East Asian Languages and Cultures | Contemporary Chinese Politics
E390 | 27237 | Kennedy, S.


There is a fierce debate amongst observers of China’s domestic
political scene: Is the Chinese state’s ability to effectively
govern growing or declining? Either trend has critical implications
for the rest of the world. A strong Chinese state, for better or
worse, will have greater influence over its neighbors and in
international institutions. A weak Chinese state will not be able to
sustain economic growth, protect the environment, or manage disputes
among conflicting interests, with clear negative spillover effects
for the world. This broad question will be considered through a
discussion of four topics: 1) trends and patterns in elite politics;
2) the evolving nature of the policymaking process; 3) political
activism of average Chinese; and 4) the relative likelihood of
continued Communist Party rule, democratization, or collapse in the
near future. To better understand China, we will regularly make
comparisons with politics elsewhere. We use secondary readings by
outside observers, primary documents by political insiders, media
reports, and film documentaries. No previous study of Chinese
history or politics or knowledge of the Chinese language is required.

This course is cross-listed with POLS-Y 333