ACADPOL_Fall2008_POL332_Rigger

ACADPOL_Fall2008_POL332_Rigger - Political Science 332...

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Political Science 332 Chinese Politics Dr. Shelley Rigger Fall Semester 2008 Preyer 201-B Tues/Thurs 1:00-2:15, Chambers 2198 704-894-2505 Office hours: Tues/Thurs 2:30-5:00 Wed. 9:00-10:30 Introduction The goal of this course is to introduce contemporary politics in the People's Republic of China. Understanding politics in the PRC today requires a good knowledge of Chinese history, so the first part of the course will be devoted to Mao's revolution. We will begin with the conditions underlying the revolution, then look at the period from 1949 through Mao's death in 1976. The rest of the course will consider Chinese politics under Mao’s successors: Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. Even if the People's Republic of China did not have the largest population of any country on earth (a distinction it will soon lose to India), it still would be worth studying. When Europeans were living in caves before the Roman invasion and dying in wars and plagues during the Dark Ages, China was a flourishing commercial state with a stable government, highly-developed literary tradition and refined, self-confident culture. Many Chinese take heart from the belief that any problems they face today are but wrinkles in the rich fabric of their nation's history. Much to the frustration of Westerners seeking to promote everything from instant coffee to liberal democracy, the Chinese by and large are unconvinced that the West has much to teach them, aside from scientific and technical skills. China has absorbed less of our culture, less of our religion, less of our philosophy, less of our economics than almost any other country, despite the unrelenting efforts of Western traders, politicians, thinkers and missionaries to "crack the China market." China's strong sense of nationalism — national strength, national unity and national autonomy — is a central theme of this course. In short, when we study China we study a country that cannot be understood through the logic and assumptions we use to make sense of other nations. Learning about China is an adventure; it requires us to open our minds to a way of seeing the world that is new to us, although very old. Readings The core text for the course is Governing China by Kenneth Lieberthal. Barry Naughton’s The Chinese Economy: Transitions and Growth offers an overview and analysis of China’s evolving economic conditions and policies. Susan Shirk’s China: Fragile Superpower discusses the domestic challenges facing the Chinese government and how they affect China’s foreign relations, and John Pomfret’s Chinese Lessons: Five Classmates and the Story of the New China puts brings Chinese politics to life. The syllabus also includes readings available on electronic reserve (ER), in full-text versions (linked to the syllabus) or by email (EM). These readings are mandatory , as are the films. (This means there will be questions about them on the exams, and you will be expected to discuss them in class.)
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ACADPOL_Fall2008_POL332_Rigger - Political Science 332...

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