PSCI 346: Riots, Ballots, and Rice: Comparative Asian Politics
This course will explore the explosive changes rocking Asia today, with an eye to the politics that shape and are shaped by them. Headlines today in China, Japan and India point to violations of human rights, democratic elections, and riots and movements against land grabs, corruption, and pollution, along with phenomenal economic development and a widening gap between rich and poor. China and India are growing into new regional and perhaps global powers, while Japan is struggling with complex economic problems. Fifty years ago, all three countries needed to overcome devastating poverty. How did their leaders respond to the challenges of development (securing nation-hood, legitimizing the state, industrializing, feeding/educating/employing citizens) in the 20th century? Why are the citizens today organizing and protesting – over poverty, pollution, inequality, gender, or political and civil rights? Are current governments able to respond to current crises? We will compare these changes and challenges in order to draw larger lessons about the processes of social and political change in a particularly vital and important region of the world.