Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)


Department: Government and International Affairs


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Not available in 2020/21 Module Cap None.
Tied to M9L007
Tied to M1K507
Tied to M9K607
Tied to L2T207
Tied to L2K407
Tied to L2K707
Tied to L2T109
Tied to T6K109


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To review understandings of the key political concepts of ethnicity, nation and identity in the context of East Asia, understood for the purposes of this module to include Vietnam.
  • To undertake critical case comparisons across the region using the key concepts covered in the module.
  • To gain insights into East Asia's complex power dynamics through case studies selected to illustrate intragroup and intergroup complexities, variations and tensions.
  • To examine the multi-layered processes in which identities are discursively constructed, contested and compete for power.
  • To explore visual representations of identity, ethnicity and nation as manifestations of power differentials and hierarchies of belonging.


  • 1. Identity and power
  • 2. Language and ethnicity
  • 3. Nation and state
  • 4. Visit to Oriental Museum and object handling session
  • 5. Exhibition analysis and essay workshop
  • 6. Uyghur
  • 7. Han
  • 8. Vietnam/Kinh
  • 9. Cham

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should have:-
  • A theoretically informed understanding of national and ethnic identities in East Aisa
  • A critical understanding of the interplay between minority ethnic and national identities
  • Knowledge of how linguistic and visual representations of ethnicity and nationality both reflect and impact on politics in the region
  • Familiarity with critical studies of nationalism and ethnicity as constructed categories
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should be able to demonstrate:
  • The ability to apply the key political concepts studied to a range of East Asian cases
  • The analytical skills to compare national and ethnic identities across East Asia
  • The critical skills to analyse ethnic and national identities in terms of power relationships
  • The ability to critically evaluate representations of ethnic and national communities, including visual media and museum displays
Key Skills:
  • Independent learning within a defined framework at an advanced level.
  • Demostrate the ability to use a wide variety of sources, including interdisciplinary sources, museum displays, artefacts and visuasl sources.
  • Demonstrate independent thought in evaluating past and current scholarship in the subject area.
  • The ability to complete written work within specified deadlines
  • Advances essay writing skills

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching and learning are through a series of two-hour seminars, to include some lecture content. Short lectures will provide a framework for the seminars, offering context and identifying key conceptual distinctions and controversies. The seminars will allow students to apply concepts to a range of cases and evaluate them critically, with reference to ethnicity and national identity as constructed categories.
  • The teaching is directly related to and derived from the module convenors' research interests, including a 2016-18 EHRC/AHRC-funded project on representations of the Cham in Vietnam and China.
  • This approach requires students to deploy research skills in preparation for seminars, to be able to analyse complex conceptual and theoretical issues using interdisciplinary sources, and to evaluate these from a comparative perspective.
  • Summative assessment is by a presentation in the second half of the module and an essay submitted at the beginning of the term following the module. Students wil be encouraged to discuss and begin preparing their presentations during class in sessions 4 and 5. The essay will require students to research, prepare and write highly analytical assessments that display a knowledge of theoretical issues and an ability to relate these to specific cases. A formative essay will be submitted at the end of the module to prepare students for the summative.
  • Students will select their own summative essay topics in consultation with the module tutors. An essay workshop in session 5 will support students in formulating an appropriate essay topic and will use the assessment criteria as a basis to provide detailed input around essay techbniques and expected standards.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 9 Weekly 2 hours 18
One-to-one feedback sessions 1 towards the end of term 2 hours 2
Preparation and Reading 130
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Presentation Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Analysis of museum display or exhibition (real or virtual) 15 minutes 100%
Component: Essay Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 4,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

One 1,500 word essay from a list of questions designed to prepare for the summative essay. One-to-one feedback will be offered.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University