This course is designed to be an upper undergraduate level lecture-discussion process that prepares international students with a comprehensive knowledge base for understanding and evaluating the webs of ties between China and the rest of the world. Although selection of topics is contemporary, students are encouraged to pursue historical knowledge about the complexities in China’s ties with the rest of the world. The overall purpose is less for students to be able to answer what Chinese foreign policy IS than for them to develop a habit of asking further questions in order to shape up independent judgments about behaviors on the part of Chinese entities and their international peers.
Readings are drawn from a variety of academic disciplines, including international relations theory, political science, history, sociology, and market as well as management studies. Because the TBC offers a separate course on Sino-American relations, selection of weekly topics does not have a separate section on how China and the United States interact. But that only leaves room for students to bring in questions about how issues under discussion related to pursuit of ties by entities in both countries. Each cluster of readings chosen for a particular weekly topic is prefaced by a few questions meant for students to bear in mind while reading and provide a roadmap for discussions during class time.
No prior knowledge about contemporary China or Chinese foreign policy is required. As the course proceeds, Chinese language expressions shall be introduced to the extent relevant for enhancing understanding and communication.
Upon successful completion of the course, a student can expect to have formed a knowledge base for appraising the domestic-external dynamics in Chinese foreign policy decision making. In particular, students grow in their analytical capacity through being challenged to critically compare and contrast Chinese perspectives with prevalent notions held outside China.
Such knowledge and analytical process shall be of utility to students who upon completing the course choose to pursue careers either in academic study or professional activities in either the public or private sectors. In a nutshell, the benefit the course brings is that a student learns to formulate their own questions rather than following accepted norms.