China: Business, Economy, Society, Sustainability
Winter 2014 and Spring 2014 quarters
This China studies program will take an in-depth look at modern China through the perspective of the social sciences, building on readings and issues discussed in the fall program
China: A Success Story?
However, any student with an interest in China or East Asian studies should be able to join the program in winter or spring quarter and succeed in their studies.
Our overriding goals are to understand today's China as a vital global power, while critically exploring the lingering influence of its rich yet strife-torn cultural past on behavior and decisions made at the national, institutional and individual levels. Building on our shared texts and themes, students will do independent research individually or in small groups, becoming experts in a particular facet of Chinese business, economy. society and/or sustainability. Our work will also extend beyond uniquely Chinese experiences into topics on which the future of Asia, the global economy and our small planet depend, including the natural environment, paths to ecological, social and economic sustainability and strategies to redress economic inequalities and social dislocations. China's environmental history, its rural-urban dynamic and its economic development will also serve as core threads through both quarters of study.
During winter quarter, we will study ancient Chinese texts (in translation), as well as popular and academic articles, books, films and documentaries on China, particularly those exploring and reinterpreting ancient themes. Chinese philosophy, comprised of the primary "Three Teachings" of Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism, will inform our study of Chinese culture. Sun Tzu's The Art of War will introduce us to one of the world's oldest sources of strategic thought and Chinese concepts of leadership. Other topics likely to be covered include China’s trade and travel with the outside world, the Chinese diaspora, China's contact and interactions with foreign powers and its industrialization and political transformations from an imperial dynasty to a republic to a Communist state.
Spring quarter we will focus on present-day China. We will examine China's current image as a dynamic economic powerhouse and “global factory” and as an enigmatic political player internationally. We will also look at its internal, problematic quests for domestic harmony, a well-functioning legal system and a truly civil society.
In both quarters, we will meet in seminar, workshop and lecture settings. Weekly readings from books, popular media (newspapers, magazines) and academic journal articles should be expected for seminar and workshop. A peer-review approach will be taken in a Writing and Research Workshop to complement individual or small-group efforts on their research projects. Regular film and documentary viewings will build a closer familiarity with Chinese culture and society. Finally, in spring quarter, students will make an individual presentation on a book they have read and critically reviewed on their own. Another student completing the same reading will provide feedback on the presentation based on their reading of the book. This should expand the range of perspectives covered beyond the readings assigned to the entire class.
Separate enrollment in Chinese language courses is strongly encouraged as a complement to this program. This program would also serve as good preparation for students who plan to travel to China via independent learning contracts or subsequent study abroad programs.
Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies or careers in
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Day
May be offered again in
|February 18th, 2014||This program will accept new spring enrollment with faculty signature.|