HIS42840 Modern Asia

Academic Year 2022/2023

This course offers diverse, international perspectives on two entwined and frequently competing frameworks of reference that informed social, cultural, economic and political lives across the Asia Pacific: regionalism on the hand and globalisation on the other.
It highlights the need for a historical understanding of how each of them harboured promises and perils, how each developed across the past 130 years and how each varied in outcomes. Neither regionalism nor globalisation, in any of their many versions, remained the same over more than one generation. Neither of them meant the same for different parties.
For students of history, both regionalism and globalisation provide fascinating examples to interrogate national narratives, pay attention to the emerging world of transnationalism and to distinguish between real and imagined consequences. This course equips students with the analytical skills and the historical knowledge necessary to assess the reasoning behind the promotion and rejection of regionalism and globalisation over time, ranging from the 1890s to the present and including the dominant, Asian and non-Asian actors in each period concerned.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

-a sensibility to themes and actors that pull together or drive apart Asian and international actors and institutions in past and present
-the skillset to choose levels of analysis according to deep historical knowledge. National, transnational, international, regional and global levels of analysis lead to different conclusions.
-a keen awareness to how state narratives and official interests support or impede international cooperation
-an appreciation of why regionalism and globalization have been and remain contested, conflictual and far from straightforward solutions to stability and peace.

Indicative Module Content:

This module will explore and explain the following themes and approaches in historical analysis by week:

W1 Regionalism as a Revolt, 1: The Anti-Imperialist Trigger in Pacific Asia

W2 Regionalism as a Revolt, 2: The Anti-Imperialist Trigger in Southeast Asia

W3 Pan-Asianism before Japanese Aggression: The case of China’s 1911 Revolution

W4 Early Disappointments with American Globalism: The Korean Case

W5 When Regionalism is too imperial:

W6 Looking North: The Soviet Impact in Chinese Nationalism

W7 World War II or Pacific War?

W8 The Enemy within, 1: Threatening foreign elements in China

W9 The Enemy within, 2: Threatening foreign elements in the US

W10 Unexpected Stalemates: Continental East Asia from the Chinese Communist Revolution to the Korean War

W11 Has the Cold War ended in Asia? The absence of regionalism

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The weekly seminars provide an overview of the week’s topic, focusing on influential historical trends, debates and events. They focus on individual active / task-based learning by means of class debates and discussion of key arguments in the readings. Advanced research, writing and citation skills are developed through a combined individual student presentation on primary sources and written essay, and a semester-long 5,000 word research project.
Autonomous learning is advanced through student-led debate.
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Mid-term essay: primary source analysis. 1,500 words. Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Final essay. Will showcase the student’s capacity to develop an original, coherent and persuasive interpretation of a historical puzzle or question or problem. 5,000 words Week 12 n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Students are graded on their contribution to seminars throughout the trimester. Contributions should be informed by the readings and notes. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback on the mid-term Essay Assignment is given in writing. Feedback on participation will be shown through substantive progress of class discussion. Feedback on the end-of-semester Essay Assignment is given in writing.