Asian Studies Scope and Methods: China

Course Number: ASAN 600C
Course Title: Asian Studies Scopes and Methods: China
Course Description: This seminar provides an interdisciplinary overview of the field of Chinese Studies. This year our focus will be on “debates in Chinese Studies.” Each week we will read a cluster of articles or book chapters centered on a single issue that has sparked controversy in one or another field of Chinese Studies over the past four decades. I have chosen this approach for three reasons: first, it allows us to track how the debates have changed (or not changed) over the years; second, it reminds us that academic writing is not just a shout out into the void, but always part of an ongoing and multi-sided conversation; and third, it illuminates the connections among a wide range of issues within Chinese society, history, and politics—from rural protests to ethnic identity to women’s status to the nature of capitalism in China.
Learning Objectives: Via readings, discussions, and lectures by specialists on China from a wide range of academic disciplines, as well as a major research project conducted by each student, we will develop significant expertise in three main areas: 1) broad-based knowledge about China; 2) discipline-based methodological approaches to the study of China; 3) resources available to support research in the China field. In addition, the course will provide information on the nuts and bolts of writing graduate-level research proposals and papers, as well as the ins and outs of the world of academia—which is, after all, the context in which much of our current knowledge of China has been produced.