Understanding Asia

Subject 100-183 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Two 1-hour lectures and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: Total of 8 hours per week.
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Dr Kate Mcgregor


Dr Kate McGregor


Subject Overview:

The subject begins by exploring historical and geographic definitions of Asia. Students will be introduced to an historical overview of the history of Asia and Asia’s relationship with the West. In the second part of the subject students will examine the formation of early cultural identities within the Asian region, including the emergence of diverse Asian civilisations, the major religions and belief systems of Asia. The final part of the subject focuses on key processes of transition and contestation in 20 th century East and Southeast Asia. We focus on religious revival, the lasting impact of World War Two and Japan’s role within it, the rise of the Asian miracle economies and contestation over territory and resources in Asia. Finally we return to an examination of ideas about Asia.

Students will be introduced to Asia through a variety of Asia-produced media. They will learn to analyse historical sources, maps, images and extracts from religious teachings in addition to secondary sources.


Students who complete this subject should:

· be able to reflect critically on Western and Asian ideas of Asia and Asian identities;

· comprehend the key religions and value systems of Asia and their origin;

· have an understanding of key features of early Asian civilisations;

· appreciate key historical and cultural links between Asian societies;

· comprehend processes of economic transition in Asia;

· understand sources of contestation within and between Asian societies

· be able to challenge commonly held Western views about Asia;

· be able to critically analyse primary documents and religious and cartographic texts.


An interpretive map exercise of 750 words 20% (due around week 4 of semester), a document analysis/case study exercise based on the section 1250 words 30% (due in semester break), and a 2-hour exam 50% (at the end of semester).

Students must attend a minimum of nine tutorials, demonstrate familiarity with online resources, and participate in the Faculty of Arts online learning community in order to qualify to have their written work assessed.

Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • provide students with cross-cultural perspectives on their own experiences
  • expose students to multi-disciplinary teaching
  • teach students to critique their own preconceptions
  • teach students how to analyse a variety of documents, artefacts and visual sources
  • allow students to develop their oral and written skills
Related Course(s): Diploma in Arts (Asian Studies)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Geography
Interdisciplinary Foundation Subjects

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