Political Systems in Asia-Pacific

Course Code






Course Objectives

This course will introduce the political systems in the Asia-Pacific region including East and Southeast Asia. It will also examine the political institutions and the political processes of countries in this region, and analyze the major issues and challenges confronting them.

Course Contents

This is an introduction course which will provide a broad survey of political systems in East and Southeast Asia (the Asia-Pacific region). The course will first introduce some classic readings in the political science field on political system, political development and political change. Then the course will address government and politics in Asia-Pacific by examining pre-colonial systems of government, Western imperialism and colonial governments, national liberation movements, and proxy wars fought by the Superpowers through supporting selected political regimes in the region during the era of the Cold War.

Industrialization and rapid economic growth transformed many countries from peasant societies to modern, urban and industrial countries. Other countries remained poor and were left behind as their neighbors often underwent vast political and economic changes. All of these forces of change have greatly influenced the political systems in the region, the ways in which groups and individuals participate in politics, and the degree to which political institutions are representative. As such, the second section of the course will offer an analysis of the political systems of the region with an emphasis on understanding political change and its relationship to socio-economic transformation through selective case studies (9 countries). The course will conclude with a comparison of political challenges in Asia-Pacific during the past two decades.