Module Information

Level 2000

Level 2000 Modules

SE2210 Popular Culture in Southeast Asia

Modular credit: 4
Workload: 2-1-0-4-3
Preclusion: SE4215

Popular culture – in forms such as music, cinema and magazines – has been seen as a way for non-elite groups to make sense of their common experiences. In the modern era, these pop culture products have also been linked with mass-production and standardised, commercialised commodities which work to entertain and distract. However, more recent scholarship has seen popular culture as a possible means of contesting dominant ideologies. This module examines the debate by considering various forms of popular culture in Southeast Asia.


SE2212 Cities and Urban Life in Southeast Asia

Modular credit: 4
Workload: 0-3-0-4-3
Pre-requisite(s)/Preclusion(s)/Cross-listing(s): Nil

Are Southeast Asian urban models unique from those of the West? This module uses historical and emerging developments to re-evaluate debates on Southeast Asian urbanisation. The particularities of Southeast Asian urbanisation will be examined both in terms of its intertwined history with the rest of the world as well as the politics of time and space. The module aims at developing a critical understanding of the interaction between historical, political-economic and cultural processes that constitute urbanization in Southeast Asia.


SE2213 Politics in Southeast Asia

Modular credit: 4
Workload: 2-1-0-4-3
Preclusion: SE2281 or SSA2207 or SS2207SE, SC2207
Cross-listing: SSA2207

Political systems in Southeast display a great variety of characteristics. Some, for example, are authoritarian while others are democratic. Some appear stable while others are subject to tumultuous change. This module examines the historical background and the nature of political competition in different countries of the region: how various groups have succeeded or failed in gaining power, the institutions that structure political contests, and the ideas behind different political agendas. The aim is to provide a multidisciplinary understanding of politics in Southeast Asia with which we can revisit ongoing debates on such issues as democracy, legitimacy, stability and reform.


SE2214 Arts of Southeast Asia

Modular credit: 4
Workload: 2-1-0-4-3
Pre-requisite(s)/Preclusion(s)/Cross-listing(s): Nil

Does Southeast Asian art have its own aesthetic character? Southeast Asia has evolved many distinctive local art forms in such media as textiles, metal, and stone sculpture. For over 2,000 years Southeast Asian artists have explored numerous sources of inspiration: their local environments, their national culture and political situation, changes instigated by politics, technology and the economy, links to other parts of Asia and the global art community. This module will explore both the unique features of the individual works of art and the influences of various external forces which the artists experience and express.


SE2217 War and Southeast Asia

Modular credit: 4
Workload: 2-1-0-4-3
Pre-requisite(s)/Preclusion(s)/Cross-listing(s): Nil

The recent strengthening of the U.S. military presence in Southeast Asia is better understood in comparative, historical perspective. This module identifies and compares a number of periods in the past when a powerful imperial force succeeded in dominating parts, if not all, of the region. This module seeks to identify the attributes of imperial domination in Southeast Asia, how it establishes itself and deals with resistance, how it maintains itself through attraction and coercion, and eventually declines. The choice of specific topics will vary in relation to available expertise.


SE2218 Changing Economic Landscape of SE Asia

Modular credit: 4
Workload: 2-1-0-4-3
Pre-requisite(s)/Preclusion(s)/Cross-listing(s): Nil

The Southeast Asian economies and the region as a whole have experienced a significant change in their economic landscapes in terms of high growth rates, rising income levels, improvement in the standards of living, and the changing structures of production and trade. What accounts for the transformation? We seek to answer this question by examining the experiences and problems of the various Southeast Asian economies in the context of the leading development models and policies that they have pursued in promoting and developing their domestic sectors (agriculture, manufacturing and services) and external sectors (trade, foreign capital and regionalism).


SE2219 Culture and Power in Southeast Asia

Modular credit: 4
Workload: 2-1-0-4-3
Pre-requisite(s)/Preclusion(s)/Cross-listing(s): Nil

How do we understand culture, power and society in Southeast Asia? This module introduces students to debates on culture and power in Southeast Asia with the aim of inculcating comparative and critical reflections on cultural formations in the region. Both classical and contemporary studies of Southeast Asian cultures will be examined in order to better identify central issues around Southeast Asian cultural transformations as well as newer theoretical understandings on the relationship between power, culture, and history.


SE2221 Old and New Music in Southeast Asia

Modular credit: 4
Workload: 2-1-0-4-3
Pre-requisite(s)/Preclusion(s)/Cross-listing(s): Nil

This module introduces the variety of music in Southeast Asia, from traditional to pop, and contributes to students’ understanding of the region. Lectures with audiovisual illustrations, which will emphasize cultural and contextual approaches, will be complemented by practical instruction in playing Javanese gamelan music. We will study the different musical aesthetics, changing cultural and social contexts and functions (from village and palace rituals to arts academies, the cassette industry, and concerts), musical and cultural interaction and the changing musical “landscape” of Southeast Asia. The course is appropriate both for students interested in Southeast Asian culture and anyone who likes music.


SE2223 Doing Research in Southeast Asia

Modular credit: 4
Workload: 0-3-0-4-3
Pre-requisite(s)/Preclusion(s)/Cross-listing(s): Nil

This module introduces different approaches to studying the region, with the aim of developing students’ independent research skills. It covers issues such as identifying a research question, the role of theory in research, and selecting an appropriate research design. By looking at a range of exemplary works in Southeast Asian studies as well as explicit methodological discussions, students will gain understanding of theoretical debates and practical issues related to doing research in Southeast Asian Studies.


SE2224 Unmasked! An Introduction to Traditional Dance in SEA

Modular credit: 4
Workload: 2-2-0-5-1
Pre-requisite(s)/Preclusion(s)/Cross-listing(s): Nil

This module introduces students to classical Southeast Asian dance with a particular emphasis on masked dance traditions. Drawing on an analysis of scholarly texts, videos and hands on sessions the module takes students on an exciting theatrical journey through Southeast Asia. Students enrolled in the class will be taught how to appreciate classical dance traditions in the region from a variety of angles, such as dramaturgical principles, music, aesthetics, ritual significance and change. They will also learn to perform and create compositions in a Southeast Asian dance form.


SE2225 Forbidden Pleasures: Vice in Southeast Asia

Modular credit: 4
Workload: 2-1-0-3-4
Pre-requisite(s)/Preclusion(s)/Cross-listing(s): Nil

From the betel popular across the region for millenia, to colonial opium regimes, to Bangkok's Soi Cowboy, vice has always been a part of life in Southeast Asia. In this module, students investigate the economic, political, social, ecological, and cultural significance of a variety of substances and activities, from drugs like opium, alcohol and caffeine, to activities like paid sex and gambling. Students use a range of texts, including scholarly articles, memoirs, movies and first-hand observation to investigate the ways illicit substances and behaviors are deeply imbricated in everyday life in Southeast Asia.


SE2226 moro peoples of the philippines

Modular credit: 4
Workload: 2-1-0-2-5
Pre-requisite(s)/Preclusion(s)/Cross-listing(s): Nil

This module introduces undergraduates to the culture and history of the Muslim ethnic minority groups collectively known as the Moro peoples of the Philippines. The syllabus exposes students to a variety of perspectives on Moro peoples - including but not limited to history, culture, politics, economics, identity, literature, and religion. It explores insights of both indigenous writers and foreign observers, scrutinizing each of these writings against wider developments in the scholarship and politics of Moro identity and, to a limited extent, Islam in the Philippines and Malay Studies. The module covers different aspects of Moro life in the past and the present.


SE2227 Southeast Asian gardens: history and symbolism

Modular credit: 4
Workload: 2-1-0-3-4
Pre-requisite(s)/Preclusion(s)/Cross-listing(s): Nil

This module will provide a historical introduction to Southeast Asian gardens, describe their situation and plan, and explore their aesthetic value (gardens as places of pleasure). Their philosophical significance (garden, microcosm, place of meditation) is equally important but less well known. Artificial gardens have existed in Southeast Asia (Sumatra, Java, Bali, Vietnam, Myanmar) since the seventh century. They contain Chinese and Indian influences, but exemplify a Southeast Asian view of the universe in microcosm. Gardens are a significant but overlooked medium of Southeast Asian symbolic representation. Persian, Indian, Chinese, and Japanese gardens will be invoked to provide context.


SE2229 Southeast Asia as a field of study

Modular credit: 4
Workload: 2-1-0-3-4
Pre-requisite(s): Read and passed SE1101E.

This module aims to introduce students to the rich intellectual heritage that has led to the development of Southeast Asian Studies as a distinct field of scholarly inquiry. We shall explore the critical debates, seminal texts and theoretical currents within the field in determining how different scholars have engaged with and conceptualized the region. We shall also consider teh epistemological challenges of carrying out research in the region, and how Southeast Asians themselves have contributed new voices towards the evolution of the field.


SE2880 Topics in Southeast Asian Studies 

Modular credit: 4
Workload: 0-3-0-3-4 
Pre-requisite(s)/Preclusion(s)/Cross-listing(s): Nil

This module is designed to cover selected topics in Southeast Asian Studies. The topic to be covered will depend on the interest and expertise of regular or visiting staff member in the department.

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