Spring 2020 - IS 314 D100

National, Regional, and International Politics in Southeast Asia (4)

Class Number: 6553

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 8:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    AQ 4140, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Provides an overview of national and political issues in Southeast Asia. Surveying politics in individual countries and regional political institutions, focus is given to particular themes such as democratization and civil society, communism and other forms of authoritarianism, the role of the military, decentralization, religion and politics, the impact of China on the region, and security concerns.


This course surveys the main issues of Southeast Asian security, giving due attention to traditional concerns with interstate conflict as well as non-traditional themes like the environment, economy and human security. It also provides fundamental grounding in the Cold War-era conflicts that shaped the region as we know it today. Key internal conflicts affecting the human security of millions of Southeast Asians, will be analyzed in their unique historical and cultural context. It will also examine the contemporary foreign policies and international relations challenges of major countries in Southeast Asia. It will survey key regional issues: evolution of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); security arrangements; trade conflicts and territorial disputes; role of China, India, Japan and the United States; regional integration; transnational issues and terrorism.

On major component of the course is a simulation exercise. Students will be divided into groups to represent the countries involved in South China Sea Dispute (Spratly Islands). This exercise will bring about a greater understanding of the issues involved and also help students engage in policy writing and conflict resolution.


Students will be given a comprehensive understanding of the background of the Southeast Asia and the specific countries of the region. The impact of statehood has created cultural and ethnic tensions in the region. Such tensions will be looked into, to provide students with a detailed response to such tensions and also a response by the various governments to resolve such tensions. Specific case studies will be highlighted throughout the semester to comprehend the various issues in the region. Further, via the simulation exercise, students will have a hands-on approach to conflict resolution.


  • Participation and Simulations Exercise 20%
  • Midterm Examination 20%
  • Research Essay (12-14 pages) 30%
  • Final Examination (take-home) 30%


Students will be required to submit their written assignments to Turnitin.com in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html.



Weatherbee, Donald. International Relations in Southeast Asia: the struggle for autonomy Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2015

Percival, Bronson. The Dragon Looks South. Praeger Security International, 2007

Bill Hayton, The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia, Yale University Press, 2014

Other materials will be placed on Reserve.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html