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Political Economy of Southeast Asia


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies or the MA International Relations. Students from other programmes may be admitted at the discretion of the co-ordinator, David Henley. Please contact him if you are interested in taking this course, but are NOT a student of the MA Asian Studies or MA International Relations.


This research seminar focuses on the political economy of contemporary Southeast Asia, with particular attention to two arenas of interaction between political and economic life: the nexus between business and politics at national level, and the influence of international power relations on national economic policy and activity. Topics covered include decolonization, corruption (under both authoritarian and democratic regimes), neoliberalism, and international financial crises. Some seminars in the series are geographically themed, including country studies of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, a session on Japanese investment and influence in Southeast Asia, and a session comparing the political economies of Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Students read and introduce key texts, and choose a specific topic for individual research culminating in an essay of 4,000 words (5 ec variant) or 6,000 words (10 ec variant).

course objectives

Participants gain a thorough understanding of key aspects of the interaction between political organization and economic activity in the Southeast Asian context, and are trained in critically examining key texts. Both oral and written presentations are required.

Time table

Monday 3-5 pm.

Mode of instruction

Attendance and participation are compulsory.

Course load

5 ec variant: 140 hours
10 ec variant: 280 hours
Lectures: 2 hours per week x 13 weeks = 26 hours
Reading, and preparation of presentations and assignments: 114 hours (5 ec) / 254 hours (10 ec)

Assessment method

Presentations and participation in class: 33 per cent.
Written assignment: 67 per cent (5 ec variant: 4000 words; 10 ec variant: 6000 words).



Reading list

To be announced.



Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.


David Henley