SA.552.100.  Asia in International Finance.  4 Credits.  

Examines the evolution of the financial systems of Japan and China from 1980 to the present, including structure, regulation, and functioning of these markets in domestic, regional and international contexts. National context includes an in depth review of the structure and operation of the financial markets of Japan and China, including: the key participants, the governmental and regulatory institutions that supervise them, various financial crises in each country with a focus on causes and solutions, reforms over time with a particular focus on liberalization of the financial system and related issues such as corporate governance and legal and accounting issues, the fiscal/monetary processes and policies in each country that affect the financial system, and the historical, political and social factors that affect institutions and policy. Regional context includes the Asian Financial Crisis, the structural causes, the roles of Japan and China, the IMF response and the various proposals to create regional solutions to future crises; roles of regional financial institutions (ADB, AIIB); China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the degree/desirability of financial integration in Asia. The international perspective focuses on the geopolitical/geo-economic implications of the structure and regulation of financial markets. Current events/topics in finance relevant to the course are covered and students are encouraged to propose such topics for discussion. Taught by a SAIS alumnus with 30 years of investment banking and private equity experience in Asia and the US. Students wishing to take the class but lacking the prerequisites should email Professor Talarico at for permission to enroll.

Prerequisite(s): Students may not register for this class if they have already received credit for SA.755.720[C];SA.100.304[C] AND ( ( SA.380.760[C] OR SA.510.102[C] OR SA.380.722[C] OR SA.510.108[C] ) OR ( SA.380.722[C] OR SA.510.108[C] ) )

SA.552.101.  Asian Energy Security.  4 Credits.  

This course surveys the distinctive character of Asian energy security requirements – how they are changing over time, what political-economic forces are driving their transformations, and what those requirements imply for broader economic and political-military relationships between Asia and the world. It gives special attention to Asia’s energy dependence on the Middle East and the extent to which Russia and alternative sources, including nuclear power, provide a feasible and acceptable alternative. Cross-national comparisons among the energy security policies of China, India, Japan, Korea, and Western paradigms are used to explore distinctive features of Asian approaches to energy security.

Prerequisite(s): Students may not register for this class if they have already received credit for SA.755.710[C]

SA.552.102.  Demystifying Indonesia: The Political Economy of an Important Southeast Asian State.  4 Credits.  

This course examines the dynamics of power, business, politics and economic growth in Indonesia. The course begins with a review of modern Indonesian history, its political, social and economic development, and the multiple crises that have brought chaos and opportunity to the world’s most populous Muslim state. It examines contemporary Indonesian politics and Indonesia’s complex relationships with global capital markets, international financial institutions and donors.

Prerequisite(s): Students may not register for this class if they have already received credit for SA.770.611[C]

SA.552.103.  History of Modern Southeast Asia.  4 Credits.  

This course introduces students to the history of Modern Southeast Asia as a region and to each country as a distinct polity. It will emphasize the transregional and transnational connections between Southeast Asia and the rest of the world conducted along economic, religious, imperial, ideological, technological, epidemiological, and diplomatic lines. The course is divided into thematic and chronological sections. These sections include: Colonial Southeast Asia; Early Modern Southeast Asia; Imperialism and Colonial Subjectivity; Nationalism, Decolonization, and the Cold War and Contemporary Issues in Southeast Asia. While readings are designed to give historical depth to each polity, lectures/discussions will be broad, over-arching and thematic. This course will provide a firm foundation in understanding the historical, socio-political and economic transformation of modern Southeast Asian countries from colonies (or semi-colonies) to their contemporary contexts.

Prerequisite(s): Students may not register for this class if they have already received credit for SA.770.755[C]

SA.552.104.  India's Challenges and the Future of a Sixth of Humanity.  4 Credits.  

Since its independence, India has been the world’s largest democracy and second largest country, but an extremely poor country as well. However, in a few years India will emerge as the world’s largest country with a sixth of the world’s population and in a decade it is poised to emerge as the third largest economy riding on the back of nearly four decades of strong economic growth. But India faces many challenges. While some are endemic, others are growing. Many of these – political, economic and institutional – are internal and are shaped by India’s multiple social cleavages. Others are more external, stemming from the geopolitics of its neighborhood or the long-term challenges of climate change. The seminar will examine the principal challenges facing India: political and institutional; economic growth; poverty and inequality; demographic; urbanization; natural resources and climate change; and geopolitical.

Prerequisite(s): Students may not register for this class if they have already received credit for SA.790.727[C]

SA.552.105.  International Relations of Southeast Asia.  4 Credits.  

Considers the contemporary foreign policies and international relations challenges of major countries in Southeast Asia. Surveys key regional issues: evolution of ASEAN; security arrangements; trade conflicts and territorial disputes; the role of China, Japan and the United States; regional integration; transnational issues; and terrorism. Limited to 20 students.<a href="" target="_blank">Click here to see a video introduction for the course.</a>

Prerequisite(s): Students may not register for this class if they have already received credit for SA.770.712[C]

SA.552.106.  Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy.  4 Credits.  

An introduction to modern Japanese politics and public policy, considering prospects for major changes in security and economic policy of global importance. After a general introduction to Japanese political development since 1868, undertakes more detailed analysis of current political structure and processes as well as of domestic and foreign policy issues. Emphasizes understanding how domestic and international politics influence the functioning of the Japanese economy, especially in the current historic period of political economic change.

Prerequisite(s): Students may not register for this class if they have already received credit for SA.760.741[C]

SA.552.107.  Maritime Security in Indo-Pacific.  4 Credits.  

This course will explore maritime issues in Asia, focusing on the maritime interests and maritime strategies of a number of countries, including China, Japan, Australia, the United States, India, Vietnam, and the Philippines, among others. It will begin with an overview of maritime issues in Asia and explore evolving views on maritime interests in several countries and the development of maritime strategies and capabilities intended to address those interests. The course will also include an assessment of different countries' approaches to the security, economic, diplomatic and legal aspects of maritime disputes. The course will cover maritime territorial disputes in the East China Sea, where China claims the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, which are administered by Japan, and in the South China Sea, where China’s claims conflict with those of a number of rivals. This will include assessments of the key actors involved. With respect to China, for example, the key actors include China’s navy, coast guard, and maritime militia as well as select state-owned enterprises. The course will also consider Taiwan’s role in the maritime disputes. In addition, it will explore other maritime issues of importance to countries in Asia, such as anti-piracy operations, fisheries issues, and energy security concerns.

Prerequisite(s): Students may not register for this class if they have already received credit for SA.755.732[C]

SA.552.108.  North Korea: Policymaking Primer.  4 Credits.  

This course examines critical issues facing policymakers in and around North Korea and has three purposes. The first is to provide students with a better understanding of the place and role of North Korea in the international system, its people and elites, institutions and ideas, to analyze DPRK’s relations with four great powers, focusing on nuclear politics and humanitarian concerns, as well as to give students a better grasp of various actors, their goals and motivations, policy issues and stakes, and policymaking processes in North Korea. In addition, students will explore the dynamics of the inter-Korean relations and consider the problems of nation-building, politics of competitive legitimation, and the question of Korean unification. The second purpose is for students to develop critical thinking and analytical tradecraft skills so that they can produce high quality analytical products for various types of consumers, using open source data and structured analytical techniques. The third purpose is for students to learn and practice the leadership skills required for domestic interagency coordination, multinational coalition-building, and international bargaining, which are part and parcel of any crisis management and resolution process on the Korean peninsula.

Prerequisite(s): Students may not register for this class if they have already received credit for SA.765.744[C]

SA.552.109.  Nuclear Proliferation in Asia: Politics and History.  4 Credits.  

The course is structured around the background, theory, and application of nuclear politics and history in East Asia. In the first portion of the course students learn about the development of nuclear weapons programs during the Second World War and the Cold War and the differences in proliferation and non-proliferation strategies among early proliferators (e.g. the United States and the Soviet Union). During this portion of the course, students will examine important incidents and policy decisions that shaped nuclear proliferation in world politics. In the second portion of the course, students will learn broader theoretical concepts in International Relations scholarship such as brinkmanship diplomacy, deterrence theory, and alliance security dilemma, and apply them to the study of cases of proliferation, attempted proliferation, and nuclear latency in East Asian countries, including China, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Australia in order to understand the variance in nuclear exploration, pursuit, and acquisition. The course draws upon canonical texts in the nuclear politics and history literature, and also incorporates recent policy analysis. This course relies on declassified archival documents to illustrate the history and theories addressed in the class, thus fostering a breadth of knowledge on different nuclear weapons cases. While we analyze these cases, I encourage students to engage with primary source documents as well as to think critically and evaluate the arguments put forward by historians and political scientists on nuclear proliferation and non-proliferation.

Prerequisite(s): Students may not register for this class if they have already received credit for SA.755.738[C]

SA.552.110.  Political Economy and Development Strategies in East Asia.  4 Credits.  

This course examines and compares development strategies in East Asia. The course begins with a section investigating the individual cases of China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore, with emphasis given to government-business relations, institutions, and policies that influence their development strategies. The second section engages students in a cross-regional perspective by comparing these cases, with special attention to why certain development strategies work in some political and economic contexts but not others. The third section examines how globalization influences development strategies and the distinctive roles of these East Asian economies in global production. It also discusses the roles of international organizations and networks of trade and investment. The course aims to facilitate understanding of the development policies in East Asia both in terms of specific contexts and in a comparative perspective.

Prerequisite(s): Students may not register for this class if they have already received credit for SA.755.722[C]

SA.552.111.  Political History of North and South Korea.  4 Credits.  

This course gives an historically informed overview of politics and society in the Republic of Korea (ROK or South Korea) and The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea), focusing on profiles in political leadership, the development of political institutions, and societal change. It considers the legacies of colonial regimentation, Cold War militarism, and national division on domestic politics. Specific topics include authoritarianism, democratic transition and consolidation, civil society, government-led industrialization, and debates on Korean unification.

Prerequisite(s): Students may not register for this class if they have already received credit for SA.765.704[C]

SA.552.112.  Security Challenges & Military Modernization in South Asia.  4 Credits.  

South Asia is home to two of the world’s largest militaries, the world’s leading arms importer, several major ethnic, religious, and nationalist insurgencies, an array of sophisticated terrorist groups, and two nuclear-armed powers that engage in frequent border skirmishes. This course takes a systematic and in-depth look at how states manage security challenges in this complex region. Topics include analysis of foreign policy decision-making processes and civil-military dynamics; the rise (and export) of Islamic extremism; comparative perspectives on counterinsurgency campaigns undertaken by India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka; India’s efforts at military modernization and preparations for China-related contingencies; and the ways in which evolving strategic capabilities and doctrines might affect the risk of nuclear escalation. This course includes a practical focus on policy writing.

Prerequisite(s): Students may not register for this class if they have already received credit for SA.790.728[C]

SA.552.113.  The U.S., Japan, and Great Power Competition in Southeast Asia.  4 Credits.  

Chinese influence in Southeast Asia poses critical challenges to the U.S.-Japan alliance in an age of great power competition. We will explore those challenges and how the US and Japan are responding through the lenses of geopolitics, geoeconomics, grand strategy, and the arts of statecraft. We will bring these lenses to bear on the questions: “Why is Southeast Asia so important to the region’s great powers?” “How are the U.S. and Japan competing with China in Southeast Asia?” and “Is a regional order that imposes restraint on competing great powers possible?”

Prerequisite(s): Students may not register for this class if they have already received credit for SA.760.709[C]

SA.552.114.  U.S. Security Policy in the Indo-Pacific.  4 Credits.  

Nowhere does the United States face greater long-term security and defense challenges than in Asia. This course, combining a thematic approach with weekly case studies, provides a rigorous examination of key security issues across the Indo-Pacific — from Pakistan to Japan — and their implications for U.S. interests and policy planning. Topics include the evolving Asian security order; defense challenges posed by the rise of China; trends in conventional military modernization; implications of the Sino-Indian rivalry on regional stability; emerging dynamics in Asian nuclear deterrence; and trends in security competition in the maritime, space and cyber domains. This course includes a practical focus on policy writing.

Prerequisite(s): Students may not register for this class if they have already received credit for SA.755.729[C]

SA.552.115.  US-Japan Relations in Global Context.  4 Credits.  

Examines the evolution of the U.S.-Japan strategic relationship in a changing global and regional geopolitical environment. Gives special attention to the U.S.-Japan alliance and relations with China and the Korean Peninsula. Involves substantial direct dialogue with policymakers, analysts and business leaders, both American and Japanese. The class includes extensive travel study, and students are expected to write a policy-oriented research paper on economic, political, technological or security issues in U.S.-Japan relations, the best of which are published by the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies in both the English and Japanese languages. Students should have basic knowledge of Japanese diplomacy before taking this course. Taking Japanese Pol & Pub Policy SA.760.741 OR Intro to Japanese Economy SA.760.702 is highly recommended. This course will serve as a capstone course for all Japan studies concentrators and may count as a capstone for students in other concentrations, with approval from the CCEL office showing relevance to a student’s course of study and concentration.IMPORTANT: There is limited space available for the associated field trip. All students may register for this class. Those who wish to attend the field trip must submit your cover letter to for consideration.<a href="" target="_blank">Click here to see a video introduction for the course.</a>

Prerequisite(s): Students may not register for this class if they have already received credit for SA.760.749[C];( SA.552.106[C] OR SA.760.741[C] ) OR SA.760.702[C]

SA.552.116.  Technology and Security in Asia: India.  4 Credits.  

This study trip capstone course explores policy challenges that sit at the intersection of technology and security issues in Asia. This academic year, the course will focus on India. During the fall term, students will study theoretical and foundational texts on technology and security; will divide into two groups to select complementary policy research questions; and will plan the trip itinerary and interviews. The provisional topical areas for research are data privacy, security, and localization; and India’s investments in AI/ML technologies. Students will travel to India in January 2023. Following the trip, students will complete their group research projects and present their findings at a public event. This course includes practical instruction on writing, interviewing, and public speaking skills. Open to second year MAIR students. <a href=",-Professional-Skills-Courses.aspx" target="_blank">Click here for Capstone course application information</a>

SA.552.117.  The Korean Economy: Sustaining Convergence to the Highest-Income Countries.  4 Credits.  

The course will analyze Korea’s transformation from one of the poorest countries in the world in the 1950s to the 10th largest economy today. However, Korea faces serious challenges to continue its convergence to the highest-income countries. The course will focus on the challenges posed by Korea’s rapid population aging and the associated fiscal pressures, its polarized economy (large companies versus small and medium-sized enterprises, manufacturing versus services, regular workers versus non-regular workers and men versus women), its dependence on energy-intensive industries and coal, and North Korea.

SA.552.118.  Global Korea: Understanding Contemporary Issues.  4 Credits.  

This course examines pressing geopolitical and economic issues confronting South Korea, which have immense implications not just for its own national security but also for regional and global security. The course consists of two parts: 1) traditional and emerging security issues related to the Korean Peninsula, and 2) Korea’s economic security and other global issues. The first part is designed to understand North Korea in terms of its regime and nuclear capabilities as well as its implications for regional and global security. The first part also examines other pressing security and defense issues such as the Taiwan Strait and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with a focus on the role of South Korea and the policy implications for South Korea. It will also survey emerging multilateral frameworks, including the Quad and AUKUS, to discuss Korea’s potential role and contributions to regional and global multilateralism. Also discussed will be the future trajectory of the US-ROK alliance. The second part of the course assesses how South Korea’s economy fits with the changing economic architecture of the Indo-Pacific and across the globe. The topics include global supply chains of critical technologies, climate change and clean energy, infrastructure development and connectivity, digital commerce and trade, the pandemic and public health, and the “soft power” of the Korean wave (hanryu). After an overview of these topics, the course will assess how the US-ROK alliance and economic partnership affects the region and the world’s economic security. The course aims to provide students with the information necessary to understand contemporary issues for South Korea and to understand how those issues relate to the evolving concept of the US-ROK alliance and economic partnership, as well as how South Korea can position itself as a global leader.

SA.552.119.  Korea Study Trip.  4 Credits.