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POL3104 : The Fall and Rise of China (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Michael Barr
  • Teaching Assistant: Ms Yuanyuan Liu
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


•       To provide a comprehensive introduction to Chinese politics, with particular emphasis on the Reform era
•       To understand key political structures, actors, and processes within mainland China
•       To understand a range of key issues in Chinese domestic and foreign policy
•       To situate the rise of China within its historical and geopolitical context
•       To give students a critical appreciation of the complexity of modern Chinese politics and to enable them to critically assess competing claims made by both China and by Western governments

Outline Of Syllabus

How has China managed to develop so rapidly and what are the consequences of its ascent? How is its newfound power re-shaping the geopolitical landscape? This module aims to provide a well- rounded assessment of modern Chinese politics, with particular emphasis on events since the 1978 Open Door Policy initiated by Deng Xiaoping. We will first examine the historical context behind China's rise (the so-called ‘Century of Humiliation’), then look at the workings of the Communist Party and the possibilities for political reform. The bulk of the course will consider a range of key issues, including: the revival of Confucian politics, China’s environmental crisis, the changing nature of state and society relations, critical problems posed by the rural/urban divide, nationalism, soft power, the propaganda war over Tibet and human rights, Sino-US relations, and China's search for energy and resources in Africa and SE Asia.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials181:0018:00Newly recorded, non-synchronous videos and slides, captioned.
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials93:0027:00Guided readings; online videos; formative feedback exercises via Canvas
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1135:00135:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Synchronous seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time91:009:00Synchronous; Q&A Feedback with Liu and Barr
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time12:002:00Synchronous assessment preparation exercise (week 10)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are crucial to provide students with an introduction to key ideas, actors, and events of Chinese politics. Lectures make extensive use of power point slides to help re-enforce students’ understanding. The lecturers own expertise and research into these topics provides engaging examples and contributes towards the goal of research informed teaching. Seminars will allow students to follow up these ideas and issues by asking questions and debating amongst themselves. It provides the context for students to articulate their knowledge and understanding and to help them prepare for written assessment.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination3002A10048 hour take home exam
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The unseen written examination will assess the student’s knowledge, understanding and critical analysis of topics covered during lectures, guided learning activities, and seminars. It is designed to give students the chance to demonstrate their broad knowledge of the curriculum. Students will have to choose from a list of essay questions which are cross-cutting from module content.

Reading Lists