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PEIR Seminar International Politics and Economy of East Asia


Admission requirements

A foundation level knowledge of Contemporary East Asian politics and international relations is strongly encouraged. In addition, students must complete the preparatory reading in the handbook in preparation for the course.


Why are East Asian states establishing regional institutions and frameworks to manage their affairs? What are the historical foundations and core values that generate this ‘urge to merge’? How can we explain and understand connections between states and sub-state actors at the sub-regional and micro-regional levels? How do the processes of regionalization and globalization facilitate or hinder the development of regionalism? In this course, students investigate these and further questions from a variety of theoretical standpoints to explore the processes of regionalism and regionalization in the International Relations of East Asia.

Students commence the course with an overview of regionalism in East Asia before delving into the diverse and rich theoretical frameworks that enable us to understand regionalism from different perspectives. Students will also examine the historical context of regionalism in East Asia, which has served to both encourage and undermine the development of regional institutions.

In the next six classes of the course, students will learn about key issues in the economic, political and security relations of states in the East Asian region. In the field of political economy, students will study the growth of regional production networks and global value chains, and their connections with globalization, free trade agreements (FTAs) and the Asian financial crisis. In the political domain, we explore the development of East Asian regionalism from the creation of ASEAN to ASEAN+3 (APT) and the East Asia Summit (EAS), as well as the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) and the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative (BRI). In terms of security, students will examine the South China Sea dispute and the influence of the United States on East Asian regionalism, focusing in particular on the ‘pivot’ to Asia and President Trump’s Asia policy.

In the last two sessions, students will explore the prospects of East Asian regionalism.

Course objectives

This module aims to provide a critical examination of key issues and processes related to the development of East Asian regionalism. The focus of this module is on developments since World War Two, but with a particular emphasis on the post-Cold War period. By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the complex issues and processes related to the development of East Asian regionalism.

  • Apply conceptual tools to analyze key events and processes in the development of regionalism in East Asia.

  • Demonstrate appropriate cognitive, communicative and transferable skills, develop the capacity for independent learning, critique major texts on East Asian regionalism, and participate in and lead class debates.


check timetable: collegerooster
The timetable is available on the China and Japan Studies website

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course load

All students MUST (140 hours for 5 ECs):
1. Attend and participate in 12 x 2-hour seminars (24 hours);
2. Complete readings and contribute to web posts, leading and participating in seminar discussions and debates every week (96 hours);
3. Write one assessed research essay of between 2,000-2,500 words, based on the material covered in the module (20 hours).

Assessment method

Participation element – includes attendance (students must attend at least 70% of seminars),
participation, webposts and seminar leading exercise: 50%
Research element – research essay (2,000-2,500 words): 50%

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


A handbook denoting weekly readings will be posted on Blackboard by mid-January.
Additional information (prezis, useful websites, etc…) will also be found on blackboard over the course of the semester.

Reading list

Beeson, Mark. 2014. Regionalism and Globalization in East Asia: Politics, Security and Economic Development. Palgrave Macmillan.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English
and Dutch

Contact information

Vincent Chang