This course surveys the post-1978 Chinese society, focusing on social issues under the market reform
and conditions of increasingly globalized economy. China’s transition to a market-oriented society has
effected fundamental changes in the lives of its citizens. Topics include regional economic disparities,
changing patterns of employment and unemployment, gender inequality, and both internal and
international migration. We will ask: How are women and men faring differently in China’s new labor
market and workplaces? Are rural peasants and the emerging underclass of urban laid-off workers
being left behind by market transition? How are minorities faring in China’s transition? How does the
emerging digital divide play into the dichotomies of east-west and urban-rural in China? What is the
plight of millions of “floaters” migrating into China’s cities, with minimal legal rights and protections?
How has the one-child policy affected women, children, and society in China? The objectives of the
course are 1) to offer exposure to a broad overview of social issues in contemporary China, and 2) to
familiarize students with available resources for learning about Chinese society. The class will combine
lectures, academic readings, narrative accounts, films, and discussions.
Class attendance (25%); classroom presentation (15%); mid-term exam (30%); and final exam (30%).