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MAAPPS Thematic Streams

The thematic streams provide some guidance as to areas that students' coursework might cluster around. These themes neither exhaust the offerings of courses in the Institute nor the range of policy areas that students have been interested in in the past.

Incoming students chose two modules of IAR 500. It places no further restrictions or requirements on course selection.

Economic and Social Change: Economic changes in Asia over the past thirty years have been dramatic. Equally important is on-going social change. An understanding of the interplay between economic and social change is essential to developing policy responses that further sustainable development. This stream clusters around knowledge of and analytical skills on the interplay of economic and social conditions.

Security: A defining aspect of the international relations of Asia has been a security order that is increasingly complex and contested. In a post-Cold War setting, its architecture and institutional foundation changed substantially on a regional, national and sub-national basis. The security stream in the MAPPS program encourages research and analysis centrered on three different aspects of the regional security order: national security, with a focus on great power strategic interactions; cooperative and comprehensive security, with a focus on multilateral institution building at both governmental and non-governmental levels; and human security, with a focus on a range of threats including physical violence in situations of armed conflict and a variety of "non-traditional" security issues including environmental degradation, communicable disease, migration, trans-national crime, terrorism, etc.

Gender and Development: The impact on gender stemming from the Asian development experience of the past several decades are widely recognized, albeit relatively recently. Policy makers working on issues related to Asia should be equipped with an understanding of women's issues related to development. This stream is intended to provide students with knowledge and analytical skills on issues concerning gender in the context of social, economic and political change. Among the issues to be considered are (i) changing status of gender in the political, social, and economic arenas; (ii) effects of gender in the economy; (iii) gender and globalization; (iv) gender and democracy and (v) gender in politics.

Governance and Human Rights: The interaction of governance and human rights is expressed most directly in the international treaty regime which imposes on governments the duty to protect human rights. But there are often tensions between governmental imperatives, which are often portrayed in terms of economic growth, sustenance, and satisfying basic human needs, and the multitude of human rights requirements ranging from civil and political to economic, social and cultural rights. Policy makers need understanding of the interrelationships among these factors, and no policy program on Asia would be complete without addressing governance and human rights issues. This stream is intended to provide students with knowledge and analytical skills on issues of governance and human rights. Among the issues to be considered are (i) role of political institutions and processes in governance and human rights; (ii) interplay of universal and particularist norms of governance and human rights; and (iii) interplay of normative systems, ideology, and governance/human rights practices.

Infrastructure Policy: Infrastructure remains a key development policy issue for all economies in Asia. The Infrastructure stream provides graduate students with opportunities to examine policy issues related to public and private infrastructure investment in Asia, with particular attention to transportation, communications, and power generation. Among the policy issues addressed through this Thematic Stream are (a) implications of varying perspectives of investors, operators, sponsors and local society; (b) regulation and transparency; (c) financing; (d) operations and management; and (e) dispute prevention and dispute settlement.

Media Representations of Asia: Culture, Religion, Nation (MEDIA): For the 6-week module in the MAAPPS Media stream, “Media Representations of Asia: Culture, Religion, Nation," students produce a blog. A blog, itself a new medium, is a fitting way for students to engage in a course on media. Together with the instructor, students post analysis of, and links to, new and traditional media, alongside course readings and critical commentary. Selection and analysis of media is crucial: whether it is a content-analysis of Chinese new microblogging, describing the political-economy of mainstream English media, or tracking representations of religious and ethnic violence.

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