Courses by semester

Courses for Fall 2023

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

CAPS2132 Law and Society in Early Modern and Modern China
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.

Full details for CAPS 2132 - Law and Society in Early Modern and Modern China

CAPS2232 Introduction to China: Getting Rich in Modern China
People outside China often talk about "China's rise," the changes in world economics and politics that come from the increase of the economic power of the People's Republic. From a domestic perspective, though, China's rise represents a promise to regular people that they will lead richer lives, both literally and figuratively. This course will examine the nature and history of that promise as it is experienced through literature, film, and other cultural texts. Why and how do PRC citizens want to get rich, and what happens when they don't? How does economic class shape identity in contemporary China? Can parts of the population be happy outside of the pursuit of material wealth?

Full details for CAPS 2232 - Introduction to China: Getting Rich in Modern China

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

CAPS2281 Gender, Family, and Confucianism in East Asia
This course offers a broad understanding of the crucial roles East Asian women played in culture, the economy, and society from antiquity to the early twentieth century. By rethinking the pervasive stereotype of the passive and victimized East Asian women under by staunch Confucian patriarchy, it aims to examine women's struggles, negotiations, and challenges of the normative discourse of femininity, with a focus on patrilineal family, the female body and reproduction, domesticity and women's economic labor, women's work, literacy and knowledge, and the modernization of women. We will examine how Confucian notions of gender and family were, far from being fixed, constantly redefined by the historical and temporal needs of East Asian contexts. This examination is undertaken through a combination of reading original texts and secondary scholarship in various disciplines, including philosophy, anthropology, history, literature, and material culture.

Full details for CAPS 2281 - Gender, Family, and Confucianism in East Asia

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

CAPS3370 Nature and Ecology in Ancient Chinese Travel Writing
This course traces the development of travel writing from the Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 221) to the Song dynasty (960–1279). Special attention is paid to the ways in which Chinese writers have ceaselessly negotiated humankind's relationship with the natural world in their accounts of travel—both imagined and actual. Readings include poetry, prose, and philosophical works, all in English translation.

Full details for CAPS 3370 - Nature and Ecology in Ancient Chinese Travel Writing

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

CAPS4002 Chinese Perspectives on International and Global Affairs
This course, offered by faculty members of Peking University's School of International Studies, provides Chinese perspectives on contemporary China's international relations.

Full details for CAPS 4002 - Chinese Perspectives on International and Global Affairs

Fall, Spring.
CAPS4003 Experiencing Global China
This seminar course aims to examine how contemporary China has been seeking meaningful values and effective institutions which could realistically link past, present, and future in its modernization drive. It is offered for students who participate in the CAPS study abroad semester in Beijing, and organized under the five topics – historical China, developmental China, digital China, environmental China, and governing China – from an interdisciplinary and Global China perspective.

Full details for CAPS 4003 - Experiencing Global 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.
CAPS4406 Readings in Chinese History and Business Culture
This course is designed for those who have completed Mandarin of advanced level (or equivalent). It aims to further improve students' Chinese proficiency in a business history and transcultural context to provide students with a greater preparation for future studies and career endeavors in a native Chinese environment. China's rapid economic growth has aroused keen interest in discussion of China's business and economy on a global scale. To aid students in understanding China's unprecedented rise, authentic Chinese materials selected from a variety of sources will be introduced in class. These course materials introduce both China's past, present, and future, as well as its current role and challenges in the global economy. Key topics for discussion provide insight into the Chinese way of doing business and the multifaceted nature of China's micro and macro business environment.

Full details for CAPS 4406 - Readings in Chinese History and Business Culture

CAPS4420 Tang Poetry: Themes and Contexts
Through guided readings in Chinese of selected poems of the Tang dynasty (618-907) on various themes and in different styles, students develop the essential analytical skills for reading Tang poetry while gaining an understanding of its social, cultural, and historical contexts.

Full details for CAPS 4420 - Tang Poetry: Themes and Contexts

CAPS4827 China, Tibet and Xinjiang
CAPS4888 Directed Study - Beijing
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.

Full details for CAPS 4888 - Directed Study - Beijing

Fall, Spring.
CAPS4998 Experiential Learning in Policy Making in Washington DC
The core course at Cornell in Washington is an experiential learning class that focuses on engaging with the professional experience of being in DC. Its primary purposes are to give students to build their understanding of their internship work by analyzing and reflecting on that work, understanding the context and structures of the policy and political world with which they are engaging, and learning and practicing the professional forms of writing that that world uses. This process occurs through readings, written assignments, guest speakers, and signature events.

Full details for CAPS 4998 - Experiential Learning in Policy Making in Washington DC

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.