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GEOG473 Contemporary Geographies of Southeast Asia

The study of contemporary socio-economic and environmental transformations in Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asia is often considered a regional success story within global discourses of development. However, beneath this bright exterior Southeast Asia is beset by a host of developmental challenges, many of which relate to concepts of equality, sustainability and justice. Within countries the benefits of development are often distributed extremely unequally, with urban-based elites frequently benefiting at the expense of both the rural and urban poor. Similarly, ecosystems, environmental resources, and indigenous peoples are under pressure as domestic and multinational companies increase the capacity of states to explore, exploit, and expand. To understand the complexity of these issues, this paper focuses on the Mekong region and specifically on how its vast water resources are contested between and within countries of the region. The ultimate aim is to develop your critical understanding of the forces shaping Southeast Asian society and, in the process, consider power and agency in your own lives.

Paper title Contemporary Geographies of Southeast Asia
Paper code GEOG473
Subject Geography
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,307.76
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,517.77

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Teaching staff

Course Instructor: Dr Doug Hill

Paper Structure

The paper is based around a one 1:50 minute seminar session per week. The sessions will alternate in style but will usually follow an informed discussion-style format. Students will be expected to undertake research and/or readings each week before the sessions and contribute their perspectives within class. Self-directed research for the assessment exercises will need to be conducted outside class time.

This paper is 100% internally assessed

There is no set textbook for this paper. Instead, there is a course reader that contains recommended readings for each week. A range of other resources will also be utilised throughout the paper.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global Perspective, Communication, Critical Thinking, Ethics, Environmental Literacy, Information Literacy, Research, Self-Motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
The goals of this paper are
  • To introduce contemporary debates about societies, economies, natural resources and human/nature relationships within the Southeast Asian context
  • To explore the role and impact of a variety of development institutions within Southeast Asia, with a particular emphasis on the Mekong region
  • To develop communication, research and writing skills
Students who successfully complete the paper will
  • Be familiar with Southeast Asia and have specialist knowledge of a particular country
  • Have an understanding of the complexities of development issues within Southeast Asia

This paper is available to students at or above 400 (i.e. graduate) level

Please contact Dr Doug Hill for information on the recommended background for this paper

Teaching Arrangements

One 1:50-minute seminar per week

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Thursday 14:00-15:50 9-16, 18-22