POL S 442 A: Government and Politics of China

Meeting Time: 
TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
KNE 220
Joint Sections: 
JSIS A 408 A
Susan Whiting
Susan H. Whiting

Syllabus Description:

The Autumn 2019 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 at home and an increasingly wary international community abroad. This course will help you understand the rise of China. It provides an in-depth analysis of the political history, contemporary institutions, and governance issues facing China today. 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 challenges facing China today, including labor and environmental conditions, local aspects of trade and technology, inequality and social welfare, minority rights, contemporary nationalism, and newly assertive local identities.

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, including the in-class debate on Tuesday, November 19. All forms of participation together constitute 25% of the final grade.

   Second, students will take an in-class midterm exam (25%) on Tuesday, October 22, and an online final exam (25%) on Friday, December 13 at 2:30pm (This is our officially scheduled exam day and time). The final exam allows you to integrate what you learned in the first two sections of the course on political history and institutions and apply it to analyzing China’s contemporary governance challenges.

   Third, a term paper—not to exceed ten double-spaced pages—is required (25%). The term paper is an opportunity to explore a facet of governance in greater depth and to develop an argument based on evidence. Paper topics will be introduced on Thursday, October 31. A preliminary bibliography with two scholarly, peer-reviewed sources is due on Thursday, November 7. An annotation of one scholarly, peer-reviewed source from your bibliography is due on Tuesday, November 12. A draft introduction with thesis statement is due on Tuesday, November 26. The term paper itself is due on Monday, December 9. All submissions will be through Canvas. Unexcused late papers will be marked down 0.1 point per day.

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 3:30-5:30pm in 147 Gowen Hall.

TA’s Office Hours

   The Teaching Assistant for the course is Tan Zhao (zhaotan@uw.edu). His office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00am-12:00noon in 43 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: 
September 13, 2019 - 9:05pm