Courses overview

Asian Studies is a special program embodied into the International Studies framework. Apart from obligatory courses (600 hours) we offer special classes dedicated to the field of Asian Studies – more than 1100 hours. Apart from Chinese and Japanese languages and basic Hindi language we primarily teach the political, social and economic development of East Asian countries.

You will acquire the knowledge in:

  • Chinese and Japanese languages and cultural heritage and an introduction to Hindi language;
  • East and South Asian politics: political systems of China, Taiwan, Japan, the Korean Peninsula, and Southeast Asian countries;
  • East and South Asian social development: social changes and challenges across the region with special regards to poverty alleviation and migration;
  • East and South Asian international politics: major players include the United States, China, Japan, South and North Korea, Russia, and Southeast Asian countries;
  • East and South Asian economic dynamics: major trends in economic integration in the East and South Asia region,  as well as cooperation between Europe and East Asia;
  • East and South Asian business characteristic points and special features in regards to the style of negotiation in the region.

 COURSES OVERVIEW

Introduction to Asian Studies (30h): this course will introduce students to the field of Asian Studies and to the process of preparing and conducting independent research in the field of Asian Studies. Major topics include: the concept of Asia, the historiography of the study of Asia (namely China, Japan, the Korean Peninsula and Southeast Asia), basic literature in the field of international relations and domestic affairs, debates on contemporary Asian politics, society and culture, as well as the major ‚schools of thought’ regarding East Asia. Students will also learn methodological approaches to Asian Studies, including archival and library research, comparative approach or ethnographic fieldwork and interview methods (guest speaker).

The Economic and Political Geography of the East Asia Region (30h): this course provides an understanding of the economic life and landscapes in East Asia, as well as the political and administrative divisions. Emphasis is placed on the relations between geographic conditions and economic development. The course introduces basic concepts and provides context for regional integration, urbanisation and income distribution. It is meant to be one of the core courses giving students an adequate background for further studies.

East Asia Economic Development (30h): this course will introduce students to the processes and initiatives supporting the economic and political development of East Asian countries, the basic trends in Asian economic development, the sources of growth in China and India, regional disparities in the field of economy as well as the major economic bodies like Asian Development Bank and newly established the Asian Infrastructure Bank. Emphasis will be put on the structures and dynamics of Asian development . The major topics that shall be introduced in this course are: the role of local, regional and international organisations in integrating Asian countries; basic economic and social development indicators; the growing regional economic interdependence, FDI flows, financial cooperation in the region and the possibility of forming a free trade area in East Asian region. .

Philosophies, Religions and Cultures in East Asia (30h): this course will introduce students to the field of philosophical traditions in Asia: Confucianism, Taoism, Legalism, Shintoism and Buddhism (guest speaker). Students will also learn the basic features of Asian religious and philosophical syncretism, as well as the yin-yang concept. Moreover, strategic cultures of East Asia based on the School of Diplomats, Sun zi, and the Japanese school will play an important part of this course. This will include the adoption and adaptations by East Asian countries, mainly China and Japan, of the Western concepts of nationalism, liberalism, modernity, Marxism and communism since the 19th century. The course will enable a better understanding of the unwritten codes of conduct in East Asia, which will be useful in conducting intercultural exchanges with the region.

Contemporary History of East Asia (30h): the course will introduce students to the history of East Asia since the 19th century, with an emphasis on China, Japan and Korea. Students will learn about the state of international relations in East Asia on the eve of European colonialism and the reaction of different countries to Western influences. They will gain knowledge on the modernisation of the Opium Wars, China during the late Qing dynasty, Japan in the Meiji period, Japan’s territorial expansion until 1945, China’s civil war and the rise of the Chinese Communist Party, the Korean War, the integration process in Southeast Asia and India, as well as the Cold War competition between the United States and the Soviet Union in the region.

International Relations and Security Issues of East Asia (30h): this course will introduce students to the field of international relations and the security of East Asia region. Major topics include: big powers (the United States, Russia, China, Japan, the European Union) and East Asia international politics development, Japanese Self Defense force, Cross Strait military relations, US military presence in East Asia, Sino-American Strategic Dialogue and situation in Korea. Moreover, the students will acquire knowledge on security and trust building measures in the region regarding North Korea’s nuclear crisis.

East Asian Integration and Conflict Management (30h) this course will introduce students to the field of integration in the East Asia region. In the first part of the course the preconditions and dimensions of integration in Southeast Asia will be discussed with special regards to the economic, social and political integration of ASEAN. In the second part students will acquired knowledge on the ASEAN+3 formula and East Asia Community proposed by China, Japan and South Korea. Regarding the conflict management mechanism topics include: the peace process in Cambodia and Korean Peninsula nuclear problem.

Effective Communication and Presentation (30h): students will learn the essentials of effective communication in the working environment. Combining lectures, discussions, simulations and hands-on practice, this course is designed to place the students in common business and social settings that require a mastery of oral presentation skills in order to be successful. This course is to support students to incorporate theories and skills of effective communication in a variety of contests. This course will also include instruction on the effective use of presentation software and interactive technology.

Asian Investment in Global Perspective (15h): the course analyses the role of Asian countries in the global financial market. First students will be familiarized with investment flow in the world, types of investments, types of investors (public and private) and their motives (commercial and political). Then, on the basis of a few case studies, students will try to understand what is the real significance of Asian investments in different parts of the world. The special attention is going to be paid on the Sovereign Wealth Funds – state investment vehicles, that are rising in prominence and are interested example of the phenomenon of a growing role of states in world economy. A dedicated part of the course will be focused on Chinese, Japanese and Korean investors.

Dimensions of Southeast Asian Development (30h): this course will introduce students to the economic, social and political development of Southeast Asian (SEA) countries. Emphasis will be put on political and economic reforms during last decades, social changes and dimensions of integration in South East Asia. The course will also focus on the crucial problems and challenges that SEA countries are facing, for example water supply. The major topics that shall be introduced are: basic economic and social development indicators, the role of ASEAN in regional development and the position of Southeast Asian countries on the international arena. Moreover students will obtain knowledge on the developmental of peculiar countries such as Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

China under Revolution and Reforms (45h): this course will introduce students to the field of Chinese foreign policy dynamics. The major topics such as basic preconditions of China’s growing role in the global order, China’s involvement in world affairs, the dynamics of China’s foreign policy decision-making, and public discourse on China’s role in the world will be explored and discussed. Students will also learn cultural aspects, such as: Chinese heritage, the concepts of tianxia (all under the heaven) and foreign policy principles. Additionally, the course also contains a historical aspect, with courses ranging from China’s experiences since the Opium Wars to the republican period and China under Mao Zedong. Furthermore, contemporary perspectives on China’s foreign policy, that is, the political system, Chinese international relations theories and China’s growing role in global economy, will be analyzed and discussed. Moreover, topics to be covered include: ethnic policy and system of regional ethnic autonomy; social and regional disparity; civil society; rural and urban development; and environmental issues. Special attention will be given to the complexity of ethnic tensions and the root causes of such conflicts.

Development and Challenges of a Rising India (30h): this course will introduce students to the major problems and challenges that India has been experiencing since 1947. That is, since India gained independence from the United Kingdom. Emphasis will be placed on the last two decades, when key socio-economic reforms took place and India began to open its economy to the world. The major topics that shall be discussed during the course include: the determinants of development in social, cultural, political and economic contexts, and the rising position of India on the international arena.

Domestic and Foreign Affairs of Japan (45h): the course will focus on the crucial problems in Japan’s domestic and foreign policy. Students will gain knowledge on the Japanese political system and decision-making process. Much emphasis will be put on the analysis of institutional, social, cultural and historical determinants of Japan’s policy making in the postwar period. The course will explore the deficiencies of liberal democracy in Japan, such as clientelistic practices, hereditary parliamentarism and one-party dominance. It will also focus on the constitutional constraints limiting Tokyo’s active role as a major power in the world and analyse the evolution of its security policy since the 1990s. The course will enable a better understanding of Japan’s position on the international arena as well as the political, social and economic problems that have emerged since the end of the Cold War.

Shaping the EU’s and Polish Foreign Policies in the Asia Region (15h): this course analyses the European Union’s role in global politics with a special focus on the EU’s policy towards Asia. The course is designed to equip students with the empirical knowledge, theories and analytical skills necessary to explain and critically assess the EU’s relations with Asian countries including the major players: China, Japan and India. The course first familiarizes students with the institutions, instruments and decision-making bodies of EU foreign policy. Subsequently, the EU’s policies towards particular states in the region will be analyzed. As part of the course, students will simulate a meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council in response to a potential crisis in Asia. moreover this course will introduce students to the field of Polish foreign policy towards Asia in the context of the European Union’s policy towards this region. A dedicated part of the course will be focused on Poland’s political and economic relations with China, Japan, India, North Korea and Southeast Asian countries.

Choices and Challenges of U.S. Involvement in East Asia (30h – optional): this course is devoted to the American presence in East Asia. While focusing on contemporary issues, it also provides a background for U.S. involvement in East Asia dating back to the Cold War period, with special emphasis on American alliances in the region. By introducing a broad context for policy choices this course aims to provide students with a thorough understanding of the challenges faced by American decision makers.

A Comparative Perspective of Social Development in East and South Asia (15h): the course will focus on the multi-dimensional issues that are crucial to understanding the dramatic development of the East Asia region. This will include the present-day quests of its societies, which will include discussions on both social and economic matters. During the course students will receive information regarding cultural context and demography. Selected topics will aim to develop the student’s knowledge of the region’s welfare development, systems of education, labour and employment patterns. Part of the topics will be focused on issues concerning building civil societies and the role of  non-profit organisations. Problems of social inequalities, income distribution and poverty will be also brought into the centre of the analysis.

Doing Business in East and South Asia (30h): this course provides a basic understanding of the negotiations with business people from the region. Emphasis is placed on practical cross-cultural communication, business etiquette, business strategies with Asian characteristics, as well as the Asian menu and cuisine. Students will acquire knowledge on how to prepare official speeches, what kinds of questions to ask and how to create a positive atmosphere for the future effective cooperation with business partners from across East and South Asia.

Chinese and Japanese languages (360h): students will learn Chinese/Japanese characters, vocabulary and grammar. An integral part of these courses will be to improve the student’s skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students will also learn more cultural, country studies, politics, media and social development knowledge.

Introduction to Hindi language (15h): during their third year of BA studies, students will learn background Hindi language with its vocabulary and grammar. By the end of the course the student will possess basic knowledge of the language, as well as listening, speaking and writing skills.

Additional Activities

Special Tutorial Program – following Oxford and Cambridge examples the Department of East Asia Studies offers a special tutorial class. The meetings will be held twice a month and will be dedicated to discussions, under the supervision of a tutor, on current issues of East Asia. The discussed issues will be in keeping with the students’ interests.

The Asian Student Club (ASC) is a newly established initiative at the University of Lodz. We hope to gather students from Asia as well as students interested in the region (from Poland and broaden Europe). The major goal of the ASC is to build a platform for understanding and mutual help for students of the University of Lodz. The meetings organized by the ASC are dedicated to presenting the cultures, festivals and local customs in Asia by the members of the ASC. The coordinator of the ASC is based at the Faculty of International and Political Studies and is run by the Department of East Asia Studies.