The University of Oklahoma
School of International and Area Studies
Fall 2009 IAS 3143-001: Chinese Politics
Prof. Peter Hays Gries
Class meets Tuesday, Thursday 1:30-2:45 pm in Hester Hall Rm. 181
Office Hours: Tues., Thurs. 3-4pm in 120 Hester Hall & by appointment.
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to Chinese politics. With over a fifth of the world’s population (over 1.3 billion people), an enormous economy (a 2008 nominal GDP of 4.4 trillion), 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 begins with China’s revolutionary heritage, exploring the political history of 20th century China, with emphasis on the half century since “Liberation” in 1949. How, for example, can we understand the chaos of the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s? What are the legacies of the Tiananmen Massacre of 1989? It then turns to state-market-society relations in China today. Who have been the winners and losers in the last three decades of “reform and opening”?
One of the primary goals of this course is to develop critical thinking skills. Therefore, you will not just passively learn about Chinese politics, but will also actively do research and writing on Chinese politics. You will administer an online survey about China, as well as write two essays about Chinese politics. Most fundamentally, in this class you will be asked to make arguments, which will be judged on their persuasiveness.