DescriptionThis unit provides a comprehensive introduction to the major social, cultural and political issues that characterise contemporary China. A number of important issues are explored including the ongoing transformation of the Communist Party of China and its relationship with society; the development of a nascent civil society and public sphere; the current state of rural China; the features of urbanisation; the significance of increased mobility and migration; the impact of economic development on social life and the environment; various issues relating to ethnic identity and culture; the state of gender relations; the role of intellectual life and spaces for social critique; and the significance of globalisation for Chinese society and culture in general.
Much of what is assumed to be known about China involves certain presuppositions and assumptions about the nature of political, social and cultural change. Students learn to distinguish the different presuppositions and assumptions which inform different approaches (e.g. media, business and state) to understanding China in the modern world. Students gain a solid base of knowledge and research skills relevant to the study of China in Asian Studies and Chinese Studies. They gain critical knowledge of the important social and political forces which are shaping contemporary China. They are trained and given the opportunity to apply various theories and modes of critical thought relating to the study of contemporary China.
Upon the successful completion of this unit, students are able to (1) evaluate and describe critically major social issues in contemporary China; (2) critically relate these themes to important political, social and cultural trends in China; (3) distinguish between different discourses about China by various interest groups (e.g. states, media, business); (4) utilise a range of social and cultural theories to the issues they research; (5) express information and ideas coherently and logically in written form; (6) express information and ideas coherently and logically orally; and (7) recognise and practise ethical scholarship and develop more advanced research skills related to the discipline.