Courses by semester

Courses for Spring 2023

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

Course ID Title Offered
CAPS2231 Introduction to China: Imagining China's Past This is a course about the power of the past in Chinese historical, literary, religious, and artistic imagination.  We will survey notions about China's past across more than two millennia, from the Bronze age to contemporary times.  We will do this by focusing on a handful of literary, philosophical, artistic, and material sources to examine how people have made sense of an found meaning in China's past.  The course assumes little or no background in the study of China.

Full details for CAPS 2231 - Introduction to China: Imagining China's Past

CAPS2435 Global Maoism: History and Present Maoism and Chinese Communism are not history after Mao's death in 1976. In China, Maoism holds the key to the enduring success of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), one of the most remarkable organizations of the 20th and 21st centuries that has survived the collapse of communism in Europe and the USSR. With the beneficial transformation brought by capitalism and globalization in China, the end of the Cold War and the narrative of the "end of history" cannot explain the resurgence of Maoism.

Full details for CAPS 2435 - Global Maoism: History and Present

CAPS2575 Tyranny and Dignity: Chinese Women from the Cultural Revolution to the White Paper Revolution This course focuses on the human condition of Chinese women after 1949. In the name of the Women's liberation movement since the early 1900s, do Chinese women eventually hold up the half sky? From the cradle to the grave, what was most challenging in women's life? How did political, economic, and cultural forces frame women's professional careers and private life? No judgments nor imaginations. Using multi-media, such as Chinese independent documentary films, music, and photographs, students will discover the hidden stories behind the mainstream narratives. Workshops with film directors, pop music singers, and photographers offer students an unusual way of accessing all backstage field experiences.

Full details for CAPS 2575 - Tyranny and Dignity: Chinese Women from the Cultural Revolution to the White Paper Revolution

CAPS2932 Engendering China In contemporary China, as in many other places of the world, the ideology and social reality of gender relations is highly paradoxical. Women are flattered for their power as consumers and commitment to the family while they are also expected to engage in wage-earning employment. Men, on the other hand, face constant pressure of being tough and social problems such as costly betrothal gifts as unintended consequences of a gender regime that is supposedly male-oriented. Are these paradoxes a betrayal of the socialist experiment of erasing gender differences? Are they remnants of China's long imperial tradition? This course explores the power dynamics of gender relations in China from ancient times to the present. It leads students to examine scholarship that challenges the popularly accepted myth of lineal progression of China toward gender equality, and to understand women's and men's life choices in various historical settings. At the same time, this course guides students to adopt "gender" as a useful analytical category, treating China as a case study through which students are trained to "engender" any society past and present.

Full details for CAPS 2932 - Engendering China

CAPS3329 Literature of Leaving China Ever since the creation of the concept of a culturally and geographically stable center in China, people have been intentionally excluded from that center. Disgraced officials are sent to far-flung provinces, loyalists to past regimes hide out across China's borders, and dissidents have their entry visas revoked, making it impossible for them to return home. The experiences of these people, and the poems and stories they write, tell us a great deal about what it means and how it feels to be included and excluded. What is the difference between the way China looks from the inside and the way it looks from the outside? Who has the power to decide who gets to live in China, and how and why do they use it? What is the relationship between our identities and our homes? Texts studied will range from 300 BCE to the present; all will be read and discussed in English. 

Full details for CAPS 3329 - Literature of Leaving China

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.
CAPS4030 Making Sense of China: The Capstone Seminar This course serves as a survey of major issues within Chinese politics and foreign policy and constitutes the capstone seminar for CAPS students. It is intended to give students an opportunity to explore aspects related to Chinese politics, economics, and society that they may have touched upon in other China-focused courses at Cornell, but have not been able to examine as fully, and with the degree of care, that they would like. In this regard, the substance of the course will be developed through an iterative process between the instructor and the seminar participants. We will spend the first part of the course doing a series of recent influential readings on contemporary China and developing initial research projects. The second half of the class will be organized around student led presentations of research projects (accompanied by relevant academic, media, and policy readings).

Full details for CAPS 4030 - Making Sense of China: The Capstone Seminar

CAPS4049 The Rise of China and Change in World Politics The rise of China is one of the most important and defining themes in changing world politics. This seminar course is intended for students to examine major issues and topics concerning the rise of China against the backdrop of paradigmatic change in world politics from a historical and theoretical perspective, and to engage in the academic discourse and policy debate about dynamics of China's rise and its implications for world politics, and vice versa, how evolving world politics inform and influence the process of China's rise – namely, mutual constitution of rising China and the changing world.

Full details for CAPS 4049 - The Rise of China and Change in World Politics

CAPS4502 Becoming a China Hand China's prominence in the news cycle and policy discourse reflects the immense and growing tension in China's relations with the United States and other countries around the world. Substantively, there is hardly a profession or sector where what happens inside China does not touch upon or impact what happens outside China. Throughout this course, we will grapple with ongoing debates over China's rise and whether policies of engagement with China have succeeded or failed. These debates are unfolding in many different communities and idea marketplaces, across many different modes and styles of analysis and writing. Each of the reading and writing assignments are aimed at developing literacy and proficiency in three different modes of analysis and writing about China: academic, policy, and journalistic. While many courses provide introductions to different aspects of China, and many seminars examine more specialized questions at even deeper levels, there are few that directly invite students to examine and explore the different ways in which scholars and professionals have written about and come to understand China.

Full details for CAPS 4502 - Becoming a China Hand

CAPS4772 China Imagined: The Historical and Global Origins of the Chinese Nation As China, with its "China Dream," rises in power on the global stage, what "China" means to its inhabitants and outsiders has become an issue increasingly relevant to business, international relations, and cultural exchange, and a topic that draws intensive attention from historians and social scientists. This course brings together undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in shifting meanings embedded in the concept of "China," either as part of their research agenda, or as a useful lens for comparative analysis. Focus will be on how China as an Empire/ a Nation was conceptualized by different people in different periods and in different contexts, and on the reality and representation of China as political, cultural, racial, and geographical entities.

Full details for CAPS 4772 - China Imagined: The Historical and Global Origins of the Chinese Nation

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.