Graduate Courses 2021-22

Graduate Courses 2021-22


Course Nomenclature:

  • H indicates a half credit course
  • F indicates a half year course in the first term (Sept – Dec)
  • S indicates a half year course in the second term (Jan – Apr)
  • Y indicates a full year course (Sept – Apr)
  • M, T, W, R, F = days of the week



ASI1000Y-Y Issues in Contemporary East and Southeast Asian Studies T 2-4 In person J. Bertrand (F) and Y. Wu (S)
The core seminar examines the dynamics of transformation in the Asia-Pacific in relation to a number of theoretical debates in history and the social sciences. The seminar is required of graduate students in the Collaborate Master’s Specialization in Contemporary East and Southeast Asian Studies.



Please check if your home department offers an independent research course in which you can work on your major research paper. For example, POL2810Y/POL2811Y (MA Research Seminar I/II), GLA2095H (MGA Reading Course)/GLA2228H (MGA Research Paper), PLA1107Y (Current Issues Paper).

Note: these departmental courses may by taken by students and count (a maximum of 0.5 FCE) towards the CESEAS course requirements provided they are used to work on the CESEAS Major Research Paper. The topic should include a significant East or Southeast Asia focus and the final MRP should be 50-60 pages in length, with analysis beyond a regular seminar paper. Important: the length requirements of the CESEAS MRP may be different than that of the course offered in your home department. Please contact prior to enrolment to confirm that the course is eligible for CESEAS credit and to have your MRP topic preapproved.

If such a course is not offered in your home department, you may enrol in the Independent Research course offered by the CESEAS program, ASI1001H:

ASI1001H Independent Research in Contemporary East and Southeast Asian Studies
Students wishing to take this independent research credit in order to work on their major research paper must find an appropriate faculty member willing to supervise them, and fill out the Research/Reading Course Form and submit it to Please contact Katherine MacIvor at if you have questions.


ELECTIVE COURSES Offered By the Asian Institute

ASI4140H-S The Public Event in Asia M 2-4 C. Emmrich
This joint undergrad/grad seminar will introduce students to the interdisciplinary study of popular culture in Asia through a focus on public events. Readings about all kinds of performances, including ritual, popular protest, festivals, sports, cinema, television, digital media events, and the performing arts will help students learn methodological tools to interpret the politics and meanings of public culture as it articulates with class, ethnicity, religious community, gender and caste. The course will furthermore familiarize students with a range of theoretical lenses for conceptualizing the different meanings of the “event” and the “public” from a perspective grounded in the histories of South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and their diasporas.
ASI4300H-F Nationalism and Revolution in Asia M 2-4 Y. Wu
This joint undergrad/grad seminar explores the far-reaching social, political, and cultural transformations in modern East, Southeast, and South Asia, focusing on the twentieth-century revolutionary histories and struggles to establish modern nation-states. The course adopts a topical approach within a chronological and comparative framework to highlight major historical movements and theoretical issues significant to the Asian experience.
ASI4900H-F Special  Topics: Politics of China and Democracy in Asia T 10 AM – 12 PM L. Ong
This joint undergrad/grad seminar is designed to provide students with an understanding of the underlying forces driving the political landscape in China and other Asian countries. We begin with the question why China has defied the modernization theory with the persistence of authoritarian regime. What are the nature of political institutions and state-society relations that explain this persistent outcome in China? We then examine the polities of South Korea, Taiwan and emerging Asian democracies to study the underlying patterns of state and societal forces that led to regime changes. This course seeks to understand the similarities and explain the differences of the hodgepodge of autocratic and democratic regimes in Asia, and ask “why” and “why not”. Students should be prepared to read course materials and engage in class discussion.
ASI4900H-S Special Topics: Comparative Regional Studies of China’s Belt and Road Initiative R 8-10 AM S. Smith

Instructor: Stephen Smith, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto

This course considers how China’s enormous Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has generated cultural, political, social, and economic transformations across Asian and Eurasian contexts. The course is open to senior undergraduate and early graduate students and will include students from three institutes participating in The Belt and Road in Global Perspective project: i) Center for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies and the Asian Institute, both at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto; ii) the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore; and iii) the Political Science and International Relations Department, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan). University of Toronto students will attend in person. Students from other universities will attend via video link.


ELECTIVE Courses offered by Other Departments

In addition to ASI courses, CESEAS students may enrol in courses relevant to the East and Southeast region offered by other departments at the University of Toronto, some of which are listed below. Please check with individual departments for eligibility and enrolment procedures. CESEAS cannot guarantee students a space in courses offered by other departments.

Other courses not listed below might also meet the requirements, provided that they have strong Asia content. If you have another course in mind, please contact for pre-approval.



Please check the East Asian Studies website for further information. Non-EAS students should enrol after seeking the professor’s permission by submitting a filled-in Add/Drop form to the EAS office.

EAS1176H-F Comparative and Historical Socialisms in East Asia and Beyond M 10 AM – 12 PM Y. Wu
EAS2020H-F Critical Approaches to East Asia T 10 AM – 12 PM M. Cho
EAS1472H-F Cold War in the Pacific T 1-4 PM A. Schmid
EAS1432H-S Korean Cultural Studies Seminar T 1-3 PM J. Poole
EAS1426H-S Transition, Subjectivity, Revolution R 3-5 PM In Person K. Kawashima


Global Affairs

GLA2036H-F Bilateral Diplomacy: Canada-Japan and US-Japan Relations T 6:30 – 9:00 PM P. Lipscy
How do governments conduct bilateral diplomacy? We will explore this topic by examining the real-world diplomacy of Canada and the United States vis-a-vis Japan. We will review the academic literature on foreign policy making and the specific context of these bilateral relationships. We will then engage directly with practitioners at the forefront of foreign policy making in Canada, Japan, and the United States, exploring contemporary policy challenges and how the respective governments seek to resolve them. Students will work on collaborative group projects designed in consultation with practitioners to provide value to immediate policy making priorities. Students may need to be available outside of the designated class time occasionally for online meetings with counterparts abroad.
GLA2060H-S Topics in Development I: Chinese Politics Beyond the Headlines R 2-4 PM D. Fu
This course covers a range of topics in contemporary Chinese politics and society. It challenges students to probe beyond the news headlines to understand the politics of a major authoritarian power. No prior knowledge of China required.
GLA2093H-S Topics in Global Affairs IV: Seeing Taiwan T 3-5 PM S. Liu
This course uses Taiwan as a site to examine some of the most pressing contemporary and historical issues. They include state-building, environmental politics, colonialism and empire, the politics of memory, innovation and urbanism, as well as visual culture. In so doing, students do not only acquire a body of knowledge about Taiwan and its dynamic global connections; they also develop interdisciplinary skills to improve their understanding of major global issues.



HIS1664H-F Topics in History:  Religion and Society in Southeast Asia M 2-4  PM N. Tran
(Joint HIS496H1) This course introduces students to the historical debates on religion and society in the eleven states that now constitute “Southeast Asia.”  Readings will address how religious practices in the region—animism, Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism and Christianity—have served as forces for social and political change in the modern period.  Particular emphasis will be placed on the role of “religion” in the region’s political transitions in the twentieth century, including the ways in which Southeast Asia’s approach toward “modernity” directly relies upon religious authority.
HIS1673H-F Critical Historiography of Late Imperial and Modern China W 9-11 AM L. Chen
This is a graduate reading seminar that will introduce students to the major issues and debates in the Anglophone historiography of late imperial and modern China. It aims to provide students with a broad perspective on the field, prepare them for comprehensive examinations, help them develop their teaching portfolios, give them a chance to practice giving and receiving peer critique, and improve their public presentation skills.

Expect to cover topics including state-society relations; commercial and industrial economies; ideological orthodoxies and not-so-orthodoxies; gender, sexuality, and families; frontiers and ethnicities; technological, intellectual, and cultural patterns; and the perhaps the biggest set of questions of all: what has changed (and what has not) in the transition to “modern” China? Has that transition occurred yet? And why do so many, scholars or not, find the question so gripping? Though the focus is solidly on China c. 1600 to c. 1970, students will have many opportunities to incorporate their own interests and knowledge from other geographic areas, time periods, or disciplinary fields.

Students  will produce two short book reviews, a mock undergraduate syllabus (and offer peer review on their classmates’ syllabi), and an annotated bibliography, as well as leading discussion at one point in the course.


Political Science

JPA2353H-F Authoritarianism in Comparative Perspective M 12-2 PM L. Ong
This course examines the politics of authoritarianism in theory and in practice. It covers major theories in authoritarian politics, ranging from selectorate theory, authoritarian institutions, impact of institutions on political outcome, ways of measuring authoritarian state power, democracy and development, to social movement and state repression in authoritarian regime, and political transitions. On empirical application, we will draw on cases from around the world, with some emphasis on Asian authoritarian states.

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