Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Image Wars in Southeast Asia: Studying 20th Century Propaganda
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment oral assessment  20%
Semester Assessment essay 1 - 1,500 words  20%
Semester Assessment Project - 5000 words  60%
Supplementary Assessment supplementary assessment - oral assessment  20%
Supplementary Assessment supplementary assessment - essay 1  20%
Supplementary Assessment supplementary assessment - project  60%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate familiarity with the ways in which propaganda has been produced and utilised

Explore how propaganda can be used as a historical source to develop an understanding both about the powers exploiting it, and the people they are targeting.


This module allows students to take a novel look at the modern history of Southeast Asia through the propaganda that different powers employed during the twentieth century. Exploiting a range of sources, the module will require students to engage with a range of historiographical approaches. Many of the sources will be image based, such as photographs, posters, magazines or adverts, but students will also be asked to perform textual analysis on sources such as poems, speeches and articles as well as film. In engaging with this material, students will gain close insight into the narratives that shaped Southeast Asian society and how these were both constructed and exploited by national leaders and foreign powers. This direct engagement with the source material will also provide insight into the thinking of propagandists, supporting a broader understanding of propaganda as a craft.


10 x 2 hour seminars arranged weekly on the following topics:

1: Introduction to Propaganda in Southeast Asia
2: The twentieth century and the battle for ideology in Southeast Asia
3: Japanese Imperial propaganda and World War II
4: Thai nationalist ideology and the propaganda machine
5: The United States and post-war Southeast Asia: The power of ‘people to people’ diplomacy (We will look at The King and I, 1956 movie)
6: United States Information Agency Propaganda Posters
7: Vietnamese Communist ideology and its depiction
8: The Anti-War movement in America and the depiction of Southeast Asia
9: Propaganda and genocide: The Khmer Rouge
10: Study of a government mouth piece: The New Light of Myanmar

Brief description

Southeast Asia sits at the cross roads of Asia, and has throughout the twentieth century been considered a vital strategic location globally. This has meant that foreign powers have continuously worked with and fought against national leaders for hegemony and legitimacy. This course will interrogate how they have done this. In doing so it will recognize that regardless of the underlying message, key themes remained vital to the success of the propaganda. It will show how questions of race, culture and nation were regularly drawn upon to engage viewers or readers. Moreover, it will identify how new technologies in propaganda production were quickly assimilated and exploited locally. Overall it will help students to gain insight into Southeast Asian history in a way that is both accessible and revealing.


This module is at CQFW Level 6