Courses during the second semester
CÖSM23: Contemporary Chinese Society
The course surveys and analyzes the momentous cultural, social, political and economic changes that have taken place in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) since the early 1980s. The course starts with a brief account of contemporary history, religion and culture, as well as geography and demography. The course examines the co-existence of continuity and change in relation to identity, beliefs, and social and political values. It particularly addresses how social and political developments affect different individuals and groups of people such as women, religious groups and ethnic minorities, workers, peasants and officials. The course also focuses on different institutions and organizations such as work places, civic associations, the media, and legal and political institutions. Furthermore, it discusses and contextualizes issues and problems concerning poverty and inequality, citizenship and governance, freedom of expression, demographic changes, environment and urbanization. All the questions in the course are discussed from a gender perspective. The digital development and its importance for the Chinese society is a special focus, as is China’s growing regional and global role.
The course is divided into four parts: history, culture and traditions, geography and demography; media, law and civil society; rural and urban developments, ideology and politics; and welfare, economic developments and the environment. The course builds on theories from different disciplines at the same time as an interdisciplinary perspective is stimulated. The course also makes use of and analyzes visual materials such as documentary film.
CÖSM24: Contemporary Japanese and Korean Societies
The course analyses cultural, social and political issues in contemporary Japanese and Korean societies. The course takes a multidisciplinary perspective and is divided into four parts. The first part provides a general understanding of the social and political processes in Japan and North Korea and South Korea. The countries history and impact on contemporary Japanese and Korean societies are discussed. The focus is on the post-Cold War era.
The second part of the course makes comparisons between Japan and Korea and in particular similarities between Japan and South Korea. Themes that are discussed include the impact of colonialism on North Korea and South Korea, the partition of the two countries, and the post-War authoritarian regimes.
The third part of the course addresses the role of the media and how it creates both continuities and changes in Japan and Korea. The study of the role of media provides a deeper understanding of the countries political and socio-cultural dynamics. In this part of the course China’s influence on Japan and Korea is also discussed.
The fourth part of the course addresses the challenges that Japan and Korea are facing. In this part the countries changing demographics and the connection between an aging population, gender inequality and migration are discussed.
CÖSM25: Contemporary South-East Asian Societies
The course is divided into four parts where the first part provides a basic understanding of the region’s socio-cultural processes. The historical context and its impact on contemporary South-East Asian societies are discussed. It discusses religion as a field of meanings that informs individual people’s lives and strengthens social and political identities, and influences social and political discourses.
The second part of the course addresses the political and economic context of South-East Asia. Theories from different disciplines and ethnographic material are used to discuss these topics.
The third part of the course addresses the socio-economic development in South-East Asia. The aim is to investigate the gap between rich and poor and address development from a gender perspective.
The fourth part of the course discusses contemporary culture and popular culture in South-East Asia and provides a broader perspective on the contemporary societies.
CÖSM22: Methodology in Theory and Practice (15 credits)
The course deals with methodological issues relating to the organisation, design and writing of a master’s thesis. In addition to the general introduction to ontological and epistemological debates in the social sciences, the students get acquainted with organisational tools and methodological approaches in social research including a related range of specific methods and techniques.
The course aims to present the key schools of theoretical and methodological thought in the social sciences. From the perspective of theory, the course focuses on issues such as the nature of justification in social inquiry, the distinction between causal explanation and interpretative understanding, the role of language in social inquiry, the historical and philosophical meaning of science, and the importance of ethical and normative questions in the social sciences.
From the organisational and methodological perspective, the objective is to develop skills in designing, planning, carrying out, writing up and appraising research related to Asia. The course introduces the students to the main methods in qualitative and quantitative research and related techniques, and provides the tools for students to effectively present data, findings and conclusions.