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Unit of study_

ASNS1602: Asia: Past, Present, Future

Semester 1, 2021 [Normal day] - Remote

This unit looks at Asia's past, present and future in a global perspective. It makes use of the new approaches of world history and big history, and moves along large spatial and temporal scales. This unit prepares students to make sense of specific Asia-related subjects offered in more advanced units of study. In doing so, we will also examine some of the challenges Asia is facing today and think about Asia's place in our increasingly globalised world.

Unit details and rules

Unit code ASNS1602
Academic unit
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Lionel Babicz,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Essay
40% Formal exam period
Due date: 15 Jun 2021 at 23:59
2500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9
Assignment Tutorial writing task
Short Answer
30% Multiple weeks 1000 words (x1)
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Small test Test
Multiple Choice
30% Week 13
Due date: 03 Jun 2021 at 12:00
1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas. 

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.


For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction: Asia's cosmic address Lecture (1 hr)  
A history of everything Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 02 The Universe, the Earth and Asia Lecture (1 hr)  
Life, early humans and the peopling of Asia Lecture (1 hr)  
Tutorial W2 Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 03 Collective learning and paleolithic lifeways Lecture (1 hr)  
Agriculture and the early agrarian era Lecture (1 hr)  
Tutorial W3 Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 04 Cities, states and agrarian civilisations Lecture (1 hr)  
Agrarian civilisations: the Indus River valley and China's two river valleys Lecture (1 hr)  
Tutorial W4 Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 05 The expansion of Agrarian civilisations: the Chinese empire Lecture (1 hr)  
The emergence of Asian religions Lecture (1 hr)  
Tutorial W5 Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 06 Networks of exchange: the Silk Roads Lecture (1 hr)  
Empires, exploration and interconnection Lecture (1 hr)  
Tutorial W6 Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 07 The modern revolution Lecture (1 hr)  
Why not China? Lecture (1 hr)  
Tutorial W7 Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 08 Modern states, nationalism and imperialism Lecture (1 hr)  
Modern Japan: Nationalism and imperialism Lecture (1 hr)  
Tutorial W8 Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 09 Global crisis and conflicts Lecture (1 hr)  
The nuclear age Lecture (1 hr)  
Tutorial W9 Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 10 India: The end of Empire Lecture (1 hr)  
Capitalism, communism and revolutions Lecture (1 hr)  
Tutorial W10 Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 11 The Cold War Lecture (1 hr)  
The last seventy-five years Lecture (1 hr)  
Tutorial W11 Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 12 Our global world Lecture (1 hr)  
Growth and sustainability Lecture (1 hr)  
Tutorial W12 Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 13 The Anthropocene and the near future Lecture (1 hr)  
The remote future Lecture (1 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

The Semester 2 2020 iteration of this unit will be conducted online, via Zoom.

  • Attendance
    Students are expected to attend all the lectures and participate actively in all the tutorials
    , with cameras turned ON when possible.
    Students currently residing in a different time zone will need to plan accordingly, and contact the coordinator with any questions or concerns.

  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately THREE HOURS’ preparation time (readings and videos, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for EVERY hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

  • Asia: Past, Present, Future. McGraw-Hill, 2018.
    Custom eBook available for online purchase. Purchase instructions can be found on Canvas.
    You do not have to read the whole eBook, which is made of full chapters, but only part of it.
    Detailed reading instructions will be published on Canvas.
  • Other readings and videos will be made accessible through Web links and Library links on the unit’s Canvas site.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. explain how thresholds of increasing complexity, differing scales of time and space, and collective learning help us understand past, present, and future events in Asia as part of a larger narrative
  • LO2. integrate perspectives from multiple disciplines to evaluate the history of Asia as part of the history of the Earth and the Universe
  • LO3. define major features which shaped past and present Asia
  • LO4. describe the changing characteristics of Asian societies
  • LO5. analyse accelerating global change as reflected in Asia
  • LO6. identify important human and environmental issues that may affect the future of Asia
  • LO7. propose a vision of the future of Asia based on new understandings of the past
  • LO8. use key historical and scientific concepts and facts in constructing explanations
  • LO9. evaluate, analyse, and synthesise primary and secondary sources to form well-crafted written and oral arguments.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

The content of the Unit of Study is updated each year, and student feedback is taken into account.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.