China: Business, Economy, Society, Sustainability


Winter 2014 and Spring 2014 quarters

Taught by

David Shaw
international business, economics

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.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

business, economics, social studies, sustainability and China/East Asian studies.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Special Expenses

Approximately $45 for an individual license fee to participate in a business simulation game.

May be offered again in



Date Revision
February 18th, 2014 This program will accept new spring enrollment with faculty signature.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Winter); 16 (Spring)

Variable Credit Options

variable credit options available for students wanting to take 4 credit hours of foreign language, including Chinese.

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior; 25% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 24


Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 20123
So - Sr (16 credits): 20126
(1-16 credits): 20127

Go to to register for this program.


Accepting New Students

Signature Required

Students will need previous experience in Chinese studies, 1 quarter of college-level study or the equivalent.  Please email the faculty for more information.

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 30113
So - Sr (16 credits): 30114
(1-16 credits): 30115

Go to to register for this program.

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