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Political Economy of Southeast Asia


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies or the MA International Relations. Students from other programmes may be admitted at the discretion of the co-ordinator, David Henley. Please contact him if you are interested in taking this course, but are NOT a student of the MA Asian Studies or MA International Relations.


This research seminar focuses on the political economy of contemporary Southeast Asia, with attention to processes and arenas of interaction between business and politics at both national and international level. At the national level, topics covered include developmental states, ethnic business minorities, democratization, corruption, privatization, oligarchy, and the ‘middle income trap’. In relation to international political economy, themes addressed include decolonization, dependency, regionalism, globalization, and the rapidly changing economic and political relationship between Southeast and Northeast Asia (China, Korea, Japan). Students read and discuss key texts, and choose a specific topic for individual research culminating in an essay of 4,000 words (5 ec variant) or 6,000 words (10 ec variant).

Course objectives

Participants gain a thorough understanding of key aspects of the interaction between political organization and economic activity in the Southeast Asian context, and are trained in critically examining key texts. Both oral and written presentations are required.


The timetable is available on the Asianstudies website

Mode of instruction


Attendance and participation are compulsory.

Course load

5 ec variant: 140 hours
10 ec variant: 280 hours
Lectures: 2 hours per week x 13 weeks = 26 hours
Reading, and preparation of presentations and assignments: 114 hours (5 ec) / 254 hours (10 ec)

Assessment method

Presentations and participation in class: 35 per cent.
Written assignment: 65 per cent (5 ec variant: 4000 words; 10 ec variant: 6000 words).

Exam Review

Students may request an oral elucidation of the assessment within 30 days after publication of the grade.



Reading list

To be announced.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch


David Henley