Security Challenges in the Indo-Pacific - POLI6840

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Spring Term 6 15 (7.5) Jamie Gruffydd-Jones checkmark-circle


In this course, we shall examine the most urgent developments and security issues that affect the Asia-Pacific region.

It will start with an overview of International Relations theories and an exploration of whether non-Western International Relations theories will be a better alternative in understanding the development and security challenges in the Asia-Pacific.

We will then address the key international development and security dilemmas in the region. These include: the Taiwan problem; nuclear proliferation on the Korean peninsula; the danger of nationalism in Japan and beyond; territorial disputes in the South China Sea; and ensuring economic growth and regional cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific.

Finally, we will ask whether the influence and authority of the US, the incumbent hegemon in the Asia-Pacific region, are in decline and its preeminent role will soon be replaced by a rising China, and whether great-power confrontation is inevitable.


Contact hours

Contact Hours: 22
Private Study Hours: 128
Total hours: 150


This is a required module for the BA in Politics and International Relations with a Year in the Asia-Pacific, and is an optional module for all other programmes in the School of Politics and International Relations.

Method of assessment

Seminar participation: 20%
Essay – 2,500 words: 30%
Exam: Two hours, 50%

**Please note that the exam in May/June 2023 will be Online (24 hour window)**

Reassessment Instrument: 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

Reading list (Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)

The following are the main text (marked with an *) and book-length references for the module, and they are to be aided by relevant journal articles:

Amitav Acharya, Non-Western International Relations Theory: Perspectives On and Beyond Asia (Abingdon: Routledge, 2009).

Anna M. Agathangelou and Ling L. H. M. (2009) Transforming World Politics: From Empire to Multiple Worlds, London, Routledge.

John G. Ikenberry and M. Mastanduno, ends (2003) International Relations Theory and the Asia-Pacific. New York: Columbia University Press.

* Derek McDougall, Asia-Pacific in World Politics (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2016).

David Shambaugh and Michael Yahuda (eds), International Relations of Asia (Lanham, MD: Rowan & Littlefield, 2014).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will:

8.1 have empirical knowledge of various Asia-Pacific political, economic and social issues and challenges which are having impact beyond the region.

8.2 understand the trajectory of the contending development and security issues in the Asia-Pacific region and their potential to impact upon security beyond the region.

8.3 understand the roles of various state and non-state actors that shape the politics of the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

8.4 understand how various political and International Relations theories can be usefully applied to the study of the issues which impact upon the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

8.5 have mastery of the research skills for doing comparative political studies.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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