Spring 2021 - IS 314 D100

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

Class Number: 5868

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • 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.

One 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.


By the end of the course, students will be able to carefully understand the role of ASEAN and its relations with extra-regional actors. Second, students via the simulation exercise with understand group dynamics, team-building, and also present critical understanding/resolution creation for the crisis that is presented to them. These are key skills needed in the real world. By the end of the course, students will have the skillset from the simulation exercise and also be able to write on key issues facing the Southeast Asian region.


  • Participation and Simulations Exercise 20%
  • Midterm Examination 20%
  • Research Essay (12 to 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


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).