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Unit Overview


This unit provides an introduction to the study of Asia which is of benefit to students undertaking any degree program and to provide students taking Asian language studies and higher level Asian Studies units/major with a firm foundation of knowledge necessary for higher level studies of the Asian region. These objectives are achieved by having students examine the foundations and traditions of modern societies in Asia and by exploring themes and issues such as traditional social and economic structures as well as traditional systems of belief and philosophy. A further and important academic objective is to address the discipline's evolution and place in academia as part of the discussion of how Asia is given meaning as a field of academic study. Students are equipped to describe and evaluate the various meanings and representations of Asia and critique the way in which Asia as an 'entity' and idea has been 'constructed' both internally and externally. Students who take this as a broadening unit are equipped with a higher level of cultural competence and global awareness. Central themes of the unit highlight the interconnected yet culturally diverse nature of the world in which we live.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Asian Studies major sequence
  • Level 1 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate a basic knowledge of the way in which Asia has been approached as an area of study and how the traditions and diversity of the region have been interpreted in contemporary debates, discourses and theory, around for example, peasant society, ethnicity and religion; (2) demonstrate a basic knowledge of the complexities of sociocultural, economic and political transformation in Asia over the past two centuries so they are able to explain how traditional identities based on family, work, religion, ethnicity and gender continue to help shape and define societies in postcolonial Asia; (3) explain in nuanced and tangible ways traditional differences, similarities and interactions among Asian cultures and societies and how these have influenced modern Asian countries as they grapple with the diverse forces of globalisation; (4) use arguments in both oral and written forms which demonstrate a basic understanding and appropriate use of theoretical ideas and literature relevant to discussing traditional societies in Asian Studies; (5) demonstrate an ability to use appropriate academic source materials and conventions (such as academic referencing and appropriate source materials); and (6) develop basic cross-cultural understandings founded on greater awareness of the diversity and complexity of the Asian region's traditions and societies, and be able to discuss and write about these coherently and logically.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial participation; (2) written assignments; and (3) an examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Stephen Dobbs
Unit rules
ASIA1101 Exploring Asian Identities
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
tutorials: 1 hour per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.