SUM4032 – Development and Sustainability in Contemporary Asia: Connections, Contradictions and Change

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Course content


The resurgence of Asia represents the most significant global shift in the capitalist world economy during the past 50 years. China and India are now consolidating their positions as global powers, "disrupting" the global economic and political order once dominated by the West. At the same time, a number of other Asian countries are experiencing rapid economic growth and emerging as important players in regional and global markets, politics and foreign aid. Yet the Asian development success stories are marred by contradictions, with high-consuming middle classes rapidly expanding alongside persistent and growing socio-economic inequalities, dislocations and environmental degradation. New connections within Asia, and between Asian countries and other regions, represent economic growth and technological upgrading, but also the cementation of new hierarchies and dependencies. Understanding development in contemporary Asia is therefore increasingly crucial to our broader understanding of global capitalism.

This course interrogates development processes in contemporary Asia, examining the interplay between global political-economic and environmental forces; state policies; and the politics and practices of everyday life.

Learning outcome

  • Thorough knowledge of contemporary Asian development and its global ramifications
  • The ability to employ relevant theories to analyze new spatial connections across scales in Asia and beyond
  • In-depth understanding of some of the contradictions of capitalist development through analyzing global trends combined with case studies from select Asian countries


You may apply to be a guest student at SUM. Please follow these instructions.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

A bachelor’s degree. 

Recommended previous knowledge

Specialization equivalent to at least 80 ECTS within subjects from the humanities or social sciences, sustainable development, or equivalent relevant subjects. 


Students are expected to actively take part in all the lectures and seminars. 


3 days home exam.

2021: Assessment guide

2020: Assessment guide 

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language