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240122 SE VM6 / VM3 - Uneven Development in Southeast Asia (2020W)

Continuous assessment of course work


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


max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

All classes will take place online. The link can be found on Moodle.

Monday 12.10. 16:30 - 20:00 Digital
Monday 09.11. 16:30 - 20:00 Digital
Monday 23.11. 16:30 - 20:00 Digital
Monday 07.12. 16:30 - 20:00 Digital
Monday 18.01. 16:30 - 20:00 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

The seminar addresses various dimensions of uneven development in Southeast Asia, a region which has been regarded a success story in terms of economic development over the past decades. A number of countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam have transformed themselves from low income countries into middle income countries. Yet this development has come at a high price and has been highly uneven. Not only have some regions been left behind in the process of ‘catching up’ with the global north, but also several societal sectors and groups have been marginalized or excluded from the increased prosperity. In many countries an oligarchic class controls the political institutions and undermines democratic reforms. Thus the economic liberalization did not result in a democratic transition as previously expected. At the same time the environmental costs have been dramatic and again unevenly distributed. Reflecting the diversity of possible disciplinary perspectives on the multi-dimensional process of unequal development in the Southeast Asia region the following topics will be covered in class (the number of topics will vary depending on the number of students):
• “Transnational migration”: How transnational migration is intertwined with unequal regional development.
• “The urban-rural nexus”: How economic centers and their 'hinterland' are intertwined in a complex-unequal relationship.
• “The neoliberal family”: Gender dimensions of unequal development, labour division and the sociological impact.
• Dispossession and the production of poverty”: How the production of poverty is related to dispossession and displacement, in particular regarding land.
• “Environmental (transborder) justice” impacts”: How the staggering economic development in some regions produce unequal distribution of environmental costs.
• “Food security and agrarian change”: How changes in agricultural production impact on provision of food and consumption.
• “Political economy & democratization”: Not only economic growth has been unequal in the region, also political systems and the development of democratic institutions are diverse among ASEAN countries

The seminar will provide an opportunity for students to familiarize themselves with multiple (disciplinary) perspectives on unequal development in the Southeast Asia region. They will gain insights into central social scientific concepts and debates through up to date research and practice to critically reflect and discuss them in class and in writing. Students will independently research a seminar topic, review relevant literature and practice scientific reading and writing.

Following introductory sessions setting the frame of the seminar, students can choose one topic from the suggested topics above. Yet they are also free to choose their own topic as long as it is related to the overall theme of the seminar.

Assessment and permitted materials

For a successful completion of the seminar the following accomplishments have to be achieved:
• Regular participation in class and active involvement in discussion
• Reading of papers and reading notes
• Literature search and review
• Presentation in class
• Seminar paper

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The grading is based on following achievements:

•Active participation = 10 %
(discussion of literature, participation during sessions and in online forum)
• Reading responses = 20 %
• Concept note = 10 %
• Group presentation = 10%
• Seminar paper (40.000-45.000 characters including spaces) = 50 %

Examination topics

The examination will encompass the work items as outlined in the course requirements.

Reading list

All texts for compulsory readings can be downloaded in the Moodle course.

Association in the course directory

VM6 / VM3;

Last modified: We 21.04.2021 11:26