Contemporary Southeast Asia

Autumn 2021

Application period:  August 23 – September 14 2021

Level: Master’s level

Language: English

Amount of credits:  5 cr

Time: September 7 – November 11, 2021
Optional weekly Zoom meetings on Tuesdays at 10am
Deadline for the learning diary: 16.11.2021
Deadline for the final paper: 4.12.2021

Organizer: University of Jyväskylä, Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy/ University Network for Asian Studies

Instructor: Dr. Ratih D. Adiputri, Email:

Goals: After finishing this seminar, students will be familiar with the basic aspects of contemporary Southeast Asia, as well as the historical factors that shape it. It is expected that students may apply the experiences of Southeast Asia to the recent debates in comparative politics, international relations, sociology, and development studies.

Contents: This course focuses on the Southeast Asian region, one of the world’s most diverse regions. We will learn the experiences of Southeast Asia to address cases related to contemporary politics and democratization.

The topics include:

  • Democracy in pluralist society
  • Bureaucratic polity
  • Role of election in authoritarian/semi-democratic regime
  • Military in politics
  • Peasant politics
  • Economic crises growth and crisis

Taken as: 

– Video lectures (10 x ca 20 minutes), and reading materials. Reading materials should be read before watching the lectures.

– Zoom meetings on Tuesdays at 10am for discussion, questions and answers. Attendance and active participation in Zoom meetings are encouraged, and students who cannot come can ask questions and comment in the chat-room of this course (available inside Moodle).

The zoom-meetings start already on September 7, but as the decisions of approval are available only at the end of September, students who enroll to the course via the Asia Network, cannot join the first sessions.

  1. Introduction and orientation,
  2. Southeast Asian politics and historical period,
  3. Asian Values (including Islamic democracy),
  4. The Philippines: Oligarchy Democracy,
  5. Malaysia and Singapore: Authoritarian Institutions,
  6. Indonesia: Democratic transition and consolidation,
  7. Myanmar: Junta rule,
  8. Thailand : Monarchy and Legitimacy,
  9. Vietnam: Nationalism and Revolution,
  10. ASEAN,

– Students are required to submit a 2-page learning diary from one of the 9 topics discussed during this course (lectures 2-10). This learning diary can be a student note, an opinion or a newspaper styled report of the topic relevant to the discussed theme. The due date for the learning diary is on 16.11.2021.

– Final paper for the course will be an analytical research essay of 10-15 pages on any topic relevant to the course. It can be from the same topic as your learning diary. The due date for the final paper is on 4.12.2021.

Final grade is composed of attendance and active participation (30%), reading and submitting 2 pages of learning diary from 1 topic discussed in the class (30%), and research paper/essay around 10-15 pages (40%).

Application process:

Students who hold a valid study right at University Network’s member university can take this course for free. This includes both degree students and exchange students.

Other students can apply to the course as external self-paying students of the University of Turku.

This course has a maximum intake of 50 students.

Go to application instructions by clicking here.

Once your application has been processed, you will receive a  message about the decision. This will come a few weeks after the application period has ended. If you are accepted to the course, you will receive a welcoming email on the first day of the course, and gain access to the course site in the Moodle. The welcome email comes to the address you have given in the application form. It may go to the spam or offers-folder of your email (at least gmail tends to do it), so check those folders too.

Photo: Hanna Haverinen