ASIA2087 Peace building in the Pacific and Asia

Course convenor - Paul D’Arcy

This course presents students with an in-depth understanding of the theory and practice of conflict management and resolution. Through detailed analysis of case studies of both successful and failed peace processes in the Pacific and Asia, students will become acquainted with the major practical and conceptual challenges to achieving sustainable peace in intrastate conflicts. The course will draw on cases such as Bougainville, Solomon Islands, Aceh, East Timor and Mindanao. Drawing on insights from a range of disciplines and from the experiences of practitioners, students will learn about the challenges presented by various approaches to resolving entrenched and protracted conflicts. This course is part of the new undergraduate program in peace, conflict and war.

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ASIA2093 Natural Resource Conflicts in Asia and the Pacific

Course convenor - Paul D’Arcy

Violent conflicts over natural resources are an enduring feature of social and political life at different scales and levels of organisation. The inter-state and geopolitical dimensions of conflicts over resources such as oil and water loom large in the popular imaginary. However, resource conflicts in the global South are predominantly fought internally, within the boundaries of the nation-state. Indeed, according to the United Nations, at least 40 percent of internal conflicts globally are related to natural resources. It is these sorts of conflicts that are the focus of this course.

A striking conundrum lies at the heart of the inquiry: rather than contributing to peace and prosperity, empirical research demonstrates that natural resource wealth increases the likelihood that a country will experience internal armed conflict. How and why is this the case? What about the role of resource scarcity as driver of violent conflict in developing-country contexts? What sort of policy responses and interventions are available? How might natural resource wealth contribute to peace rather than to conflict? What is the role of political and economic contestation in these struggles over land and natural resources?

The course will be structured around a series of case studies drawn from Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. A political ecology framework will be applied to the analysis of how land and different types of resource complexes - including mining, oil and gas, forestry, and oil palm - can be implicated in violent conflict. Alongside these case studies, students will undertake their own analysis of a natural resource conflict in which they will be attentive to the role of different actors - especially the state, communities and corporations - and to questions of scale, power and identity.

The course will have a very strong research-led approach to teaching and learning. In addition to core expertise housed in SSGM, it draws upon expertise from other parts of the Coral Bell School and the Crawford School. In addition to the involvement of some of these scholars in class room teaching, the assessment for the course will enable students to engage with them in innovative ways.

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ASIA2097 Global Learning

Course convenors - Nicole Haley & Roannie Ng Shiu

This course provides an opportunity for students to participate in a range of different learning abroad opportunities offered by the Bell School each year. Opportunities may include faculty-led study tours, as well as programs delivered by partner institutions.

Information on each topic offered within this shell course will be outlined in the ‘Other Information’ section, including the topics offered, and information on the unit value, convener, academic session and indicative workload. All of the topics offered through this shell course will be made available through a competitive selection process.

Students participating in this course will receive funding support through the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific Engage Asia Travel Guarantee.

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PASI1011 Pacific Encounters: An introduction to Pacific Studies

Course convenors - Roannie Ng Shiu & Rochelle Bailey

Pacific encounters provides an introduction into the debates about theory and practice that shape how we conceptualise and think about the Pacific region and its peoples. The course is built around three learning modules - the past, present and future. In the past we come to understand the voyages that brought people to the region and the stories they tell about their journeys. We investigate colonisation, the impact it had and still has on the region, and the different ways it can be understood. In the recent present we examine the new voyages that Pacific people have taken into places like Australia, New Zealand and the United States. In doing so we look at how people move within and between these new boundaries and how Pacific cultures and identities have evolved over time and place. Finally, we bring all of these themes together by examining how the past and the present can help us imagine the future.

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PASI2003 Environment and Development in the Pacific

Course convenor - Siobhan McDonnell

This course examines the contemporary relationships between environment, development and conflict in the cultural area known as ‘Melanesia’, with a particular focus on the independent nations of PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Using the disciplinary lenses of geography, anthropology and, to a lesser extent, political science, the course leads students to a much greater understanding of some of the pressing issues impacting on our near neighbours. Teaching and learning in this course are partly organized around three case studies in which groups of students take the lead in directing the inquiry. The broad topics of the case studies are land and development, conflict, and Australia’s engagements with Melanesia.

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PASI2006 War in the Islands: The Second World War in the Pacific

Course convenor - Vicki Luker

The extension of World War II to the Pacific Theatre in 1942 signalled a new era in the technology of war and profoundly shaped the modern history of the Asia Pacific region. This course is the first in the world to combine Allied, Japanese and Pacific Islander understandings of the Pacific War with particular attention to the South West Pacific. It complements the existing emphasis on the perspective from the United States and is distinctive in making ‘space’ for Islander experiences. Attention is divided equally between a narrative history of the events of conflict, and a multi-thematic consideration of the consequences and implications of World War II in the Islands. These legacies are addressed through issues as diverse as military technology and strategy, health and environment, Pacific Island lives and post-war political developments in the region. The course offers a fresh approach to a watershed in regional history, and should appeal to students in History, Peace and Conflict Studies, Pacific Studies, Asian Studies, Development Studies and International Relations.

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PASI3001 The Contemporary Pacific: Society, Politics and Development .

Course convenors - Kerryn Baker & Roannie Ng Shiu

The South Pacific is a region of diverse and complex island states. Its post-colonial history has been characterized by both stability and turbulence at national, regional and local levels. Pacific leaders have recently taken stock of the situation, affirmed their commitment to maintain and strengthen cultural identities, and endorsed improved regional co-operation as a means toward effective governance, security and development.

Australia’s policy towards the countries of the South Pacific, long supportive of their independence and economic development, has moved to a more interventionist approach in light of recent conflict in Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and elsewhere. This course aims to enhance understanding of the challenges and prospects facing the contemporary Pacific Islands region. It particularly engages Pacific Island cultural approaches to the current challenges. It is designed for later year undergraduates, graduate students, development practitioners and policy-makers alike. Through a series of short lectures and student-centered seminars the course examines the following topics and issues:

  • Peoples and cultures of Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia (focus on social organization, gender and power)
  • Historical roots of the contemporary Pacific
  • Conflict, corruption and democracy
  • Urbanization, labour mobility and migration
  • Case studies on Fiji, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands
  • Regionalism and the interests of external powers
  • Cultural policy, popular culture, the arts and human development
  • Globalization and the environment (including climate change)
  • Pacific Futures

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POLS2055 Pacific Politics

Course convenors - Stewart Firth & Kerryn Baker

The success of politics and political systems in the Pacific Islands is measured by their capacity to deliver development in poor states. We explore this dynamic by looking at the politics of development and the development of politics. In the first half we examine the politics of development, with reference to the impact of colonialism, decolonisation and secessionism; the place of the Island countries in international politics, especially in relation to the rise of China in the Pacific and the response of the USA; the political impact of official development assistance; and tensions between ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ modes of governance. In the second half we investigate the development of politics, including attempts to engineer development outcomes via constitutions and electoral systems; intervention in Island countries by outside powers such as Australia; the phenomenon of state-building, particularly in ethnically divided societies; and women’s representation in politics.

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STST2003 Australia and Security in the Pacific Islands

Course convenors - Sinclair Dinnen & Meg Keen

In 1999 SDSC’s Emeritus Professor Paul Dibb coined the term ‘arc of instability’ to describe the island chain to the north of Australia, ranging from Indonesia through the Pacific islands to New Zealand. Although this idea is contested, the Australian government consistently identifies this arc as the region from or through which a security threat to Australia could most easily be posed. As a result, Australia is engaged in extensive efforts to support stability and security in this region, which is the site of the majority of Australia’s military deployments, policing operations and development expenditure. This course critically analyses the security challenges facing this arc, and the efforts Australia is taking to secure the region. These efforts include transnational crime and counterterrorism cooperation, natural disaster response, intervention and stabilisation, criminal justice assistance, governance capacity-building and development assistance. It considers the implications of the whole-of-government approach taken by the government, which draws upon the Australian Defence Force, Australian Federal Police, DFAT and other agencies. It evaluates the interaction between Australian and local security responses, and the success of efforts to achieve mutually-beneficial partnerships between them. It also assesses the outlook over the next decade for security in this strategically important region.

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