IR472      Half Unit
Advanced Topics in International Politics - 'The International Relations of the Asia-Pacific'

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof. Stephan Haggard


This course is available on the MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Relations (Research) and MSc in International Relations Theory. This course is not available as an outside option.

All students are required to obtain permission from the Teacher Responsible by completing the online application linked to the course selection on LSE for You.  Admission to the course is not guaranteed.

Course content

This course provides an overview of the international relations of the Asia-Pacific. It is oriented around a consideration of core IR theories, particularly power transition models and their critics. The course begins with a consideration of US grand strategy toward the Asia-Pacific before turning to key alliance and other bilateral relationships and the Southeast Asian system centred on ASEAN.  It closes with a consideration of a number of functional issues, including the political economy of the region, the military balance and emerging issues such as the cyber domain.


20 hours of seminars in the LT.

In line with departmental policy, students on the course will have a reading week in Week 6.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 essays in the LT.

Indicative reading

Stephen Brooks and William Wohlforth, “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers in the 21st Century,” International Security, 40, 3 (Winter 2015/16): 7-53.

Kurt Campbell, The Pivot: The Future of American Statecraft in Asia. (2016), Chapter Six, “The Plan for the Pivot: Fashioning a Ten-Point American Strategy for Asia.”

John Mearsheimer, “The Gathering Storm: China’s Challenge to US Power in Asia,” The Chinese Journal of International Politics, 3 (2010).

Zheng Wang, “National Humiliation, History Education, and the Politics of Historical Memory:  Patriotic Education Campaign in China,” International Studies Quarterly, 52, 4 (2008): 783-806.

Sheila Smith, Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China (New York: Colombia University Press, 2015), Chapter Six “Island Defense.”


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2017/18: 12

Average class size 2017/18: 11

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication