Current Courses

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CAPS 1622 : The World of Modern Japan
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 2222, GOVT 1623, HIST 1622 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Kristin Roebuck
In 1868, samurai revolutionaries and their allies seized the reins of power and established a new capital they called Tokyo.  Against all odds, this fragile regime survived and made Tokyo a center of power that would transform both Japan and the world.  This survey of Japanese history explores the rise and fall of Japan as a modern imperial power; its foreign relations; its economic and scientific development from "feudalism" to futuristic technologies; and Japan's many modern revolutions, from the rule of the samurai to Westernization and democracy, from democratic collapse to fascism and World War II, and from Japan's postwar rebirth to the present.  We will examine not only big events but also everyday life, including gender and sexuality, family and schools, and art and popular culture.
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CAPS 1920 : Modern China
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 1192, HIST 1920 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Yue Du
This course surveys modern Chinese history from 1644 to 1949. Time will be devoted to each of the three major periods: China's last empire, the Great Qing (1644-1911); the early Republic (1912-1927); and the Nationalist period (1928-1949). It guides students through pivotal events in modern Chinese history, and uncovers the origins and trajectory 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 newly-recognized "Great Power" in the post-World War II international order to a vanguard of the global communist revolution.
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CAPS 1920 : Modern China
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 1192, HIST 1920 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Yue Du
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.
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CAPS 2132 : Law and Society in Early Modern and Modern China
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 2280, HIST 2132 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Yue Du
China was and still is regarded in the Western world as a country without the rule of law. In this course, students examine recent scholarship that challenges this simplified understanding of the role of law in Chinese politics and society. It approaches law in early modern and modern China both as a state institution of governance and control, and as a platform that facilitates interactions and negotiations between state and society, between different social forces, and between different cultures. At the same time, this course guides students to develop projects of their own choice, either addressing legal issues or using legal sources, from tentative proposals to research papers based on their examination of original or translated primary sources.
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CAPS 2212 : Introduction to China
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 2212 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Suyoung Son
Interdisciplinary introduction to Chinese culture especially designed for students not majoring in Asian Studies. Explores literature, history, religion, and art, and other aspects of China's rich and diverse heritage, from earliest times to the present.
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CAPS 2262 : Medicine and Healing in China
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 2262, BSOC 2561, HIST 2562, STS 2561 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Tj Hinrichs
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.  Inquires 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. 
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CAPS 2267 : Women and Society in China
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 2267, FGSS 2267 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Suyoung Son
This course offers a broad understanding of the active and dynamic cultural, economic, and social, and political roles played by Chinese women. By challenging the dominant stereotype of the passive and victimized Chinese woman, this course aims to examine women's struggles, negotiations, and challenges of the normative discourse of femininity and domesticity in terms of various disciplines, including philosophy, anthropology, history, and literature. Through a combination of reading original texts with secondary scholarship, this course will discuss the issues of Confucianism and patriarchal family, the female body and sexuality, education and self-expression, women's work and religious activities, gender and the state, the modernization of women, etc.
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CAPS 2271 : China's Literary Heritage: An Introduction in Translation
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 2271 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Ding Xiang Warner
This is an introductory course designed for, though not limited to, non-majors with or without any knowledge of Chinese language, history, or culture. Its intent is to offer a guided survey of the history and development of the major literary traditions that still today are assumed to be an integral part of China's cultural identity. Readings include works of poetry, prose as well as fiction, all in English translation.
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CAPS 2985 : Transformations in Twentieth Century China
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 2286, HIST 2985 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
John Barwick
The twentieth century was a time of unprecedented change in China as the country's ancient imperial system collapsed and a new modern order began to emerge. This course will explore the myriad transformations that occurred during this remarkable century of revolution and renewal. Among the major changes that we will focus on are the fall of the Qing dynasty, the intellectual awakening of May Fourth, the rise of the Nationalist party-state, and key events of the Communist era, such as the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution under Mao Zedong and the capitalist reforms of Deng Xiaoping. The class will encourage historical reflection on China's engagement with the modern world in order to better understand the complex reality of China today.
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CAPS 3000 : Seminar on American Relations with China
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Cynthia Watson
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.
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CAPS 3307 : Readings in Classical Chinese Literature
Crosslisted as: CHLIT 3307, CHLIT 6607 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Ding Xiang Warner
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.
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CAPS 3308 : Issues in Contemporary China II
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 3308 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Nick Admussen
The course is attached to the Cornell Contemporary China Initiative lecture series, which brings high profile speakers on various aspects of contemporary China to Cornell most Mondays throughout the semester.  Students will attend one or two foundation-setting lectures by the instructor, then attend weekly guest lectures & write short assignments. 
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CAPS 3329 : Literature of Leaving China
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 3329, COML 3985 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Nick Admussen
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. 
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CAPS 3502 : Becoming a China Hand
Crosslisted as: GOVT 3503 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Jessica Weiss
This seminar examines the various issues that surround being a specialist of one of the world's most complex and exciting places. The course will first look at the various groups of people that have been China Hands, including missionaries, academics, businesspeople, journalists, and government officials. One central theme is the continual conflict between being a country specialist and gaining an understanding of the broader world. The second part of the class considers the strategies for going into the field and doing research on China, including finding a host and making connections, using written sources (electronic and printed), conducting interviews, and implementing formal surveys. The last segment of the class considers the charge that China Hands are prone to self-censorship because of ideological affinity.
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CAPS 3967 : What is China?
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 3395, GOVT 3967 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Allen Carlson
China is often thought of as being isolated from the outside world.  It is imagined as existing in historic seclusion, and, following the establishment of the People's Republic, as pursuing a path of autarky. Such separation has then only been somewhat modified by the set of economic reforms that Deng Xiaoping first instituted in the late 1970s.  In this lecture we will seek to turn such conventional wisdom on its head through examining "what China is" via a consideration of transnational currents within the country's development. However, the course's primary focus will not be upon the past, but rather the present and attempting to determine just where the point of intersection between China and the rest of the world is. Coming to terms with such an issue will provide those who enroll in the class with a deeper, more nuanced, understanding of China's rise and this trend's implications for the rest of the world. We will accomplish this task through a combination of surveying the existing literature on China and transnational politics, and considering new theoretical perspectives on both.  
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CAPS 4001 : China in Transition
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Xu Xin
Using resources specifically available in China, this course combines lectures, guest lectures, field trips, and faculty-directed research projects to help students achieve an in-depth understanding of China's changing politics, economy, society, and culture.
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CAPS 4001 : China in Transition
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Xu Xin
Using resources specifically available in China, this course combines lectures, guest lectures, field trips, and faculty-directed research projects to help students achieve an in-depth understanding of China's changing politics, economy, society, and culture.
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CAPS 4002 : Chinese Perspectives on International and Global Affairs
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
This course, offered by faculty members of Peking University's School of International Studies, provides Chinese perspectives on contemporary China's international relations.
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CAPS 4002 : Chinese Perspectives on International and Global Affairs
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
This course, offered by faculty members of Peking University's School of International Studies, provides Chinese perspectives on contemporary China's international relations.
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CAPS 4010 : Honors Thesis Tutorial I
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Xu Xin
Jessica Weiss
Nick Admussen
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 judgement of the viability of the student's honors thesis by the end of the semester.
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CAPS 4020 : Honors Thesis Tutorial II
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Allen Carlson
Nick Admussen
Honors students complete research and finish a thesis on a topic of their own choosing under the direction of a faculty member.
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CAPS 4030 : Issues in China and Asia-Pacific Studies
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Allen Carlson
This course serves as the wrap-up seminar for CAPS students.  It is designed for CAPS seniors to review the critical issues and topics in China and Asia-Pacific Studies from broader theoretical perspectives, to engage in academic discourse and policy debate about implications of China rising, to reflect on their four-year learning experience in Ithaca, Washington, D.C., and Beijing as students of contemporary China studies, and to enhance their abilities to pursue future studies and/or careers that are related to their CAPS experience after graduating from Cornell.  The seminar is organized around the central theme - China rising - and roughly divided into three sections:  (1) China's rise and the "paradigm change" in world politics; (2) China's quest for identity and order; and (3) implications of China rising for the U.S. and the world.  Under each of these sections, a few specific topics are identified for class discussion.
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CAPS 4127 : The Body Politic in Asia
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 4415, ASIAN 6615, FGSS 4127, FGSS 6127, HIST 4127, HIST 6127 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Kristin Roebuck
Visions of bodily corruption preoccupy ruler and ruled alike and prompt campaigns for moral, medical, and legal reform in periods of both stability and revolution.  This seminar explores the links between political, sexual, and scientific revolutions in early modern and modern Asia.  The focus is on China and Japan, with secondary attention to South Asia and Korea.  Interaction with the West is a major theme.  Topics include disease control, birth control and population control, body modification, the history of masculinity, honorific violence and sexual violence, the science of sex, normative and stigmatized sexualities, fashion, disability, and eugenics.  The course begins with an exploration of regimes of the body in "traditional" Asian cultures.  The course then turns to the medicalization and modernization of the body under the major rival political movements in Asia: feminism, imperialism, nationalism, and communism.
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CAPS 4355 : Work and Labor in China
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 4443, ILRIC 4355 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Eli Friedman
This course provides an overview of the various features of work and labor in contemporary China. After a brief section on historical background, we will analyze how market reforms have impacted work for Chinese employees, and how unions, employers, the state, NGOs, and workers themselves have responded to these changes. Additionally, this course will situate China's changing labor relations within the broader global context.
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CAPS 4406 : Readings in Chinese History and Business Culture
Crosslisted as: CHIN 4406, CHIN 6606 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Zhihong Chen
This course is designed for those who have studied Mandarin to the advanced level (or equivalent). The course aims to continuously improve students' Chinese proficiency while, at the same time, preparing them for studying or working in a Chinese native environment. Along with the growth of Chinese economy, issues on Chinese business and economy become a hot topic. Following this trend, authentic Chinese materials selected from a variety of sources will be introduced in class to enhance students' Chinese professional skills and promote their understanding of the macro and micro business environment as well as the economic history, present, and future of China and its partners in the global economy.
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CAPS 4418 : Stories of the Strange and the Marvelous from the Tang Dynasty
Crosslisted as: CHLIT 4418, CHLIT 6618 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Ding Xiang Warner
Through guided reading in Chinese, students in this course explore topics, themes and techniques that define the body of works known as chuanqi (stories of the marvelous) and zhiguai (stories of the strange). The aim of the course is to help students achieve an appreciation for the early development of Chinese narrative tradition in the context of Chinese literary and popular culture of Tang dynasty China.
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CAPS 4827 : China, Tibet and Xinjiang
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 4448, GOVT 4827, GOVT 6827 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Allen Carlson
Seminar intended to examine the increasingly complex relationship that has evolved between China and the rest of the international system, with particular focus on the rise of Chinese nationalism and the extent to which those in Tibet, Xinjiang, and, to a lesser extent, Taiwan, are contesting such a trend. In so doing, the course emphasizes the interrelated, yet often contradictory, challenges facing Beijing in regards to the task of furthering the cause of national unity while promoting policies of integration with international society and interdependence with the global economy.
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CAPS 4888 : Directed Study - Beijing
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
This directed study course allows CAPS students to enroll at Beida (Peking University) in courses offered to international students by the Peking University School of International Studies.
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CAPS 4888 : Directed Study - Beijing
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
This directed study course allows CAPS students to enroll at Beida (Peking University) in courses offered to international students by the Peking University School of International Studies.
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CAPS 4931 : Vitality and Power in China
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 4429, BSOC 4911, HIST 4931, HIST 6931, RELST 4931, STS 4911 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Tj Hinrichs
Chinese discourses have long linked the circulation of cosmic energies, political power, and bodily vitalities. In these models political order, spiritual cultivation, and health are achieved and enhanced through harmonizing these flows across the levels of Heaven-and-Earth, state, and humankind. It is when these movements are blocked or out of synchrony that we find disordered climates, societies, and illness. In this course, we will examine the historical emergence and development of these models of politically resonant persons and bodily centered polities, reading across primary texts in translation from these otherwise often separated fields. For alternate frameworks of analysis as well as for comparative perspectives, we will also examine theories of power and embodiment from other cultures, including recent scholarship in anthropology and critical theory.
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CAPS 4998 : Inquiry in Politics and Policy
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
David Silbey
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.
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CAPS 4999 : CAPS Independent Study
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Xu Xin
Allen Carlson
Jessica Weiss
Su George
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.
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CAPS 4999 : CAPS Independent Study
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Xu Xin
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.
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