]

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.


This course comprises some 130 hours of activity over 12 weeks, including some 24 hours of lectures or an equivalent activity and some 12 hours of tutorials or equivalent activity. The course comprises a maximum of 6k words of assessment or the equivalent. Please note this is a general guide, averaged over the semester and the final hours ultimately depend on the individual's ability in reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed 24 units of university courses.

Prescribed Texts

Reading materials will be made available online prior to commencement of the course.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $4440
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6000
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8134 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 In Person N/A

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