With four great powers – China, Japan, Russia and the extraterritorial United States, four nuclear weapons states, three of the world’s largest economies and the largest concentration of divided polities, Northeast Asia is one of the most dynamic yet volatile regions in world politics. During the Cold War, Northeast Asia was the site of intense competition and conflict between the superpowers and among the states in the region. In the post-Cold War era, the region has been an engine of the global economy while undergoing a major shift in the balance of power whose trajectory and outcome remain uncertain. This course examines a broad range of issues in Northeast Asia from the perspectives of competing paradigms international relations (IR) theory. It explores the advantages and limits of these paradigms in seeking a greater understanding of the region.