Socio-political History of East and South-East Asia
“Learning without thinking is labor lost; thinking without learning is perilous”
Confucius, The Analects, II:15
Instructor: Professor Alexey Maslov
Office Hours: Tuesday 15:40-16:40, and
The course focuses on the historical and social background in East and South-East Asia including the historical roots, the nature of state power, social forces, major powers relationships and the future of Asian geopolitics in the 21st century. The history of world politics has, by and large, been a history of interactions among great powers. The legacy of history, traditional political culture, cross-border conflicts and alliances play very important role in the modern-day political situation in East Asia.
This course is mainly dedicated for those students who have no or little background in Asian studies so this course could be regarded as a qualifying or preparatory course for more detailed courses.
This course will examine how the Asian states as well as Western powers have tried (and are trying) to shape the geopolitical environment since the mid-18th century to the present. The course will focus primarily on the continuities and discontinuities in East Asian cultural, social, political pattern, international relations.
The following issues will be discussed: the East Asian setting and early European influence to 1800; 19th century European impact on East and Southeast Asia; China's and Japan’s response to the West; the decline and fall of empires in East Asia and national resurrection of Asian states; the Cold War in Asia and postwar nation-building ; the self-reinventing of Japan and China; the rise of nationalism in East Asia and its different models (Chinese, Japanese, etc.); power, authority, and the advent of democracy in Asia; Russia in Pacific Asia; regional dynamics, regional and global perspectives of Asia Pacific; new trends in Asia: isolation, integration, and changes, etc.
Present day Each Asian power confronts challenges and opportunities that influence its national security objectives and strategies. One of the major objectives of this course is to analyze these challenges and opportunities and attempt to reach some consensus on what the alternative futures of Asian Geopolitics will be over the next 15 to 25 years.
The fundamental question of the continuity between the cultural tradition and socio-economic organization of the past and the elements of change and “modernity” in the present, will accompany us during the course and this theme will be developed in the context of the different historical periods.
· Lectures, readings, excursions, assignments, and discussions are designed to help you develop the skills to:
· Think historically, read critically, and write and speak persuasively.
· Situate major historical events in East Asian History in their proper geographical, chronological, and thematic context.
· Connect and integrate historical understandings, and grasp their political, economic, ethical and moral dimensions.
· Appreciate the greatness and complexity of EA and SEA cultural and religious traditions.
· To understand continuities and discontinuities in political and state institution of East Asia
· Seek for better understanding of the present development of East Asia .
· Evaluate and critically assess the validity of historical evidence and interpretations.
· Use primary and secondary sources to construct sophisticated, persuasive, and logical interpretations of historical problems and events.