Courses by semester

Courses for Fall 2022

Complete Cornell University course descriptions are in the Courses of Study .

Course ID Title Offered
CAPS1920 Modern China This course surveys modern Chinese history from 1600 to present. Time will be devoted to each of the three major periods into which modern Chinese history is conventionally divided: the Imperial Era (1600-1911), the Republican Era (1911-1949), and the People's Republic of China (1949-present). It guides students through pivotal events in modern Chinese history, and uncovers the origins of China's painful transition from a powerful early modern empire to a country torn by civil unrest and imperialist invasion, and then from a vanguard of world revolution to a post-communist party-state whose global power is on the rise.

Full details for CAPS 1920 - Modern China

CAPS2133 Social Debates in China In this sophomore seminar, we will explore cultural, political, and social debates in China's transition from an early modern empire to a republic, and then from a vanguard of world revolution to a post-communist party-state. Through examining primary sources in various forms (treatise, speech, and film), we will focus on issues such as Confucianism, Western-inspired cultural and legal concepts, nationalism, communism, feminism, liberalism, as well as indigenous understandings and appropriations of imported -isms. The course is organized around four debates: those between constitutional reformers and revolutionaries at turn of the 20th century; between New Culture radicals and statist reformers in the 1920s and 1930s; between politicians who resorted to social and political revolutions to "save China" and writers who believed in the transformative power of "culture;" and between liberals and "leftist" intellectuals in post-1989 China; with an interlude addressing the 1960s and the 1970s, when dissenting voices were encouraged in some ways and brutally suppressed in others. Students will participate in four debates organized at the end of each 3-week section. Each student will submit four short response papers on the four social debates the course covers. In consultation with the instructor, each student will choose a social debate from modern China that is NOT addressed in the classroom, developing a historiographical paper as his/her final essay. There is no prerequisite, but pre-acquired knowledge in Chinese history and civilization is helpful.

Full details for CAPS 2133 - Social Debates in China

CAPS2230 Introduction to China: Outsiders in History This is an introduction of Chinese civilization from ancient times up to the end of the Chinese empire in 1911. It is intended to familiarize students with the major concepts of Chinese history, society, and culture, focusing on the stories of people that have been often neglected in canonical histories, such as the merchants, women, travelers, and ethnic minorities from the thirteenth to the nineteenth century.

Full details for CAPS 2230 - Introduction to China: Outsiders in History

CAPS2262 Medicine and Healing in China An exploration of processes of change in health care practices in China. Focuses on key transitions, such as the emergence of canonical medicine, of Daoist approaches to healing and longevity, of "scholar physicians," and of "traditional Chinese medicine" in modern China. Inquries into the development of healing practices in relation to both popular and specialist views of the body and disease; health care as organized by individuals, families, communities, and states; the transmission of medical knowledge; and healer-patient relations. Course readings include primary texts in translation as well as secondary materials.

Full details for CAPS 2262 - Medicine and Healing in China

CAPS2271 China's Literary Heritage: An Introduction in Translation This is an introductory course designed for, though not limited to, non-majors with or without any knowledge of Chinese language, history, or culture. It offers a guided survey of the history and development of the major literary themes, genres, and traditions that still today are assumed to be an integral part of China's cultural identity. Readings include works of poetry, prose and fiction, all in English translation.

Full details for CAPS 2271 - China's Literary Heritage: An Introduction in Translation

CAPS3000 Seminar on American Relations with China A historical review of the fragile and volatile U.S.-China relationship from the opening by Richard Nixon in the early 1970s until the present. Several individual sessions will be led by current or former executive branch or congressional officials, business people, journalists, representatives of nongovernmental organizations and others who have worked in China or have participated in the making of U.S. policy toward China.

Full details for CAPS 3000 - Seminar on American Relations with China

CAPS3303 Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Chinese Literature This course reads classic authors from China's early twentieth century and then uses them to understand the most contemporary Chinese literature. We will engage with contemporary conversations about authoritarianism, gender, and the rural/urban divide by thinking through foundational debates over nation, revolution, and modernity. Most importantly, we will see how expression in art informs and sometimes exceeds the life of ideas. All works in this course will be available in English; all primary texts will also be available in simplified Chinese.

Full details for CAPS 3303 - Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Chinese Literature

CAPS3307 Readings in Classical Chinese Literature A guided reading in the original language designed to introduce students to a variety of genres and styles of classical Chinese literature while at the same time helping students achieve competence in reading classical Chinese at an advanced level. The syllabus, with a rotating thematic focus, normally includes philosophical works, historical texts, poetry and prose, anecdotes and fiction. Please consult the Department of Asian Studies course offerings for each year's thematic focus.

Full details for CAPS 3307 - Readings in Classical Chinese Literature

CAPS3387 The Asian Century: The Rise of China and India The course will be thoroughly comparative in order to highlight both the specificity of each country as well as more generalizable dynamics of 21st century development. It will be divided into a number of inter-related modules. After a framing lecture, we will briefly cover the two countries' distinct experiences with colonialism and centralized planning. Then we will move on to dynamics of growth, which will seek to explain the relative success of China in the era of market reforms. In analyzing political consequences, we will assess how new forms of cooperation and conflict have emerged. This will involve attention to both internal dynamics as well as how rapid development has seen an increasing accumulation of political power in the East. It goes without saying that accelerating growth has led to huge social change, resulting in profound reorganizations of Chinese and Indian society. Finally, the course will conclude by returning to our original question – is this indeed The Asian Century? What does the rise of China and India mean for the rest of the world, and how are these two giant nations likely to develop in the future?

Full details for CAPS 3387 - The Asian Century: The Rise of China and India

CAPS3525 Life and Death in China Under Mao How to define and interpret the human condition in China under Mao's ruling (1949-1976)? What was human resilience in the face of power? How did Chinese people constantly find ways to re-organize their lives in a pragmatic way? How to evaluate the human cost of institutional arrangements?  In this undergraduate course, we will use first-hand resources and case studies to closely analyze life and death in the Mao Era. Reading the lived experiences of five social classes, such as industrial capitalists, workers, peasants, cadres, and intellectuals, in those successively political movements after 1949, students will gain an understanding of how the Chinese navigated their lives in difficult times. They might be a senior partner for Shell in Shanghai, a hearted Christian and wife, an outspoken intellectual who was persecuted over years, and a former hard laborer who is today one of Asia's best-known financiers or women from China's countryside and so forth. The course will shed light on the interrelations between institutional frames, individual identity, gender and revolutionary politics in the Mao Era and will highlight the many different experiences of life and death in Mao's China, in terms of class, gender, generation.

Full details for CAPS 3525 - Life and Death in China Under Mao

CAPS4001 China in Transition This seminar, using faculty-directed research projects, is intended to survey China's transformation through revolution and reform since 1949, and to examine major issues under the themes of modernity and sustainability in the reform era.

Full details for CAPS 4001 - China in Transition

CAPS4010 Honors Thesis Tutorial I Honors students conduct research to prepare a thesis on a topic of their own choosing under the direction of a faculty member. The application must be successfully submitted and an Honors Committee formed by the end of applicant's junior year in order for the student to be an honors candidate. Permission to enroll in CAPS 4020 is contingent upon the advisor's judgment of the viability of the student's honors thesis by the end of the semester.

Full details for CAPS 4010 - Honors Thesis Tutorial I

Fall, Spring.
CAPS4020 Honors Thesis Tutorial II Honors students complete research and finish a thesis on a topic of their own choosing under the direction of a faculty member.

Full details for CAPS 4020 - Honors Thesis Tutorial II

Fall, Spring.
CAPS4075 Fashion and Politics in Twentieth-Century China Through readings and discussions, this seminar will take multiple approaches to explore history, politics and society in 20th century China from the perspective of fashion. How to define politics from the dimension of fashion? What's a politicized fashion? How did fashion reflect the power structure? How did fashion become a way of obedience and resistance?

Full details for CAPS 4075 - Fashion and Politics in Twentieth-Century China

CAPS4998 Inquiry in Politics and Policy This required course forms the core of the Cornell in Washington academic program. The foundational skill of both politics and policy is taking knowledge, analyzing it, figuring out how to convert it into action. This course aims to give students the experience and understanding of how this process of knowledge into action works. Students will undertake a substantial research project in a topic related to or affected by politics and/or policy (broadly defined), and examine it through a variety of approaches and disciplines. The main goal is to understand the issue, analyze what is going on, and evaluate what options are available to respond.  The idea is to not only define and examine the issue, but also think how to create and implement a solution. To do this, students will examine their issue using multiple different forms of inquiry (normative, empirical, and policy analysis) to see what each of those reveal as well as to see how the choice of how they investigate it shapes their results. CAPS students must do a topic that is related to Asia. GPHS students must do a topic that is related to public health.

Full details for CAPS 4998 - Inquiry in Politics and Policy

Fall, Spring.
CAPS4999 CAPS Independent Study Independent study course in topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses. Students select a topic in consultation with the faculty member who has agreed to supervise the course work.

Full details for CAPS 4999 - CAPS Independent Study

Fall, Spring.