Constructing Asia: Governance, Institutions and Identity - Malaysia

This program for Undergraduate students offers a multidisciplinary study of the dynamics and complexities of contemporary Asia by focusing on the politics, culture and economics of the region. Using Higher Education Learning Philosophy (HELP) University in Malaysia as the point of engagement, students will gain from a historically grounded understanding of Asian societies and the social and economic change in a variety of institutional - local, regional and global - settings. This will be facilitated by local fieldtrips and workplace experience with established Malaysian companies, government agencies and cultural institutions.

To further enhance understanding of how Malaysia operates regionally, students will enjoy a three day sidetrip to one of Malaysia's neighbouring countries.

This program runs from 3 January to 9 February 2019.

Funding is available to support five students in 2019, with a grant of AUD $3,000 awarded to each successful applicant to put towards the $5,000 program fee. Flights are in addition to this and are payable by the student.

This short program is open to CASS students only.



Students who complete this course will get 6 units of credit toward their ANU degree. Some students will be awarded unspecified elective credit, which will appear on their transcripts as ARTS1900 or ARTS2900. Others, for whom this course will substitute for one of the courses listed in the rules of their degree, will get specified credit. If you wish to obtain approval for specified credit, you will need to apply before you leave for Malaysia. You will need to confirm these arrangements with the CASS Student Office.


Module content






Constructing Asia: Imagining Identities


Asian Governance: Economic & Business Models


States, Security & International Relations (Pt 1)


States, Security & International Relations (Pt 2)


Asian Contestations: China, Japan & India (Pt 1)


Asian Contestations: China, Japan & India (Pt 2)


Culture & Capitalism: The Chinese Family Business in a Global Era


Nationalism & Politics: Emergent Identities in the 21st Century


Rural Livelihoods in a Changing Climate


Middle Class Formation & the State in Southeast Asia


Contested Modernities in Indonesia & Malaysia


The Fifth Estate & Democratic Discourse in Malaysia


Legal Landscapes: Security & Privacy


Mode of delivery

  • Lectures ( 3 hours)
  • Tutorials (1.5 hours)
  • Duration of lectures & seminars (4 weeks)
  • 3 seminars on topical issues
  • 3 Field Trips to selected areas in Malaysia
  • Country Visit (Vietnam, 4 days/3 nights)
  • Placement with local institutions ( 4 days)


Seminar topics

  1. The South China Sea Conflict
  2. China in Asia: One Belt, One Road Only? 
  3. Contested Identity: Democracy and Change in Malaysia

(Subject to confirmation)



  1. I assignment (2500 words) - 40%
  2. Placement Report (1000 words) - 20%
  3. Reflective Report (2000 words) - 40 %


Local Field trips 

  1. Walking tour of Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur: Gentrification, heritage & navigating urban space
  2. Sekinchan, Selangor State: Rural Chinese & identity in Malaysia
  3. Malacca town: The commodification of heritage


The New Colombo Plan grant of AUD $3,000 will be paid to each successful applicant to then pay the associated fees and flights directly, with any out of pocket expense to be covered by the student.

The cost of the program is $5,000 AUD. This cost will include the following items:

  • Accommodation for the duration of the course
  • Tuition for the 4-credit hour course
  • 3 day-trips
  • 3 half-day seminars
  • Internship placement and costs
  • Airport transfer
  • EMGS and administrative fees

These items will be arranged and paid for by HELP University and students will be required to pay the $5,000 fee directly to HELP.

Flights are not included and will need to be booked and paid for by the successful applicants.


Eligibility and other requirements

  • Students applying for the grant must be Australian citizens.
  • Students must have completed at least one year of undergraduate study.
  • Passports must be valid for one year of travel.
  • A Visa is required - HELP University will help facilitate this process.
  • Vaccination - please consult the ANU Health Service.


Deadline for applications

Midnight 7 October 2018.


Further information and queries

Further information can be found on HELP University's website, noting that the fee costing will be different to the CASS packaged program.

Please find below a list of contacts to assist you direct queries appropriately: