The course is designed for students who do not have much background about Chinese society. From a sociological perspective, we begin with a discussion on the main features of traditional Chinese society and investigate how they have changed and/or continued under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party. We then focus on the post 1978 reform period and discuss the social changes in various aspects of contemporary Chinese societies, including the economy, family, social stratification, internal and international migration, politics, and the civil society. Some knowledge in sociology will be useful, but no t necessary.
I believe the best way to learn is to actively immerse you into understanding, observing, reflecting, and critically analyzing the subject matter. While you are in Taiwan, and China is not directly observable, you can narrow this gap by doing the required readings, reading related news, talking to people in Mainland China in Taiwan, and attending seminars related to issues about China.
Although this course is a lecture class, my aim is to involve you as much as I can. Throughout the class, I expect you to respond, ask questions, and raise and discuss “contemporary” issues related to this course that you see and hear from the news or people around you. You are encouraged to analyze these through sociological lens.
Fei, Xiaotong. 1992. From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese Society, trans. Gary G. Hamilton and Wang Zheng. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.
Naughton, Barry. 2007. The Chinese Economy: Transition and Growth. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
***please also check the weekly readings on the syllabus