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Economic Development and Social Change in Southeast Asia


Admission requirements

This course is offered to students of economic history in the specialization Migration and Global Interdependence in the MA programme History and students with a specialization in Southeast Asian studies in the MA programme Asian Studies. It is also accessible to students of the History of European Expansion and Globalisation and students of Asian Studies with a specialization in Politics, Society and Economy. In addition, it is open MA research students in History and Asian Studies. Students who are interested in taking this course, but who are not admitted to one of the mentioned master programmes are requested to contact their co-ordinator of studies.


This research seminar explores the recent economic development in one of the world’s most exciting regions. By looking at assessments in the secondary literature as well as supporting statistics, we seek to gain an understanding of why certain nations in Southeast Asia have achieved a spectacular economic growth performance while lagging behind in terms of social development. The course adopts a historical perspective reaching back to independence after the Second World War. Particular attention is given to the role of institutions in economic and social development, especially the state. The seminar concludes with explanations and social impact of the financial crisis that hit the region in the late 1990s. Students introduce assigned readings and choose a specific topic for individual research culminating in an essay of about 6,000 words.

Course objectives

Students obtain a thorough understanding of recent economic and social developments in Southeast Asia, including a concentration on one individual country. Students receive training in critically discussing assessments in the secondary literature and in consulting original data, on occasion drawing on websites, for analysis. Students are trained training in both oral and written presentation.


See here.

Mode of instruction


Attendance and active participation is mandatory.

Course Load

Total = 280 hours, distributed as follows:

  • Class attendance 28 hours.

  • General literature 56 hours.

  • Presentations 16 hours.

  • Term paper 180 hours.

Assessment method

  • Performance in class (1/3).

  • Final essay (2/3).



Reading list

Selected readings from recent literature will be announced at the first meeting.


Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”.


Further information may be obtained from the lecturers: Prof.dr. David Henley and Dr. J.T. Lindblad.