The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is one of the most dynamic countries in the world today. It represents approximately one quarter of the world’s population, sustains the largest bureaucracy in the history of the world, and currently possesses of a political economic system that combines elements of both communism and capitalism. As China has undergone revolution, reform, and rapid economic and social changes in the last century, this course aims to provide students with a background on major political elements in China today. Students will be introduced to the basic concepts of political processes, political institutions, and political events in modern China.
This course consists of three components. First, we will examine the role of formal political institutions—the Communist Party, the People’s Liberation Army, village-level elections and governance, and economic reform—in shaping authoritarian resilience and democratization in the country. Second, we also examine how other forms of politics—social movements, media, gender, and migration—have been persistent in China. Third, we will end the course with evaluating China’s relations with its neighboring countries, as well as with the international community.
Download the syllabus (Smith College)