Paul O'Shea

Associate Senior Lecturer

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Political Science
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Keywords

  • International relations, Japanese studies, Asian studies, Politics, Social science

Research

My research focuses on the international relations of East Asia, in particular Japan and its relations with China and the United States. I have published articles and chapters on a variety of topics including regional territorial disputes, military bases, and US influence on Japanese policy-making. I am also interested in how international politics affects everyday life in a range of ways, from food consumption to the environment as well as rural policy and immigration. These interests led to the publication of a co-authored monograph, Regional Risk and Security in Japan: Whither the everyday, and a forthcoming chapter on Japan’s agriculture and trade policy. In 2015 I also co-edited a volume on risk, Risk State: Japan's Foreign Policy in an Age of Uncertainty, together with colleagues based in Japan and in the United Kingdom. We were awarded a Tohoku Creativity Grant this year, and will organize two workshops examining the discourse of Japan’s ‘decline’ and what this means both domestically and in terms of its position in world.

Teaching

Many years ago, before I became a PhD student, I was a certified teacher of English as a foreign language for three years, working in Spain and Japan. Although there is a huge difference in the form and content of language teaching and higher education, I can still trace my teaching philosophy back to that first pedagogy course and those days in Madrid and Kobe. Language teaching is all about the student’s learning process, and the teacher becomes a facilitator to that process. Standing and delivering, reassuringly traditional as it might be, was just not done. 

This informs my teaching to this day. Although lectures still have a place - they can motivate students and excite their interest a topic - they are not a method to be used in isolation. I strive to engage students through a series of mini-lectures, punctuated by group discussions, reflections, and debates. 

I have taught a variety of courses in universities here in Scandinavia as well as courses and guest lectures in Japan and Taiwan. Currently, I teach the International Relations of East Asia, Contemporary Japanese Society, and Politics and Governance in Asia. I have supervised MA theses on topics ranging from food risk and safety in Japan to US-Japan security relations.