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Economic Development and Social Change in Southeast Asia (ResMA)


Please note: this course description might still undergo some minor alterations.

Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (research) or the MA History (research): Migration and Global Interdependence. Students interested in taking this course but not admitted to one of the abovementioned programmes are kindly referred to the course description for the regular MA programme(s).


This research seminar explores the recent economic development in one of the world’s most dynamic regions. By looking at assessments in the secondary literature, and at supporting statistics, we seek to gain an understanding of how it is that many – but not all – nations in Southeast Asia have achieved spectacular growth and poverty reduction. The social and political causes and consequences of economic success (and failure) are discussed, with attention to such topics as inequality, institutions, corruption, ideology, ethnicity, and religion. The influence of political and financial crises is considered. Comparisons are made with other regions in the world. 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, and of the interplay between them. Students receive training in critically discussing assessments in the secondary literature, and in analysing primary (including statistical) data. Both oral and written presentations are required.


Check the timetable on the website of the programme.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar.

Attendance and active participation are mandatory.

Course Load

280 hours, distributed as follows:

  • class attendance: 28 hours

  • extra sessions for ResMA students: 6 hours

  • general literature: 50 hours

  • presentations: 16 hours

  • term paper: 180 hours

Assessment method

  • performance in class: 33%

  • final essay: 67%

The end-term paper is written in two stages: a first version, which will be commented on, and a final version. Students who do not meet the deadline for the first version will lose the right to get comments and will only be graded based on their final version. Students who do not meet the deadline for the final version, will get a failing grade.

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher. A new version of the paper assignment may be written if the overall mark for the course is “5.49” (=5) or lower. If students take this option, they must choose an alternative topic. They will not be permitted to resubmit the same paper. The deadline for this version will be determined in consultation.

The course is an integrated whole. All categories must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.



Note: there is no separate Blackboard page available for this ResMa course. Please subscribe to the Blackboard page of the regular MA course.

Reading list

To be announced.


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.”.

Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the ‘Registration procedures for classes and examinations’ for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Prof.dr. David Henley


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).