Graduate Courses 2022-23

Graduate Courses 2022-23


Course Nomenclature:

  • H indicates a half credit course
  • F indicates a half year course in the first (fall) term (Sept – Dec)
  • S indicates a half year course in the second (winter) 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 Tuesdays 2-4 PM Fall: Transit House

Winter: LA 213

R. Silvey, E. Wijaya (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

ASI4140HS  The Public Event in Asia Mondays 2-4 PM 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.
ASI4900HF Special  Topics: Politics of China and Democracy in Asia Tuesdays 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.
ASI4900HS Special Topics: Comparative Regional Studies of China’s Belt and Road Initiative Thursdays 2-4 PM 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.

EAS2020HF Critical Approaches to East Asia Mondays 1 PM – 3 PM  RL14228 M. Cho
EAS1182HF Writing as Technology in Modern China


Tuesdays 11 AM – 1 PM RL14228 Y. Zhong
EAS1336HF Memory, History, Trauma Wednesdays 3-5 pm RL14228 L. Yoneyama
EAS1541HS Comparative History of Reading in East Asia and Beyond Thursdays 1-3 pm N. Vedal
EAS1426HS Subjectivity, Transition, Revolution Tuesdays 3-5 PM RL14228 K. Kawashima



Global Affairs

GLA2036H-F Bilateral Diplomacy: Canada-Japan and US-Japan Relations Tuesdays 6:30 – 9:00 PM B019 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.
GLA2091H-S Topics in Global Affairs II: Chinese Politics Beyond the Headlines Thursdays 3-5 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 Mondays 2-4 PM B019 T. Lam
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.



HIS1673HF Critical Historiography of Late Imperial and Modern China Tuesday 6-8 PM Y. Wang
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.

HIS1662HS Rethinking Modernity through Japan Thursdays 10 AM – 12 PM T. Fujitani
The purpose of this seminar is to introduce graduate students to the major problems, paradigms, and literature on global modernity as seen through the lens of Japan. The course will begin with reflections on area studies as it has addressed questions of modernity and modernization in Japan, while also attending to recent criticisms of this body of knowledge. Although specific topics will vary from year to year, they may include considerations of nationalism, democracy,   labor, social management, science, education, biopolitics, empire, temporality, gender and sexuality, culture and ideology, warfare, social conflict, and shifting understandings of human difference. Readings selected for their theoretical or comparative utility will complement those on Japan. In the 2017-18 year the course will especially highlight the period that stretches from the 1930s to 1945.


Political Science

JPA2353H-F Authoritarianism in Comparative Perspective Mondays 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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