Unit Information Management System

Culture, Society and the State in Asia (ASIA2001, TS-QTR-A2, 2017, Hong Kong - Arts)

Faculty of Arts

Social Sciences

Unit Outline

Culture, Society and the State in Asia


TS-QTR-A2, 2017

Campus: Hong Kong - Arts

Unit Coordinator: Associate Professor Stephen Dobbs

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Copying of this material by students, except for fair dealing purposes under the Copyright Act, is prohibited. For the purposes of this fair dealing exception, students should be aware that the rule allowing copying, for fair dealing purposes, of 10% of the work, or one chapter/article, applies to the original work from which the excerpt in this course material was taken, and not to the course material itself

© The University of Western Australia 2001

Unit details

Unit title Culture, Society and the State in Asia
Unit code ASIA2001 Credit points 6
Availability TS-QTR-A2, 2017 (13/02/2017 - 10/06/2017)
Location Hong Kong - Arts Mode Face to face

Contact details

Faculty Faculty of Arts
School Social Sciences
School website http://www.ss.arts.uwa.edu.au/
Unit coordinator Associate Professor Stephen Dobbs
Email stephen.dobbs@uwa.edu.au
Telephone 6488 2002
Consultation hours I can be contacted anytime during semester via email and Blackboard. Tutors in Hong Kong will inform students of when they have consultation times in the first week of semester.
Tutors/ Demonstrators/ Facilitators

Tutors will be organised in Hong Kong.

Unit contact hours Lectures: 20 hours; tutorials: 9 hours
Online handbook http://handbooks.uwa.edu.au/units/unitdetails?code=ASIA2001
Unit website

Unit rules

Prerequisites A Level 1 ASIA, JAPN, CHIN, KORE or INDO unit
Advisable prior study
Incompatibility ASIA2204 Culture, Society and the State in Asia
Approved quota

Unit description

A central aim of this unit is to investigate how culture serves the political objectives of the state and how resistance to state power is also often derived from culture. Close interaction between the state and sociocultural life has been a fundamental feature of countries in the Asian region since the end of the colonial era and has been seen as crucial to nation building. In recent years most Asian nations have experienced extraordinarily rapid economic change, at times resulting in acute social tensions including huge disparities in income, aggravated rural–urban dichotomies, ethnic conflict, regional separatism, gender inequalities, environmental devastation, and the dislocation and relocation of huge numbers of people.

In the unit students explore the meanings of key concepts such as culture, political culture, society and the state. They explore the role culture plays in holding the societies of Asia together despite the tensions of modernisation and globalisation, and the extent to which culture is/can be guided (or controlled) by the state for this purpose. The unit also examines how state-sponsored cultural forms are resisted and subverted by various groups within society. Special attention is given to Southeast Asia, China and Japan and students are encouraged to explore specific issue(s) within the context of these regions. The unit allows students to explore a range of areas where state power in Asia and the idea of national cohesion via cultural manipulation impact directly on the diverse ethnic populations that make up society in much of Asia. Students are expected to problematise state cultural agendas and demonstrate an understanding of the way in which society resists, even in the face of the staunchest efforts of the state, to control culture.

The academic objectives of the unit are to develop an understanding of the complexities of sociocultural, political, economic transformations and interactions in postcolonial Asia through the lenses of culture/power/resistance. A further academic objective is to have students more fully understand and utilise various social and political theories and ideas related to the study of contemporary society in Asia.

Learning outcomes

Students are able to (1) recognise and critically analyse debates and discourses in contemporary Asia around the interactions between society, culture and political states; (2) evaluate societal transformations in contemporary Asia through understanding the complex relationship between culture, power and resistance in modern Asian societies; (3) explain and critique in ethically sensitive ways the important role of culture in holding the societies and nation states of the Asian region together as well as the ways in which culture is often a contested arena between state and societal interests in the modern globalised world; (4) demonstrate an ability to develop original arguments in oral and written forms that engage with the social and political theories and literature used to frame the unit themes around the interactions of society, culture and state; (5) demonstrate an intermediate-level capacity to conduct discipline-relative research by developing their own major research project and by utilsing appropriate academic conventions and source materials; and (6) develop and demonstrate greater cross-cultural awareness through an enhanced understanding of the relationship between the key unit themes of society, culture, state, power and resistance.

Unit structure

(See Timetable)

Unit schedule

Teaching and learning responsibilities

Teaching and learning strategies

Charter of student rights and responsibilities

The Charter of Student Rights and Responsibilities sets out the fundamental rights and responsibilities of students and their organisations at The University of Western Australia.

Student Guild contact details

The UWA Student Guild is the peak representative body for all students enrolled at UWA. The Guild Student Assist team (consisting of qualified social workers and counsellors) can provide independent, confidential advice on anything affecting your study, including financial, academic, and welfare matters. The Guild also offers hundreds of events, student clubs, volunteering and leadership opportunities, and member discounts. More information and contact details can be found at www.uwastudentguild.com.

Uses of student feedback


ACE, ISE and CARS are compulsory online modules which all new UWA students must complete. In order to pass a unit you must achieve a mark of 80% or greater in the quiz in each of the three modules. Multiple attempts at the quizzes are allowed. Completion of the units will be recorded as Ungraded Pass (UP) or Ungraded Fail (UF) on your academic record. Students can only access this unit via the Learning Management System (LMS).


Academic Conduct Essentials

Academic Conduct Essentials (ACE) is a wholly online self-paced unit which introduces students to the basic issues of ethical scholarship and the expectations of correct academic conduct that the University has of its students. The objective of the unit is to ensure that students understand their responsibilities in relation to ethical scholarship and academic conduct at the University.

The unit is called Academic Conduct Essentials, or ACE for short, and is available through the Learning Management System (LMS) using your Pheme account. Those students required to complete ACE are automatically enrolled in the unit.

Information about ACE is available in the UWA Handbook.

Communication and Research Skills (CARS1000)

All commencing undergraduate students are required to complete CARS1000 within the first 10 weeks of their first semester. CARS1000 is an online, self-paced unit that provides an introduction to the skills needed to find and use information effectively and efficiently, to communicate effectively and to work in teams. Topics covered include how to locate and use library resources, the search process and search strategies, how and why to reference work, evaluating online sources, writing, presenting and working in teams.

To read more about CARS see the UWA Current Students website

Indigenous Studies Essentials (INDG1000)

This unit is a Welcome to Country that introduces students to the shared learning space at The University of Western Australia. This learning space includes both Western and Indigenous knowledge systems. The unit looks at the local, national and global contexts of Indigenous peoples. Students consider where The University is located and share in the Noongar story of the place. They explore Aboriginal people in a national context and Indigenous people globally. Students are introduced to a range of protocols relevant to their professional and disciplinary contexts.

To read more about ISE see the UWA Current Students website.

Information for students with disabilities

The University has a range of support services, equipment and facilities for students with a disability. UniAccess staff are equipped to recommend the best options to enable your participation.

If you would like to receive advice on these services please email uniaccess@uwa.edu.au or visit UniAccess.


Assessment overview

Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) short assignment; (2) essays; and (3) tutorial participation and excercises. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Assessment mechanism

ComponentWeightDue DateRelates To Outcomes
Tutorial Participation15%Ongoing1,2,3,4,5,6
Short Assignment20%Friday Week 51,2,3,4,5,6
Research Essay50%Monday Week 111,2,3,4,5,6
In Class Essay15%Conducted in week 131,2,3,4,5,6

Assessment items

Item TitleDescriptionSubmission Procedure for Assignments
Tutorial ParticipationI believe the face to face interaction of the tutorial is a central part of a good university education. There is also a recognised need amongst employers and in the university for graduates to have well developed oral communication skills. Therefore, besides clarification of the key ideas in the unit the tutorial is also designed to improve the communication skills of students.

It is very important that you be an active learner and not just a recipient of "factual" information that I provide you with. The tutorial is one area of the unit where everyone's "considered" opinions and ideas can be discussed. Active participation is expected and it will improve your ability to think critically and practice interpersonal skills such as listening and speaking.

Further information available in the unit outline in Blackboard.
Short AssignmentYou have a choice of 2 exercises. Choose one. The idea in this assignment is to write in a critical and informed way. Clearly also you have to be succinct. There is some scope here for you to provide opinion, although bear in mind that opinions are only as good as the facts and argument that they are based on!

Further information available in the unit outline in Blackboard.
Via Blackboard
Research EssayYou may answer one of the assigned questions or develop your own topic in consultation with your tutor. If developing your own topic you must discuss it with your tutor by the end of week 7.

The essay is to be a maximum of 2000 - 2500 words in length (not including bibliography).

The essay may focus on one country, compare or contrast two countries, or look at the region as a whole. If you choose a comparative essay, be sure to compare a number of features of each aspect or country, not write two 'mini-essays'.

Students should demonstrate a familiarity with the leading scholarly works on the subject and make use of primary sources where available.

Further information available in the unit outline in Blackboard.
Via Blackboard
In Class EssayThe in class essay will be held in week 13. The details of this will be provided by your tutor in Hong Kong.

On the day prior to the session you are going to attend you will be provided (via Blackboard) with the topic you are expected to address in the essay.

The topics for the essay will be based around a "quote" and aimed at having you write in a self reflexive style about the way in which the provided quote links to various themes in the unit. These themes being (for example) Culture, Society, State, Political Culture, Nation Building, how states use culture in nation building, challenges that states face in their use of culture and so on (this list is not definitive). You are not expected to deal with all the possible themes of the unit but you are expected to demonstrate a credible understanding of how some of these themes/issues intersect and impact on Asian societies.

Further information available in the unit outline in Blackboard.
Held in class and submitted directly to your tutor.

Academic literacy and academic misconduct

Be aware that the work you submit must be your own. To pass off work as your own, if you have copied it from someone else (be it a published writer, another person, a TV program, a library anthology, a lecture, a website or whatever) is to deprive yourself of the real benefits of this unit and to be guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism, the unacknowledged quotation of material from other people's work, is a serious offence and a ground for failure. If you take words from other sources (critical articles, background works, etc.) you must quote carefully and accurately, and acknowledge the text you are quoting into inverted commas. Even if you paraphrase, you must still acknowledge the source you are paraphrasing from.


Please refer to the University's policy document for further information.

Advice on how to do proper referencing can be found here.

Appeals against academic assessment

In accordance with the University Policy on Review and Appeal of Academic Decisions Relating to Students, a student may request a review of an academic decision relating to them, and to appeal if they are dissatisfied with the outcome of that review.

The University upholds the principle that students should have the opportunity to review and/or raise appeals against academic decisions without fear of disadvantage and in the knowledge that confidentiality will be respected.

Textbooks and resources

Recommended texts

There is a unit reader for this unit and your tutor in Hong Kong will explain how you aquire a copy.

Suggested alternate texts

Additional texts

Technical requirements

This unit will be delivered using UWA’s new Learning Management System (Blackboard LMS). Since the system is new, please take some time exploring the different areas. 

Logging in to the new LMS:

  • Go to: lms.uwa.edu.au

  • Enter your Pheme number and password

[Tip: the preferred browser is Mozilla Firefox]

If you require any assistance in logging in, please contact help-elearning@uwa.edu.au with your unit code in the subject line or send a question to AskUWA: http://www.uwa.edu.au/askuwa

Software requirements

Additional resources and reading

Other important information

Late Penalty - University Policy on Assessment

Per the University Policy on Assessment, a penalty of 5 per cent of the total mark allocated for the assessment item is deducted per day for the first 7 days (including weekends and public holidays) after which the assigned work is not accepted. Each 24-hour block is recorded from the time the assignment is due. Assessments submitted later than 7 days after the deadline receive a mark of zero, unless an application for mitigation is approved.

For more information please consult the University Policy on Assessment: www.governance.uwa.edu.au/procedures/policies/university-policy-on-assessment