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150055 VU International Relations in East Asia (2021W)

4.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 15 - Ostasienwissenschaften
Continuous assessment of course work
Fr 29.10. 11:30-13:00 Digital


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

The first class will be on *October 6* via Zoom. We will review the syllabus and course expectations. I will introduce myself and hopefully get to know each of you, to the extent that we can make that happen online. Watch Moodle and course announcements for more information.

Please mind "Zoom Etiquette":

* Mute your microphone when you're not speaking.
* Set your avatar/profile image to be a picture of you, or a bitmoji/memoji of you. (Seriously, it helps!)
* Wear appropriate (i.e., professional) clothing if you intend to turn your camera on. You will *not* be required to use your camera or leave it on, although I do encourage you to use it.

Wednesday 06.10. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Friday 08.10. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Friday 15.10. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Friday 22.10. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Friday 05.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Friday 12.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Friday 19.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Friday 26.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Friday 03.12. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Friday 10.12. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Friday 17.12. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Friday 07.01. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Friday 14.01. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Friday 21.01. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Friday 28.01. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

Due to the COVID-19 situation, the course will take place entirely online. All lectures and activities will be held over Moodle in the form of a synchronous webinar. Accordingly, you will need a computer with a webcam, headphones with a microphone (or speakers and a mic), and a stable internet connection. The ability to access Moodle is essential (granted upon registration for the course). Before registering for this course (or definitively committing, if preregistered), ensure you meet these requirements.

All minimum requirements and assessment criteria will be discussed in the first lecture. Questions related to these criteria (defined and discussed below) should be raised then. By continuing this course after the first lecture, students indicate they understand class requirements and expectations. Attendance to the first class is thus essential.

*Course Content and Objectives*
The primary aim of this course is to give students a firm grounding in basic theories and concepts in International Relations (IR) and how best to use them to assess and understand contemporary East Asia. Through close reading and writing exercises, students can expect to grow both their scholarly and practical perspectives on global and East Asian politics.

The course can be divided into three parts. It starts with a macro-level overview of the genealogy of major IR theories (e.g., structural realism, liberal institutionalism, social constructivism, feminism, post-colonialism) and a discussion of key concepts. Second, the course turns its focus to the institutional order (or lack thereof) that defined East Asia historically and how that system has changed recently.

Lastly, the course takes things to the country-level, scrutinizing specific security, (geo-)political, and historical “problems” among East Asian countries (e.g., North Korea nuclearization, various territorial disputes, historical debates). Using core IR theories and concepts as well as our understanding of the historical and contemporary institutional order of the region, we will attempt to understand and explain the causes and consequences of these issues.

This course will be conducted entirely in English.

Assessment and permitted materials

This course is a mix of lectures and exercises, including in-lecture activities (e.g., presentations) and reading responses, in addition to take-home tests. Students are expected to complete all required readings in advance of the lectures and come prepared to discuss them. There is a decent amount of writing expected of the student, so adjust your expectations accordingly. Attendance is mandatory.

Grades will be assessed based on the following (weights included):

• Attendance (20% of total grade)
• Reading responses (30%)
• Presentation(s) (20%)
• Take-home test (30%)

This is based on a record of attendance for lectures.

*Reading responses*
These are critical (written) responses based on the assigned readings. They answer discussion questions that correspond to weekly readings and lectures. They will meet the following requirements:

• Meets a length of 400-600 words
• Addresses a specific question (from questions provided or generated by the student)
• Provides a clear answer to the question, persuasively argued and well organized, and supported by evidence (e.g., assigned reading or supplementary material)
• Critically engages with the assigned readings. Evidence of having read and understood readings is a must (e.g., citations, quotations, critical summaries). Students are encouraged to draw upon previous weeks’ reading (sometimes necessary).

Each response is assessed out of five (5) points. Critical responses will be due at the designated location on Moodle. More information, including a grading rubric, will be provided by the instructor. The number of critical responses assigned will be determined upon the start of the term.

Each student is required to give a presentation (10-15 minutes) based on an assigned reading and then lead a short (5-10 minutes) discussion, taking questions from the instructor and/or fellow classmates. A minimum of one (1) presentation and discussion is required, but students may have an opportunity to do more than one.

Presentations may be a group/collaborative requirement, depending on the final number of students enrolled in the course. Presentations will be assessed out of five (5) points, based on quality (preparedness, mainly, not public speaking skills). More information, including a grading rubric, will be provided by the instructor.

*Test (take-home)*
To assess the comprehension of material and class progress, students will be assigned a take-home test. This test will consist of longer-form essay questions, based on class reading and lecture material. Assigned a mark out of five (5) points, students will be assessed by the quality of their response, engagement with the material, and proof of comprehension. More information will be provided by the instructor during the course.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

**Minimum Requirements and Assessment Criteria**
Grades are based on a continuous assessment of coursework” (“Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung”). An average positive grade (grade 4 or better) for all requirements listed under “Assessment (Art der Leistungskontrolle)” is the minimum required for passing this course. Specific evaluation criteria will be provided to students at the appropriate time, so that they can adjust their expectations appropriately and plan to complete assignments to the best of their abilities.

Preparing for lectures is crucial, which means doing readings before classes and completing the assigned activities. Attendance is mandatory and evaluated. For students who miss more than five lectures, without documented and justified cause (e.g., COVID-related issues, mental or physical health needs), the instructor maintains the right to assign a failing mark. General Rules of Good Academic Practice apply. Non-compliance will result in measures taken according to the regulations of the University of Vienna.

In the unlikely case a requirement, assignment, or other expectations needs to be altered, it will be explicitly discussed during class and agreed upon by all present with appropriate communication follow-ups done over Moodle.

*Note on Plagiarism*
Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else’s work as your own. This could include direct quotations from sources that you do not properly cite or presenting someone else’s work as your own. Even omitting quotation marks for verbatim quotes is an academic offense. Material from the internet is subject to the same citation requirements as any other material. If you are unsure what constitutes plagiarism or how to cite properly, please seek guidance from your instructor. You should also refer to https://medienportal.univie.ac.at/uniview/studium-lehre/detailansicht/artikel/copied-and-caught-this-is-how-plagiarism-checks-work/. Penalties for plagiarism will be dealt with in accordance with university rules and practices.

*Equity Statement*
As your instructor, I am committed to equity and respect for diversity. All members of the learning environment in this course should strive to create an atmosphere of mutual respect. As a course instructor, I will neither condone nor tolerate behavior that undermines the dignity or self-esteem of any individual or that which attempts to create an intimidating or hostile environment. It is our collective responsibility to create a space that is inclusive and welcomes discussion. Discrimination, harassment, and hate speech will not be tolerated.

Examination topics

Reading list

This course uses a textbook and some book chapters for part one (on IR theories and concepts) and then academic articles or book chapters and other materials for parts two and three.

The textbook is: Baylis, John, Steve Smith, and Patricia Owens, eds. The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations. 7th edition. Oxford University Press, 2017. All chapters in this textbook can be accessed online via the University of Vienna’s library system.

Additional readings for part one will be assigned from the following book: Steve Smith, Tim Dunne, and Milja Kurki. International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity. Oxford University Press, 2016. This book is also digitally available via the library system.

All other articles and material will be provided by the instructor via Moodle.

Association in the course directory


Last modified: We 20.10.2021 12:08