The University of Oklahoma
School of International and Area Studies
Fall 2007 IAS 3143-001
Prof. Peter Hays Gries
Class meets Monday, Wednesday 3-4:15 pm in Adams Hall Rm. 112
Office Hours: Tues., Thurs. 3-4pm in 120 Hester Hall & by appointment.
With over a fifth of the world’s population (over 1.3 billion people), an enormous economy (a 2006 nominal GDP of over 2.68 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? 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”? The class concludes with an exploration of China’s new nationalism and prospects for democratization.
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 both take and administer paper and online surveys about China, do research in small groups on patterns of media coverage about China, as well as participate in the editing of a book review essay about Chinese politics. Most fundamentally, you will be asked to make arguments, which will be judged on their persuasiveness, in this class.