The University of Mississippi
Fall 2014, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 14:30 - 15:45, 107 Croft Institute
Instructor: Dr. Gang Guo * Office: 128 Deupree Hall * Telephone: (662) 915-5419 * e-mail: gg at olemiss dot edu
Office hours: by appointment

Course Schedule News Presentations On-line Resources BlackBoard Map of Asia


This course is a general survey of the politics and other aspects of Asia, with an emphasis on the contemporary Pacific Asia. Starting with the general environment of Asia, this course covers the history, politics, and international relations of major Asian powers and discusses the main economic and security issues that concern Asian countries today. By the end of the semester, students are expected

  1. to be familiarized with the international and domestic politics of Asia;
  2. to gain a better understanding of the historical and current developments of Asian countries;
  3. and to apply the concepts and theories to the study of Asia.

All the required readings and lecture notes of this course are available on the Internet through links on this web page. Links to the readings and notes will be updated on this web page throughout the semester, and so students are required to visit the course web site regularly.

It is essential for students to read the required materials before class and attend all class sessions.

Grade composition:

  1. Class participation accounts for 12.5% of the course grade. Each unexcused absence would subtract half a point from the overall course grade and therefore has a higher than 15 per cent chance of demoting a student's grade to the next lower level on the plus/minus scale.
  2. Each student is also required to prepare a PowerPoint (or its equivalent) file and to make a brief (about 5-10 minutes) in-class presentation of a most recent news on Asian politics. The presentation accounts for 12.5% of the course grade. The PowerPoint (or its equivalent) file should include at least one page on the main news story, at least one page on some background information to help the audience understand the news story better, and at least one page of sources and/or references. After each presentation there will be a short period in which the presenter responds to questions or comments from the audience. For the preparation of the presentation, there are many English-language websites that cover news on Asia. Some of those are linked from the online resources section on this web page.
  3. There will be two writing assignments for this course. The first writing assignment, due on BlackBoard by 2:30pm on Tuesday, September 16th, accounts for 7% of the course grade. The second writing assignment, due on BlackBoard by 2:30pm on Thursday, November 6th, accounts for 8% of the course grade.
  4. The midterm exam in class on Thursday, October 9th, accounts for 30% of the course grade.
  5. The final exam will start at 16:00 on Tuesday, December 9th, as stipulated by the Registrar's Office. It accounts for 30% of the grade.


  1. If you can not open the PDF files you may need to download and install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  2. If you can not open the PowerPoint files you may need to download and install the free PowerPoint Viewer.


MonthDateDayLecture NotesRequired Readings
Part I: Introduction and Context
August26thTuesdayCourse overview
28thThursdayPhysical Environment
  • Borthwick, Mark. 1998. Pacific Century: The Emergence of Modern Pacific Asia, 2nd Edition. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. Pages 1-15.
  • Geography of Asia.
September2ndTuesdayAsian people and culture
4thThursdayAsian history
9thTuesdayAmerica in Asiavideo
Part II: Major Powers in Asia
11thThursdayMajor power comparisons CIA World Factbook, IMF DataMapper, Gapminder World, and Pew Global
16thTuesdayJapan: postwar history (The first writing assignment is due on BlackBoard by the beginning of this class)
18thThursdayJapan: politics Politics in Japan.
23thTuesdayKorea: postwar history Eckert, Carter J. 1990. Korea's Economic Development in Historical Perspective, 1945-1990.
25thThursdayKorea: politics Executive Branch, Legislature, and Foreign Direct Investment, from Korean Government Homepage.
30thTuesdayChina: postwar history
October2ndThursdayChina: politics
7thTuesdayTaiwan & Hong Kong
9thThursdayMidterm ExamAll of the above.
14thTuesdayChinese overseas
16thThursdaySoutheast Asia: postwar political development
21stTuesday Beeson, Mark. "Southeast Asia and the Politics of Vulnerability", in Third World Quarterly, Volume 23, Number 3, June 2002, pages 549-564.
23rdThursdayIndian politics Wide Angle series: 1-800-India.
Part III: Economy and Security
28thTuesdayU.S.-Japan relations Xu, Beina. 2014. "The U.S.-Japan Security Alliance," Backgrounders, Council on Foreign Relations.
30thThursdayJapan-South Korea relations Smith, Sheila A. 2014. "President Obama and Japan-South Korean Relations", in The Asan Forum, Volume 2, Number 4, July-August.
November4thTuesdayUS-China relations Council on Foreign Relations. 2014. "Timeline: U.S. Relations with China."
6thThursdayUS-China economic issues (The second writing assignment is due on BlackBoard by the beginning of this class)
11thTuesdayPRC-Japan relations Toshiya Hoshino and Haruko Satoh. 2012. "Through the Looking Glass? China's Rise as Seen from Japan." Journal of Asian Public Policy, Volume 5, Issue 2, Pages 181-198.
13thThursdayUS-Southeast Asia relations The East-West Center. 2014. ASEAN Matters for America/America Matters for ASEAN.
18thTuesdayAPEC APEC Secretariat. "History" and "Achievements and Benefits."
20thThursdaysecurity environment in Pacific Asia
December2ndTuesdaydemocratization in Asia Root, Hilton L. "What Democracy Can Do for East Asia", in Journal of Democracy, Volume 13, Number 1, January 2002, pages 113-126.
4thThursdayAsia's political future Mahbubani, Kishore. 2013. "The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World." New York, NY: Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.
9thTuesdayFinal ExamAll of the above since the Midterm Exam.

News Presentations

MonthDateDayPresenter 1(Presenter 2, if applicable)
August26thTuesday(No presentation)
4thThursdayHattie Fisher
9thTuesday(No presentation)
16thTuesdayAmber Goode
23rdTuesdayAlex Ellithorpe
25thThursdaySeth Sheldon
30thTuesdayCharles Ellzey
October2ndThursdayMatthew Riddle
7thTuesdayJon M. Gebhardt
9thThursday(Midterm Exam, no presentation)
14thTuesdayHenry Skelton
16thThursdayElliot Willard
23rdThursday(No presentation)
28thTuesdayZach Cookston
November4thTuesdayChristian HutterJordan Granier
6thThursdayJack Coopersmith
11thTuesdayKelsey Charette
13thThursdayGarrett Hersh
18thTuesdayJordan Hayward
4thThursdayIshmael Woods