Asian Studies and International Relations - annotation
Introduction to International Relations-Asia
This course introduces students to basic features, sources and development of the scientific field known as international relations. Lectures discuss topics such as IR’s basic ontological and epistemological foundations, IR theory and the four main theoretical debates, as well as the role of basic actors such as individuals, states and institutions and historical development of the current IR system. While speaking about IR theory and development, special emphasis is put on the Asia-Pacific region. The lecturer introduces the basic characteristics of the actors and their involvement in world politics.
Introduction to Southeast Asian Studies
Within the course students should acquire a broad and introductory awareness of the basic cultural, political, historical, religious, and linguistic issues that play role both in the individual countries of SEA and in the region as a whole. The lectures will focus on the geographical and geopolitical overview of the region, its population, culture, as well as its values. Special attention will also be paid to the position of the region within the system of international relations. The course is intended to provide a sound grounding for subsequent thematic courses focusing on individual countries, such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.
China – Society and Civilization
This course sets to familiarize students with the basics of sinology, stressing particularly cultural and sociopolitical characteristics of China. Successful completion of the course will allow students to gain better understanding of Chinese domestic political events, as well as deepen their understanding of Chinese philosophy, literature or political and cultural history. Each week’s class deals with a specific topic or a characteristic of the Chinese civilization. Special emphasis will be placed on the development and transformation of the Chinese society from a historical perspective.
Introduction to Japanese Studies
The series of lectures aims to provide an elementary awareness of Japanese history, as well as the key features of Japanese society and culture. Such knowledge is deemed necessary for further understanding of the role of Japan in the context of East Asia and the Sinosphere. Students will learn about the development of the country’s history from the earliest ancient times until the end of WWII, combining both traditional and modern sources of Japan’s ethnic and cultural identity. The course shall further familiarize students with some of the major characteristics, social trends and issues in the contemporary Japanese society and provide a way to approach the study of these unique traits through a method of cultural analysis.
Introduction to Vietnamese Studies
Within the course students should acquire a broader introductory awareness of the basic cultural, political, historical, religious, and linguistic features of Vietnam. Special emphasis will be put on the geographical and economic overview of Indochina, its administration, population, culture and its values. Students will also be introduced to the main historical turning points as well as current security issues of Vietnam. The course is intended to provide a sound grounding for subsequent thematic course focused on the modern political development of Indochina.
International Relations Research Methods
This course provides an introduction into various methodologies and methods employed in International Relations research. Students should gain knowledge about basic structure of scientific research project: research design, data collection, data analysis and research presentation, which should aid them in developing their own research projects. The course is divided into several sections, reflecting the explanatory/interpretative dichotomy and quantitative/qualitative dichotomy. Special attention will be paid to the issues of research design, especially in the context of explanatory methods. Each approach will be identified according to its basic characteristics and meta-theoretical prerequisites, the promises and pitfalls of each approach will be stressed. This course provides also an introduction into particular techniques and research skills needed for the utilization of these methods. The last session will be dedicated to the question how and where to publish research outcomes. Students gain knowledge about specific qualities of different genres of scientific outcomes: thesis, scholarly article, policy paper, etc.
The first semester of the language course is an introduction into Mandarin Chinese, so called putonghua, which is the official language of the People's Republic of China. It is aimed at mastering the essentials of phonetics (structure of the syllable, tones) and grammar (main sentence types, questions, negation) of the Chinese language, as well as its basic vocabulary. Attention will also be paid to the Chinese script. The variant of the script taught in this course is jiantizi, i.e. the simplified reformed characters which are used in the PRC. However, students will also be acquainted with the traditional non-reformed system of Chinese characters, fantizi.
The elementary course of Japanese is aimed at beginners with no prior knowledge of the language. Students will learn correct pronunciation, as well as the basics of the Japanese writing system. The course teaches rudimentary grammar, such as the correct use of various forms of the copula desu and particles wa, ni, de, he, ka, kara or made, to and wo. In the later part of the semester, verbs and their declension of the distal form will be introduced. In order to successfully complete the first semester, students are required to demonstrate sufficient reading and writing proficiency in hiragana and katakana, the two syllabic alphabets, as well as some core vocabulary and fundamental grammar patterns.
Colonialism and Post-colonial Theories
This course offers a brief history of western colonial empires and their characteristic features while aiming to provide a general perspective on the phenomenon of colonialism and its related concepts (colonization, decolonization, neocolonialism, imperialism, post-colonialism) through the interpretation of various theories, further exploring the theoretical and meta-theoretical frameworks of post-colonial studies: e.g. feminism, gender studies or multiculturalism, as well as topics such as identity, modernity, globalism, cosmopolitism, the concept of power, cultural relativism or universalism.
Introduction to Indian-Subcontinental Studies
The course will offer an introduction into the studies of the Indian Subcontinent in broader political, social and cultural perspectives. Following a brief historical overview ranging from the Old Ages till the colonial period, autochthonous Indian religious systems (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism) will also be analyzed. They will be conceived as complex frameworks of ideas, social structures and power discourses in broader political and social contexts. The main focus will be placed on the development of the Hindu society with its traditional hierarchies and their transformations, value systems and philosophical sources. Methodologically, the course will stem from a deconstructivist approach and apply comparative methods of study. Its aim will be to give an insight into the Indian society and culture and inspire students to reflect their locations and positionalities as researches of this area.
The main goal of this course is to familiarize students with modern political development of China with a special emphasis on the latest era. The lectures focus not only on modern political development of the People’s Republic of China which represents the frame of the transformation of China’s political system, as well as the turning points in domestic political development, but also on the shift of perception of China’s position in the international system and the country’s socio-economic issues.
The aim of the course is to introduce the basic cultural background of Indonesia followed by key historical events of the 19th, 20th and the beginning of the 21st century in order to attain a comprehensive picture of modern Indonesian history and society. Individual lectures focus on the period of colonialism in the Dutch East Indies, whose territory later became the model for the Republic of Indonesia, while outlining the domestic political tradition and the impact of the legacy of the Dutch colonial rule. More importantly the later part of the lectures will be devoted to the post-colonial period with an emphasis on the historical and political development of the country, including current issues and challenges. The course further sets to explain the role of modern Indonesia in the system of international relations.
Political Geography and Geopolitics
Geography is about power, an ever-changing map of the human struggle over borders, space, natural resources and authority. In this course we will try to evaluate basic concepts and methods which are used by political geographers and geopoliticians in attempt to understand and/or change our world.
Environmental Security in Asia
With globalization now spreading virtually to all parts of the world, new issues and challenges have developed in the realm of international relations. Environmental degradation is probably the most significant one. The diffusion of modernity and the subsequent economic development have negatively affected the world we live in. Resources have become scarce, pollution spread from the most developed countries to the less developed ones; biodiversity has become endangered in many regions of the world. Simply put, the relationship between men and nature is presently on the verge of sustainability. This fact could easily be translated into potential conflict situations, crises or even wars. This course investigates the realm of environmental security with a special emphasis on Asia’s environmental problems and possible solutions.
Korea – Society and Civilization
The free-choice course aims to characterize the cornerstones of the cultural tradition of modern Korea and its people. Attention will be paid to social and historical aspects such as the modern mythos of Korea’s uniqueness, characteristics of religion and religiosity, or Korean culture. Students will learn about the specifics of Korean national mentality, as well as about the process and effects of economic and social transformation of the structure of modern Korean society.
The second semester follows up with the introduction into the Chinese language (Chinese I). Students will continue to deepen their knowledge of phonetics (tones, sentence intonation), grammar (verbs, attributes, adverbials, direction verbs) and the Chinese script. At the end of the second term, students will have learnt approximately 250 of the most frequently used characters. The main teaching method is a conversational one and it deals with various topics from the daily life (shopping, restaurant, expressions of time). Each lesson consists of two dialogues and relevant vocabulary and grammar.
The second semester of the Japanese language course presupposes that students have mastered the two syllabaries, hiragana and katakana, as this course will incrementally begin to familiarize them with the usage of basic kanji, i.e. Chinese characters in Japanese. Vocabulary and grammar will be further expanded and enriched by adding more elements: students will learn how to utilize verbs to express direction and the state of being, as well as the correct use of different adjective types. The course will also introduce Japanese and Sino-Japanese numerals and more grammatical particles, e.g. yori or hodo. At the end of the first year of study, students are expected to demonstrate a basic conversational ability in various topics related to everyday life.
Migration and minorities in Asia
The course deals with the migration, mobility and role minorities play in politics, economy and security in Asia. Its aim is to provide students with theoretical knowledge of migration (internal vs. external, societal vs. territorial mobility) and - against this background - to analyze specific cases of how minorities (esp. Chinese and Indian diasporas in Asia) influence their home states and the countries of their residence. An attention will be paid also to a conflict potential of other minorities in the region (Burma, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand).
The course introduces the reader into the political, security and societal background of Post-World War 2 Japan. Politically, the course will investigate into the Yoshida doctrine, its legacy of Japan as a ‘merchant country’ and its nascent revisionism connected with Prime Ministers Nakasone, Koizumi and Abe. Japanese society will be discussed in terms of the intersection of modernization and traditionalism, which manifests itself in both unique Japanese nowadays culture and problems (such as hikikomori) that result from this process.
The objective of the course is to shed light on the main events and turning points of Indochinese history (with special emphasis on Vietnam) in the 20th century, such as the impact of French colonialism on traditional Vietnamese society; the role of World War II in shaping nationalism and communism in Vietnam; the First Indochina War, the Geneva Conference and division of Vietnam, the unsuccessful land reform in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem´s regime in South Vietnam and the motives of American intervention, the Vietnam War; the political and economic development in Vietnam since its reunification in 1975, the deteriorating relationship with the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese incursion to Cambodia in 1978, its occupation and the repercussions for Vietnam, such as international isolation and the Chinese punitive war of 1979; the Renovation (Doi Moi) reforms in 1986, Vietnamese withdrawal from Cambodia in 1989, its normalization of relations with China, USA, Japan, ASEAN and the rest of the World; current problems of Vietnam – South China Sea disputes, etc. Hence, upon completion, the students should be equipped with a profound understanding of Vietnam, its history and issues that preoccupy its society.
Indian subcontinent in the modern era
The course will deal with the historical development of the Indian subcontinent since the beginning of colonial conquests till today. It will focus on the period of independent states and on analyses of the political and social systems, especially of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, in a brief overview of Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and The Maldives.
Chinese III follows up students’ knowledge obtained in the first year of the Chinese studies. In the grammar part, students will be acquainted with more complicated language structures, and in the vocabulary part with more frequently used Chinese words and characters. Both courses are aimed at letting students make themselves understood in daily-life situations. The stress will therefore be put on listening comprehension and on active use of acquired vocabulary.
The Japanese language courses will follow up students’ knowledge obtained in the first year of Japanese studies. It will build up on grammar by introducing the student into more complicated language structures; vocabulary by introducing students into more advanced Kanji characters and speaking/listening skills by practicing daily-life situations.
Political thought and cultural context in Asia
This discussion-based seminar course investigates into the role of culture and identity in international relations. It aims to 1, compare intellectual roots of Western and Eastern societal traditions and 2, connect these roots with current Non-Western IR theory and its representation in practice. In a nutshell, the course focuses on the influence of culture/identity nexus (i.e. confucianism, buddhism, Asian traditions of collectivism and societal hierarchy, discourse) on Asian theoretical visions of the world and their practical foreign policies. Understanding these processes will help the students in gaining a broader knowledge of Asian uniqueness and in articulating research designs based in reflectivist epistemological background.
Regional Integration and Cooperation in the Asia Pacific
This course focuses on the processes of globalization and regionalization and their intersection in the region of Asia Pacific. It can be divided into two parts. In the first one, the lecturer discusses theoretical foundations of cooperation/integration in international relations. In the second one, the lecturer analyzes the integration/fragmentation processes in the Asia Pacific region. Special emphasis is put on the Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Asia-Pacific Economic Coooperation (APEC) and the role of Asian states in universal organizations such as the United Nations (UN).
Security in the Asia Pacific
Since the end of the Cold War, the region of Asia Pacific has exhibited diverse security challenges, such as transnational crime, terrorism, disaster relief, information security, climate change, and public health epidemics. In addition, these challenges as well as many others have started to be taken into consideration as core national security issues. Thus, this course is aimed at providing the students with an overview of the most pressing security issues in the region and at the same time develop the students’ skills in analyzing and explaining East and Southeast Asian internal, transnational and regional issues and potential triggers of conflict. The course is divided into two parts. First, the role of the superpowers (USA, China, Russia, rising India, etc.) in maintaining or disrupting security in the region are to be discussed. Second, special attention will also be paid to the question whether new non-traditional security threats foster greater cooperation or competition among the key players in the region. Emphasis will also be paid to the multilateral institutions that address these issues and to the challenges that impede international cooperation in non-traditional security in the region.
Contemporary issues in East Asia
The course Contemporary issues in East Asia is focused on the most actual issues concerning East Asian politics and policies. Practically, it will investigate into internal and foreign policies in China, Japan and the Koreas, their conflicts and cooperation. Another focus will be put into environmental issues and human geography. The course will provide a broad interpretation of current political and economical situation in the region.
Chinese IV follows up students’ knowledge obtained in the first year and a half of Chinese studies. It follows up on grammar, vocabulary, comprehension and speaking skills usable in daily life situations.
Japanese IV follows up students’ knowledge obtained in the first year and a half of Chinese studies. It follows up on grammar, vocabulary, comprehension and speaking skills usable in daily life situations.