POL S 442 A: Government and Politics of China

Meeting Time: 
TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
SMI 205
Joint Sections: 
JSIS A 408 A
Susan Whiting
Susan H. Whiting

Syllabus Description:

The Autumn 2018 syllabus is here

Course Description

   China is now the second largest economy in the world and a growing global power; at the same time, it faces considerable governance challenges. This upper-division course provides an in-depth analysis of the political history, contemporary institutions, and governance issues facing China. It highlights several major themes from the twentieth century to the present: the role of nationalism, the changing place of markets and private property, and the shifting penetration of the state from the center to the grassroots. The first part of the course addresses China’s modern political history and provides an essential foundation for subsequent topics. It addresses the collapse of imperial China in social and ideological terms, the formation of political parties, revolutionary change, state-building, the planned economy, and the re-introduction of markets. The second part of the course focuses on the political institutions that govern China today, including the organization of the party-state, how the state controls its own agents, how it uses elections, and how it attempts to control civil society and the media. The final part of the course uses the foundations of political history and political institutions to analyze crucial issues facing China today, including labor and environmental conditions, local aspects of trade and technology, inequality and social welfare, minority rights, and contemporary nationalism.

Course Requirements

   The first requirement of the course is participation. The more actively you participate, the more you learn.  Successful participation is based on completion of all readings, assignments, quizzes, and in-class activities (25%).

   Second, students will take an in-class midterm exam (25%) and an online final exam (25%). 

   Third, a term paper—not to exceed ten double-spaced pages—is required (25%). 

Course Materials

   Journal articles and E-book chapters available in the UW Library E-Journals collection are marked “full text online.” Additional readings are available through Canvas.

Professor’s Office Hours

   Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00am-12:00noon in 147 Gowen Hall.

TA’s Office Hours

   The Teaching Assistant for the course is Hanjie Wang (hjwang@uw.edu). Her office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:00-1:00pm in 31 Smith Hall.


Catalog Description: 
Post-1949 government and politics, with emphasis on problems of political change in modern China. Offered: jointly with JSIS A 408.
Department Requirements: 
Comparative Politics Field
Political Economy Option
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
October 17, 2018 - 9:10pm