Faculty of Arts


China and the World

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for POLITICS 354.


This course is about China’s foreign relations since 1978, a topic of immense importance for both China and the world. On the one hand, China’s emergence as a diplomatic and economic heavyweight is shifting the global balance of power, shaping the responses of governments and intergovernmental organisations and posing fundamental questions about the nature of world order itself. Indeed, China’s rise is perhaps the most significant geopolitical event since the fall of the Roman Empire. On the other hand, China’s status as the world’s fastest growing economy, the leading producer of carbon emissions and its enduring reputation as a human rights violator all make it a key country of interest for an array of governmental and non-governmental actors wishing to effect domestic changes.

The course is designed as an introduction to China’s role in international affairs and impact on the global economy, polity and environment. By its end, you should have an understanding of why and how particular Chinese foreign policies are and an appreciation of the key issues China confronts as a key global player. The overarching goal of the course, however, is to develop students’ critical and analytical thinking skills. This aim is affected through a variety of written assignments designed to encourage curiosity and creativity and allow students to focus on topics of particular interest to them.


The course consists of 12 two-hour lectures throughout the semester. Recordings of the lectures will be made available online.

For students enrolled at the Stage II level, lectures are supplemented by a weekly tutorial session at which the tutor will lead discussions based on questions submitted by students about course readings, and offer guidance on essay and exam writing techniques. Students enrolled at the Stage III level will participate in an ungraded weekly discussion hour run by the lecturer.

All students are required to complete one critical review essay, take a midterm test one hour in length, and sit a final examination, as well as attend and participate in tutorial/discussion sessions. The expectations and assessment standards will be benchmarked to Stage II courses for those enrolled in POLITICS 254 and benchmarked to Stage III courses for those in POLITICS 354.   

View the course syllabus

Availability 2018

Semester 2


Coordinator(s) Dr Stephen Noakes


POLITICS 354: 15.0 points


30 points at Stage II in Communication, or Political Studies or Politics and International Relations, or POLITICS 106 and 30 points at Stage II in Global Politics and Human Rights



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