The University of Mississippi
Fall 2016, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 16:00 - 17:15, 204 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

[ Class Schedule ] | [ News Presentations ] | [ On-line Resources ] | [ BlackBoard ] | [ Maps ]


This undergraduate 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 familiar with the international and domestic politics of Pacific Asia;
  2. to gain a better understanding of the historical and current developments of Asian countries;
  3. and to apply appropriately the concepts and theories to the study of Asia.

All the required readings and lecture notes of this course are linked from this web page. Links to the readings and notes will be updated on this web page throughout the semester, and so you should bookmark this page and visit it 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.
  2. Each student is also required to make a brief in-class presentations of about 5-10 minutes in length on a most recent news from Asia. Every student should sign up for a date to present. The PowerPoint (or PDF) file for your presentation should be uploaded on Blackboard before the class in which you present. In reporting the news, the presenter should synthesize news stories from at least two major mass media outlets. For the preparation of the presentation, there are many English-language websites that cover news about Asia. Some of those are linked from the online resources section on this web page. The PowerPoint 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 of time in which the presenter responds to questions or comments from the audience.

    The presentation accounts for 12.5% of the course grade and will be evaluated using the following rubric:

    1. Content
      • The news story is timely, important, and interesting;
      • The news story is coherent and well-focused;
      • the news story is presented in a logical sequence that audience can follow;
      • slides provide some background information to help audience understand;
      • uses a variety of sources from different perspectives;
      • demonstrates good knowledge, research, and preparation;
    2. Format
      • All fonts are large enough to be read at a distance;
      • Good contrast between fonts and background on all slides;
      • Images are relevant and help audience understand the content;
      • Slide layout is visually clear and balanced;
      • Slides contains no typographical or grammatical errors;
      • Information on the sources and/or references is accurate and complete;
      • The sources and/or references are properly formatted;
    3. Delivery
      • All audience can hear the presentation clearly;
      • maintains eye contact with audience;
      • uses proper body language to help the presentation;
      • answers questions skillfully;
  3. There will be two writing assignments for this course. The first writing assignment, due on BlackBoard by 4pm on Tuesday, September 13th, accounts for 7% of the course grade. The second writing assignment, due on BlackBoard by 4pm on Thursday, November 3rd, accounts for 8% of the course grade.
  4. The midterm exam in class on Thursday, October 6th, accounts for 30% of the course grade.
  5. The final exam will start at 16:00 on Wednesday, December 7th, as stipulated by the Registrar's Office. It accounts for 30% of the grade.

Note: Grades lower than C in political science courses are not counted toward the political science major.


MonthDateDayLecture NotesRequired Readings
Part I: Introduction and Context
August23rdTuesdayCourse overview
August25thThursdayPhysical Environment
  • Borthwick, Mark. 1998. Pacific Century: The Emergence of Modern Pacific Asia, 2nd Edition. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. Pages 1-15.
  • Geography of Asia.
August30thTuesdayAsian people and culture
September1stThursdayAsian history
September6thTuesdayAmerica in AsiaSentimental Imperialists
Part II: Major Powers in Asia
September8thThursdayMajor power comparisons CIA World Factbook, IMF DataMapper, Gapminder World, and Pew Global
September13thTuesdayJapan: postwar history (The first writing assignment is due on BlackBoard by the beginning of this class)
September15thThursdayJapan: politics Politics in Japan.
September20thTuesdayKorea: postwar history Eckert, Carter J. 1990. Korea's Economic Development in Historical Perspective, 1945-1990.
September22ndThursdayKorea: politics Executive, Legislature, and the Judiciary, and Inter-Korean Exchanges and Cooperation, from Korean Government Homepage.
September27thTuesdayChina: postwar history
September29thThursdayChina: politics
October4thTuesdayTaiwan & Hong Kong
October6thThursdayMidterm ExamAll of the above.
October11thTuesdayChinese overseas
October13thThursdaySoutheast Asia: postwar political development
October18thTuesday Beeson, Mark. "Southeast Asia and the Politics of Vulnerability", in Third World Quarterly, Volume 23, Number 3, June 2002, pages 549-564.
October20thThursdayIndian politics India Rising, full episode from the Great Decisions PBS series.
Part III: Economy and Security
October25thTuesdayU.S.-Japan relations Xu, Beina. 2014. "The U.S.-Japan Security Alliance," Backgrounders, Council on Foreign Relations.
October27thThursdaySouth Korea's foreign relations Pan, Esther. 2006. "South Korea's Ties with China, Japan, and the U.S.", Backgrounders, Council on Foreign Relations.
November1stTuesdayUS-China relations Council on Foreign Relations. 2014. "Timeline: U.S. Relations with China."
November3rdThursdayUS-China economic issues (The second writing assignment is due on BlackBoard by the beginning of this class)
November8thTuesdayPRC-Japan relations Kei Koga. 2016 "The Rise of China and Japan's Balancing Strategy: Critical Junctures and Policy Shifts in the 2010s." Journal of Contemporary China, DOI: 10.1080/10670564.2016.1160520.
November10thThursdayUS-Southeast Asia relations The East-West Center. 2014. ASEAN Matters for America/America Matters for ASEAN.
November15thTuesdayAPEC APEC Secretariat. "History" and "Achievements and Benefits."
November17thThursdaysecurity environment in Pacific Asia
November29thTuesdaydemocratization 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.
December1stThursdayAsia'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.
December7thWednesdayFinal ExamAll of the above since the Midterm Exam.

News Presentations

August23rdTuesday(No presentation)
September1stThursdayAdam Gilg
September6thTuesday(No presentation)
September8thThursdayMarissa Rodriguez
September13thTuesdaySadanobu Senju; Marquisha Lester
September15thThursdayAngel Rushing
September20thTuesdayLindsay Dawson
September22ndThursdayHan Ah Yoo
September27thTuesdayVic Bishop
September29thThursdayKurt Bond
October4thTuesdayKatherine Taylor
October6thThursday(Midterm Exam, no presentation)
October11thTuesday(No presentation)
October13thThursdayStanley Wills
October18thTuesdayTyler Caple
October20thThursday(No presentation)
October25thTuesdayEmma Greaves
October27thThursdayJosh Rogers
November1stTuesdayLogan D. Williams
November3rdThursdayMiranda Waddell
November8thTuesdayAlyssa Smith
November10thThursday(No presentation)
November15thTuesdayYasmine Reyes
November17thThursdayJosiah Harper
November29thTuesdayHeng Zhang; Beau Eisenberger
December1stThursdayRoyce Swayze

On-line Resources