WiSe 15/16 Non-traditional Security Threats in East Asia (MEAS)

Wintersemester 2015 / 2016

WiSe 15/16 Non-traditional Security Threats in East Asia (MEAS)

Course at Master level (see requirements below).

Course Content

East Asia is a region plagued with manifold security problems. So-called traditional security threats, concerned with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states and being military in nature, have commonly been in the limelight. In East Asia, those challenges include well-known issues such as North Korea’s nuclear program, cross-Strait relations between China and Taiwan, maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas, etc. At the same time, however, East Asia likewise has to face a host of non-traditional security (NTS) threats, which are in fact proving to be more severe and more likely to inflict more harm to a greater number of people than traditional threats of interstate wars and conflicts. NTS threats are usually non-military in nature. Prominent examples in the region comprise climate change in the Himalayas; the spread of infectious diseases like Dengue Fever, H5N1 (‘bird flue’) or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (‘SARS’); trans-border air pollution like ‘the haze’ in Southeast Asia; natural disasters such as annual typhoons as well as the 2004 and 2011 tsunamis; and questions of resource scarcities, primarily energy, food and water. It is these often somewhat neglected issues, which will gain center stage in this seminar. In doing so, the main objectives of the seminar are three-fold: first, introduce theoretical approaches applicable in the field of NTS such as securitization theory; second, familiarize students with the complexities of the concept of NTS per se as well as with the intricacies of individual concepts such as water security and food security; third, understand the empirical peculiarities of different NTS issues as prominent in the East Asian context.


Relevant literature will be compiled in a reader available at the beginning of the semester (Kopierwerk, Adalbertstr. 21a).

Course Requirements

Target group: Master students in Political Science and Modern East Asian Studies (MEAS) are invited to participate in the seminar.

The course language will be English, including for discussions and student presentations during class.

Students are expected to attend all classes (according to MEAS stipulations, students absent from the course for more than 20% of classes may be required to withdraw from the course without credit), to do all readings assigned, to participate in class discussions and group activities, and to give a presentation. Those who seek to obtain a Leistungsschein are additionally required to hand in a seminar paper (15-20 pages). Students are free to hand in those seminar papers in English or German language (with the exception of MEAS students).


The number of participants is limited to 30. Please register here via OLAT.

Proof of Study

Teilnahmeschein: attendance (miss no more than 3 classes) and presentation

Leistungsschein: attendance, presentation and seminar paper (MEAS students: 15 pages, FB03 students: 20 pages). Submission date for seminar paper: March 11, 2016.


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