Contemporary Southeast Asia

Autumn 2018


Contemporary Southeast Asia (5 ECTS)

Course organiser: University of Helsinki

Course teacher: Anu Lounela, Mira Käkönen (University of Helsinki)

Times: course starts 29.10.2018

Learning outcomes:  The course is titled Contemporary Southeast Asia – State formation and environmental change.
Upon completion of the course, the student is able to understand the situational characteristics of the environmental change and state formation processes in the region and is familiar with the current scholarly work. She or he can identify and use relevant anthropological and development studies literature under the topic and pursue an independent small-scale study that incorporates to the student’s own research interests and aims.

Contents: Contemporary Southeast Asian countries are experiencing rapid economic, political and environmental change. The ethnic and social fabrics are diverse in each country, but in many of them societal tensions are on the rise. The governing arrangements are complex and the on-going state formation processes also significantly differ from each other in each country. Many of the countries are post-colonial states with histories of violent wars against the colonizers or internal conflicts between different politically oriented groups. Many Southeast Asian governments have prioritized rapid economic growth and development, and they increasingly engage in foreign trade, for example through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). At the same time, environmental destruction and transformation of nature into commodities have taken place, contributing to uneven possibilities and distribution of wealth. Environmental transformations are part of the state formation processes, being also situational and contextual. In this course special attention will be given to environmental transformation and how it entangles with state formation processes. This includes attention to policies that allow and enhance commodification of natural resources. The aim is also to shed light to how different groups of people experience and response to these changes, and how their livelihoods and cultural systems are affected.

Taken as: The online course consists of about 9 x 45 minutes lectures on specific subjects under the topic, discussion material and relevant readings. The students will write the mid-term essay and the final essay.

Grading: On a scale of 1–5

Application period: Application period open September 3-23, 2018. Go to application instructions.

Photo: Jukka Aukia