BASS Philosophy and Criminology

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Chinese Politics

Unit code POLI30281
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Politics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

The “Rise of China” as a political and economic power is one of the most frequently discussed political narratives of the last 20 years. A country with the size of the United States, the world’s largest population, and its second largest economy, China is undoubtedly an important force in current geopolitics. However, much of the popular discussion of Chinese politics relies on broad generalization, depicting China variously as the unstoppable power of the 21st century, or as teetering on the edge of coming economic and sociopolitical collapse. As we near the midpoint of the leadership of Xi Jinping, the most ambitious and charismatic Chinese ruler since Mao, what can we say about the current state of China’s political system? What are the defining issues of Chinese politics today, and what do they suggest about its future? Most importantly, what can close examination of China’s political system teach us about politics generally? This course provides a comprehensive introduction to Chinese politics. It begins with a brief historical examination of the founding of the contemporary People’s Republic of China. Following this we examine current topics in Chinese politics. By looking at topics like environmentalism, labor rights, urbanization, ethnic politics, youth movements, women’s rights, and economic policy, we will attempt to draw a complete, nuanced picture of China in the age of Xi, and understand what the country’s future holds.

Aims

The “Rise of China” as a political and economic power is one of the most frequently discussed political narratives of the last 20 years. A country with the size of the United States, the world’s largest population, and its second largest economy, China is undoubtedly an important force in current geopolitics. However, much of the popular discussion of Chinese politics relies on broad generalization, depicting China variously as the unstoppable power of the 21st century, or as teetering on the edge of coming economic and sociopolitical collapse. As we near the midpoint of the leadership of Xi Jinping, the most ambitious and charismatic Chinese ruler since Mao, what can we say about the current state of China’s political system? What are the defining issues of Chinese politics today, and what do they suggest about its future? Most importantly, what can close examination of China’s political system teach us about politics generally? This course provides a comprehensive introduction to Chinese politics. It begins with a brief historical examination of the founding of the contemporary People’s Republic of China. Following this we examine current topics in Chinese politics. By looking at topics like environmentalism, labor rights, urbanization, ethnic politics, youth movements, women’s rights, and economic policy, we will attempt to draw a complete, nuanced picture of China in the age of Xi, and understand what the country’s future holds.

 

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to:

  • Critically describe the guiding ideologies and institutions of the current People’s Republic of China.
  • Assess and analyze the means by which the PRC’s policies impact Chinese society (environmental, economic, socio-cultural, etc.).
  • Demonstrated a working knowledge of the development of the Chinese government and theories of current social organization.
  • Assess the institutional format of the Chinese government and its role in regulating Chinese society.
  • Analyze the impact of social phenomena on the policies developed by the Chinese state.
  • Critically engage with academic literature on Chinese politics and contemporary Chinese society
  • Discuss and debate current topics in Chinese and society with their peers.

 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

A degree in politics and international relations gives you many useful transferable skills including:

  • the ability to research, source and examine information thoroughly;
  • the ability to critically analyze evidence and construct coherent arguments;
  • excellent written and oratory skills;
  • intellectual independence and autonomy;
  • team working skills;
  • a flexible and open-minded approach to work.

 

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 60%
Written assignment (inc essay) 40%

Feedback methods

You will receive feedback on all assessed work within 15 working days of the submission date.  The School of Social Sciences is committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to students on their academic progress and achievement, thereby enabling students to reflect on their progress and plan their academic and skills development effectively. Students are reminded that feedback is necessarily responsive: only when a student has done a certain amount of work and approaches us with it at the appropriate fora is it possible for us to feed back on the student’s work. The main forms of feedback on this course are in response to the contributions in seminars, the drafts of portfolio prompts posted to discussion boards, and on your final portfolio project.  We also draw your attention to the variety of generic forms of feedback available to you on this as on all SOSS courses. These include: meeting the lecturer/tutor during their office hours; e-mailing questions to the lecturer/tutor; asking questions from the lecturer (before and after lecture); presenting a question on the discussion board on Blackboard; and obtaining feedback from your peers during tutorials."

 

Recommended reading

There is no one core book used on this course. The following texts are recommended for background reading:

  • Spence, Jonathan. The Search for Modern China (Third Edition), New York: W.W. Norton and Co. (2013)
  • Meisner, Maurice. Mao’s China and After: A History of the People’s Republic, New York: Simon and Schuster (1999)

 

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Stroup Unit coordinator
Elena Barabantseva Unit coordinator

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