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Explore the trends shaping Asia in the 21st century including development, strategy, and conflict resolution to real circumstances across the region. Students can specialize their studies to focus on Japan, Korea, South Asia, or Southeast Asia.


Develop a comprehensive understanding of the Asian continent, including its economic and political developments, and foreign relations with major global players.

Security Challenges and Military Modernization in South Asia

South Asia is home to two of the world’s largest militaries, the world’s leading arms importer, several major ethnic, religious, and nationalist insurgencies, an array of sophisticated terrorist groups, and two nuclear-armed powers that engage in frequent border skirmishes.

This course takes a systematic and in-depth look at how states manage security challenges in this complex region. Topics include analysis of foreign policy decision-making processes and civil-military dynamics; the rise (and export) of Islamic extremism; comparative perspectives on counterinsurgency campaigns undertaken by India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka; India’s efforts at military modernization and preparations for China-related contingencies; and the ways in which evolving strategic capabilities and doctrines might affect the risk of nuclear escalation. This course includes a practical focus on policy writing.

Introduction to Economic Growth and Development in Southeast Asia

This course is designed to familiarize students with Southeast Asia’s dramatic rise from modest beginnings after the Second World War to a dynamic, rapidly growing region deeply integrated with the global economy and with close economic ties to its giant neighbors, especially China.

The course will also highlight Southeast Asia’s many economic fault lines – notably rising inequality, weak governance, and a spotty environmental record, and it will examine the economic challenges facing the region as many of its members strive to avoid the middle income trap and become high income economies. Students will learn basic economic concepts and how they can be applied to yield powerful insights into Southeast Asia’s past economic performance and its future prospects. By the end of the course, students should be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of the forces that powered Southeast Asian economic performance in the past and those that are likely to shape its future.

Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy

An introduction to modern Japanese politics and public policy, considering prospects for major changes in security and economic policy of global importance.

After a general introduction to Japanese political development since 1868, undertakes more detailed analysis of current political structure and processes as well as of domestic and foreign policy issues. Emphasizes understanding how domestic and international politics influence the functioning of the Japanese economy, especially in the current historic period of political economic change.

North Korea: Policymaking Primer

This course examines critical issues facing policymakers in and around North Korea and has three purposes. The first is to provide students with a better understanding of the place and role of North Korea

in the international system, its people and elites, institutions and ideas, to analyze DPRK’s relations with four great powers, focusing on nuclear politics and humanitarian concerns, as well as to give students a better grasp of various actors, their goals and motivations, policy issues and stakes, and policymaking processes in North Korea. In addition, students will explore the dynamics of the inter-Korean relations and consider the problems of nation-building, politics of competitive legitimation, and the question of Korean unification. The second purpose is for students to develop critical thinking and analytical tradecraft skills so that they can produce high quality analytical products for various types of consumers, using open source data and structured analytical techniques. The third purpose is for students to learn and practice the leadership skills required for domestic interagency coordination, multinational coalition-building, and international bargaining, which are part and parcel of any crisis management and resolution process on the Korean peninsula.


Study with world-class experts who are renowned for their scholarship, influence, and networks.

Devesh Kapur

Starr Foundation Professor of South Asian Studies

Kent Calder

Interim Vice Dean for Education and Academic Affairs, Director of the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies

James Person

Adjunct Lecturer

Pavithra Suryanarayan

Assistant Professor of International Political Economy

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