IR314      Half Unit
Southeast Asia: Intra-regional Politics and Security

This information is for the 2021/22 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.

This course has a limited number of places (it is capped).

Course content

This class-only 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 settings in which Southeast Asian decision-makers have operated, including ethnic politics and insurgencies. It also examines some of the past interstate tensions and disputes in Southeast Asia and more recent transnational security challenges. The course then, secondly, engages in a comparative analysis of the foreign and security policies of select ASEAN states. This will involve taking account of a range of additional factors, such as geography, leadership, state-society relations, and economic interests. Thirdly, the course explores how the domestic backdrops and foreign policy outlooks of Southeast Asian states have shaped the nature, effectiveness and limits of ASEAN as a vehicle for intramural political-security cooperation. Specifically, the course assesses the grouping's efforts to establish an ASEAN political-security community. Fourthly, the course focuses on defence modernisation amid wider regional security challenges that maritime Southeast Asian states in particular are facing in the contemporary period, with a view to assessing how ASEAN states have fared in managing regional security and order. Concepts and theories drawn from International Relations, and especially Foreign Policy Analysis and Security Studies, will be applied as appropriate.


This course is delivered through classes totaling a minimum of 20 hours across Michaelmas Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of in-person classes/classes delivered online.

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

Formative coursework

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

Indicative reading

Ba, Alice D. and Beeson, Mark (2018). Contemporary Southeast Asia, 3rd 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).

Croissant, Aurel and Philip Lorenz (2018). Comparative Politics of Southeast Asia: An introduction to Governments and Political Regimes (Springer).

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

Leifer, Michael (2000). Singapore's Foreign Policy: Coping with Vulnerability (Routledge).

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

Severino, Rudolfo (2006). Southeast Asia in Search of an ASEAN Community (ISEAS).

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

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

Till, Geoffrey and Jane Chan, eds (2014). Naval Modernisation in South-East Asia: Nature, causes and consequences (Routledge).

Weatherbee, Donald E. (2015). International Relations in Southeast Asia: The Struggle for Autonomy. 3rd ed. (Rowman & Littlefield).



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

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Capped 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Team working
  • Communication