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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Susan H. Whiting
SISEA 532
Seattle Campus

The Chinese Political System

Examination of key approaches, interpretations, and secondary literature in the study of contemporary Chinese politics. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Offered: jointly with POL S 532.

Class description

This course examines some of the most important debates in the field of Chinese politics today. These debates concern our understanding of the Chinese revolution and the Cultural Revolution, the origins of the reform process, the question of institutional adaptability vs. decay, the evolution of property rights, the significance of expanding political participation, and the nature and impact of Chinese nationalism. In engaging these debates, the course will address issues of theory, methodology, and data in the study of Chinese politics. Texts. The readings will include: selections from Tony Saich and Hans Van de Ven, New Perspectives on the Chinese Revolution; Elizabeth Perry and Li Xun, Proletarian Power: Shanghai in the Cultural Revolution; Daniel Kelliher, Peasant Power in China: The Era of Rural Reform; Yasheng Huang, Inflation and Investment Controls in China: The Political Economy of Central-Local Relations during the Reform Era; Susan Whiting, Power and Wealth in Rural China: The Political Economy of Institutional Change; Edward Steinfeld, Forging Reform in China: The Fate of State-Owned Industry; Shi Tianjian, Political Participation in Beijing; Yongnian Zheng, Discovering Chinese Nationalism in China.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Students will be asked to write 3-4 short responses to the readings and a longer, analytical paper. The longer paper may take the form of a theoretically informed research paper, an extensive critical review of the literature, or a research design that treats the literature as a springboard.

Grading. Papers: 80 % (40% short papers, 40% longer paper) Class/quiz participation: 20 % TOTAL: 100 %


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Brian Allen Giebel
Date: 11/15/1999