Not available in 2020/21
IR314      Half Unit
Southeast Asia: Intra-regional Politics and Security

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jurgen Haacke CBG.9.01


This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and Chinese, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and International Relations. This course is not available as an outside option. This course is available to General Course students.

Course content

This class-based half unit course examines key aspects of the contemporary international relations of Southeast Asia, with the primary focus being on the intramural relations of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In order to contextualise these intramural relations, the course first explores the different domestic political contexts in which Southeast Asian decision-makers operate, the historical backdrop to the region's major intrastate and interstate conflicts and disputes, and the key security issues and challenges affecting the region and individual states. The course also, secondly, engages in a comparative analysis of the foreign and security policies of the five original member states of ASEAN that will, for instance, take account of the influence of geographical factors, the relevance of ethnic politics and nationalism, political change, leadership ambitions, and the main economic and security interests pursued by governments. Finally the course explores how the respective domestic backdrop and foreign policy outlook of Southeast Asian states have shaped the nature, effectiveness and limits of ASEAN as a vehicle for intramural political-security cooperation. In this context, the course assesses the grouping's efforts to establish an ASEAN political-security community. The course will conclude by comparing the role played respectively by the ASEAN states and extra-regional powers in managing regional security and order. Concepts and theories drawn from International Relations, and especially Foreign Policy Analysis, will be applied as appropriate.


20 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of classes in the ST.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Students will write two essays with a maximum length of 2,000 words and present on class topics.

Indicative reading

Beeson, Mark (2009) Contemporary Southeast Asia, 2nd ed. (Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan);

Acharya, Amitav (2014), Constructing a security community in Southeast Asia: ASEAN and the problem of regional order, 3rd ed. (Abingdon: Routledge);

Ganesan, N. and Ramses Amer, eds (2010) International Relations in Southeast Asia: Between Bilateralism and Multilateralism (Singapore: ISEAS);

Leifer, Michael (2000) Singapore's Foreign Policy: Coping with Vulnerability (London and New York: Routledge);

Saravanamuttu, Johan (2010) Malaysia's Foreign Policy: The First Fifty Years-Alignment, Neutralism, Islamism (Singapore: ISEAS);

Severino, Rudolfo (2006) Southeast Asia in Search of an ASEAN Community (Singapore: ISEAS);

Slater, Dan (2010_ Ordering Power: Contentious Politics and Authoritarian Leviathans in Southeast Asia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press);

Tan, Andrew T.H., ed., A Handbook of Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2007). 


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2019/20: 15

Average class size 2019/20: 15

Capped 2019/20: Yes (15)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Team working
  • Communication