Asian Traditions - Asian Modernities

Subject ASIA90009 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2016.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours - 2 hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment:

170 Hours


Admission to the:

GD-ARTS Graduate Diploma in Arts or

GDA-ARTS Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced)

BH-ARTS Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Arabic, Asian Studies, Chinese, Islamic Studies, Indonesian, Japanese, Anthropology or

097AB Master of Development Studies.

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:



Subject Overview:

Thousands of local languages give testimony to Asia’s diversity, and yet the current and future relevance of this ethnic and cultural diversity, in the context of the national state and under the influence of globalisation, has become a topic of heated debate. This subject first explores a number of Asian cultures in-depth, through a careful selection of ethnographic texts. For each case study classic ethnographic material will be paired with the latest research on alternative modernities within the same society. This design will provide participants with an empirically grounded, longitudinal perspective on the ongoing tension between cultural continuity and change in Asia and elsewhere. Discussion will then focus on contemporary issues arising from such tensions, ranging from nativist identity politics to legitimate local struggles for self-determination. Growing calls in international policy circles for more recognition of the role of cultural diversity and local knowledge in addressing the major global challenges of the 21st century will also be considered in light of the case studies.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • Illustrate the rich diversity of cultural traditions across Asia with in-depth case studies; and
  • Employ ethnographic methods and ethnographic data analysis; and
  • Use case studies and regional comparative analysis to identify unique features and common themes across related societies within a region; and
  • Use longitudinal comparison to identify and analyse social change as well as continuity; and
  • Identify and analyse some of the characteristic issues arising when local societies come under the cultural, economic and political influence of encompassing nation states and globalisation; and
  • Apply a range of theoretical tools to the analysis of social change; and
  • Assess contemporary Asian cultures and their alternative modernities against the background of a knowledge of Asian traditions; and
  • Describe how Asian societies’ cultural uniqueness has changed and is likely to evolve in future; and
  • Explain how cultural diversity can be used as a resource for addressing global challenges; and
  • Explain why cultural diversity needs to be a key consideration in the local implementation of global change programs.
  1. Participation in seminar discussion (10%), due throughout the semester
  2. Essay 1,500 words (longitudinal case study) (30%), due in Week 6
  3. Essay 3,000 words (comparative analysis) (60%), due in the examination period

Hurdle requirements: Students are required to attend a minimum of 80% of classes in order to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Materials (course reader) will be supplied by the Institute.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject should:

  • gain cross-cultural awareness and skills in essay writing' and
  • gain the ability to apply case studies and comparative analysis as general social science methods to a wide range of research problems.
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Development Studies
150 Point Master of Development Studies
150 Point Master of Development Studies - Gender and Development Specialisation
200 Point Master of Development Studies
Asian Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced) - Asian Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Asian Studies

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