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Politics, Economics and International Relations Seminar


Admission requirements

The course is open to students of Japanstudies programme only.


Critical Approaches to the International Relations of East Asia
How are power-knowledge relations structured in the formation of International Relations theory? What impact do these knowledge-power relations continue to have on the conduct of international relations in East Asia? (Why) has there been no East Asian International Relations theory until recently? What contribution can postpositivist and critical theories provide to help us understand the international relations of East Asia? (Why) does International Relations theory require ‘Decolonization’ and ‘Democratization’ and what does this entail?

This course builds on the theoretical foundations that students have acquired through the BA2 Semester Two course: ‘Regionalism and regionalization in the International Relations of East Asia’, through the examination of alternative theoretical perspectives and approaches to the international relations of East Asia, such as the English School, Postmodernism, Feminism, Postcolonialism, Critical Theory, and Green Politics. Each of these frameworks will be applied to a different case study in order to explore how the theory works in practice. These case studies include: the dynamics of inter-regionalism and notion of the EU as a ‘vanguard international society’ by examining the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), a reappraisal of the Asian Financial Crisis, the hydropolitics of the Mekong Sub-region, and perceptions of North Korea in the Six Party Talks. By the end of the course, students will have an intermediate knowledge of International Relations theory and be able to approach a myriad of issues in global affairs from a variety of perspectives. Students will also develop a deep understanding of the problematic issues, perspectives and aspects of the field of International Relations today.

Course objectives

  • Ability to articulate a research question based on original research

  • Ability to search for and locate primary and secondary materials for research paper

  • Ability to review existing literature on a given topic, identify main authors and arguments, and structure a literature review.

  • Ability to develop an argument and structure a paper based on individual research.

  • Ability to identify and follow disciplinary conventions in citation, analysis, use of sources, and structure of a research paper

  • Ability to critically assess research papers of other students and offer constructive feedback

  • Ability to structure a presentation, and effectively present orally on academic topics


Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

  • Total course load for this course is 140 hours – Hours spent on attending seminars (eg 2 hours per week x 13 weeks =) 26 hours

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature (as a possible criterion approx. 7 pages per hour with deviations up and down depending on the material to be studied) (if applicable) time for completing assignments, whether in preparation at the college – Time to write a paper (including reading / research)

Assessment method

  • Participation element (attendance, webpostings, active participation, presentation): 50%

  • Paper (2,500-3,000 words): 50%

Het eindcijfer voor het onderdeel is het gewogen gemiddelde van de uitslagen voor de deeltoetsen, met dien verstande dat het onderdeel alleen voldoende kan zijn wanneer de student voor alle deeltoetsen een voldoende heeft behaald. Indien een of meer van de deeltoetsen onvoldoende zijn, ontvangt de student een onvoldoende (onv.) als uitslag voor het gehele onderdeel.



Reading list

To follow


This has to be filled out by the key-user of the department.


This course should be taken together with the corresponding BA3 Text Seminar offered by the same cluster.