Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
International Communications in Asia-Pacific: Power, Peoples and Propaganda
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 2 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,000 word essay  30%
Semester Assessment 1 x 4,000 word essay  70%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,000 word essay  30%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 4,000 word essay  70%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. knowledge of a range of conceptual approaches to communications and their strategic, political and social application in the Asia-Pacific region
2. criticial understanding of specific geographic, historical and issue-based case-studies
3 knowledge of the interaction of the state and communications within different political systems (along the spectrum of authoritarian to democratic)
4. understanding of identity and globalization, and the regional and inter-regional flow of information and culture
5. development of appropriate frameworks to study communications in the context of regional and international politics, especially in terms of war, identity, diplomacy and Asia's engagement with the processes of globalization.
6. critical understanding and analysis of key approaches to political communications in Asia, including Orientalism, Asian values, and soft power

Brief description

Communications technologies, processes and flows impact upon the role, distribution and effect of political and social power in the Asia-Pacific region. Communications help shape the internal political and social dynamics of a landscape defined by a range of political systems and models while also impacting on the region's engagement with issues such as human rights, war, poverty, the environment, and economic and human security. The territories in Asia-Pacific are engaged in complex mediated and unmediated communicative practices that influence their relations with each other and with other members of the international community. In short, analyses of globalisation can ignore neither the Asia-Pacific region nor the involvement and consequences of communication.

This module introduces students to a broad analysis of the relationship between international politics and communication in the Asia-Pacific region. The module will provide a theoretical foundation - power, legitimacy, credibility, narratives, cultural imperialism and orientalism - and an empirical approach through examination of specific geographical, historical and issue-based case-studies. Topics for discussion include communications in war, public diplomacy and soft power, propaganda, the digital divide, the 'McDonaldisation' of Asia, the interaction of the global and local, and the Asian film industry.


This module provides an additional optional module for Degree Schemes in the Institute of Geography, History and Politics and beyond.
The strategic, cultural and economic power of the Asia-Pacific region continues to grow, and its relevance and value is demonstrated most dramatically by the US's 'pivot' towards the area in 2012-13. This growth is in part shaped by communications and the way intra-regional and international flows of information, culture and communications impact upon the political dynamics of the region and its interaction with the rest of the world. Embracing both theoretical and empirical perspectives, this unique module is designed to introduce students to the wide range of ways that communications have impacted on the social, political, diplomatic and strategic environment in Asia-Pacific. Its interdisciplinary approach will help position Aberystwyth and the Institute at the cutting edge of innovative research-led teaching.


Part I: Introduction

1. Introduction to the module
2. Asia and the International: A historical and conceptual overview

Part II: Strategic Communications

3. Propaganda
4. Public Diplomacy
5. External forces of change
6. War in Asia

Part III: Global v. Local

7. The McDonaldisation of Asia
8. TV in Asia: The convergence of formats
9. Asian Film Industry

Part IV: The Internet and Conclusions

10. The Internet in Asia
11. Conclusions

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing. They will be required not only to acquire information and make academic judgements about it, but also to communicate their analytical conclusions clearly and effectively. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. All of the seminars will involve student-led presentations with an opportunity for Q&A from the floor. In addition the seminars will involve small group discussions in which all students will be required to participate and communicate. Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the academic staff and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding (under guidance) the topic of their essays. The need to meet deadlines for assessed work will focus student' attention on the need to manage their time and resources.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as BIDS and OCLC).
Personal Development and Career planning The seminar discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning and researching essays, thinking in a logical and critical way about the connections between topics, time management and teamwork will all contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; all the forms of assessment will require that the student develop problem-solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: examine issues from differing points of view and from different geographical perspectives; organize data and estimate an answer to problems; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills The assignments will require the students to develop their research skills in order to locate appropriate research resources and present the results in a coherent and analytical manner. The second essay will require students to formulate their own topic and question, thus helping to develop their ability to undertake independent research and to think in a logical manner the connections between the topics addressed in the module. Research preparation for seminars will also enable the students to develop independent project skills.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of skills that are specific to the subjects that contribute to this module. These skills will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate approaches to international political communications in the Asia-Pacific region. Such subject specific skills include: Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the topic Evaluate in a critical and logical manner competing perspectives Demonstrate subject specific research techniques Demonstrate familiarity with a range of geographic-specific historical and issue-based case-studies Identify and explain links between the various case-studies used in the module Develop research and planning skills through the formulation of students’ own essay questions (assignment two).
Team work Team-work skills are an essential component of this module. Students will be required to work together during teaching sessions to prepare presentations; while much of the core learning students will do will come through sharing and debating their ideas with their peers.


This module is at CQFW Level 7