729 Elm
Norman OK 73019-2105
(405) 325-3580
FAX: (405) 325-7738
uschina at ou dot edu

Spring 2017 IAS 3153-001:
Chinese Foreign Policy

Prof. Peter Hays Gries

Class meets Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:45pm in Farzaneh 230
Office Hours: Tuesday, Thursday 1:30-2:30pm in Farzaneh 227 & by appointment.

Course Description

When you look at China, what do you see? A fearsome dragon out to upset the global balance of power?  Or a cuddly panda seeking to integrate itself into the extant world order? This course seeks to move beyond such egocentric caricatures, providing a comprehensive introduction to Chinese foreign policy. With over a fifth of the world’s population (over 1.3 billion people), the world’s second largest economy, and the world’s largest standing army, China is intrinsically important.  Anyone who wishes to understand 21st century world politics needs to engage the China question.

The course is divided into five sections. It begins with key questions and concepts, such as the enigma of China’s rise and the utility of IR theory in addressing it.  It then reviews key historical legacies shaping China’s foreign policy today, starting with narratives about the imperial Chinese tributary system and the early modern Chinese “Century of Humiliation,” before turning to Mao, Deng, and China’s Cold War foreign policy legacies. The third section explores key bilateral and regional relationships today, from the US to Japan, Taiwan, and the South China Seas. The fourth section addresses “new” global or multilateral security issues that an emerging Chinese superpower is now central to, from energy and environmental security to cybersecurity and the challenge of global terrorism and nuclear and WMD proliferation. We conclude with thoughts on forecasting China’s future global role.

While the subject matter of the class is Chinese foreign policy, my primary goal is to promote critical thinking, nurturing your desire and ability to think through issues rigorously and independently.