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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: China's foreign and security policy: a twentieth-century perspective (PGHC11384)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores themes and issues in China's foreign policy through the lens of the entire twentieth century. Thus, the time period covered by the course takes in the final years of the Qing Empire, the years of China's quest for a republican political settlement, including the Nationalist Republic of China, and finally the People's Republic of China.
Course description The intellectual purpose of this course is to query presentist understandings of China's foreign and security policy, by analysing issues that are ostensibly of current vintage in their historical context. Adopting this diachronic comparative perspective will allow students to appreciate, e.g., the extent to which public, collective memories of China's period as a weak state affect the PRC's concern with sovereignty in international relations, or the historical dimensions of the question of Muslim Central Asia in Chinese foreign policy.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate in, in their essay for the course, a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning China's foreign and security policy in the twentieth century
  2. Demonstrate, in class discussions, an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon scholarship concerning China's foreign and security policy in the twentieth century, and relevant primary source materials and conceptual discussions
  3. Demonstrate in an ability to understand and apply specialised research or professional skills, techniques and practices considered in the course, especially the ability to distinguish between historical and political science approaches to understanding the study of foreign relations
  4. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form in seminar discussions, presentations, and by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course
  5. Demonstrate in seminar discussions, presentations, and online forum posts originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy
Reading List
Dennis J. Blasko, "Always faithful: the PLA from 1949 to 1989", in David A. Graff and Robin Higham (eds.), A military history of China (Boulder: Westview, 2002)

Bernard D. Cole, "More Red than Expert: Chinese Sea Power during the Cold War", in Andrew Erickson, Lyle Goldstein, Carnes Lord (eds.), China Goes to Sea: Maritime Transformation in Comparative Historical Perspective (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2009), pp.320-340

Bruce A. Elleman, "The Neglect and Nadir of Chinese Maritime Policy under the Qing", in Erickson, Goldstein, Lord, China Goes to Sea, pp.288-319

Joseph W. Esherick, "China and the World: From Tribute to Popular Nationalism," in Brantly Womack (ed.), China's Rise in Historical Perspective (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2010), pp. 19-38

John K. Fairbank and S. Y. TĂȘng, "On The Ch'ing Tributary System", Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Jun., 1941), pp. 135-246

John W. Garver, Foreign Relations of the People's Republic of China (Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall, 1993), pp. 2-30 (Ch. 1: "The Legacy of the Past")

William C. Kirby, "Traditions of centrality, authority, and management in modern China's foreign policy", in David Shambaugh, Thomas Robinson, Chinese foreign policy: theory and practice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), pp.13-30

Kenneth Lieberthal, "Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy," in Harry Harding (ed.), Chinese Foreign Relations in the 1980's (New Haven: Yale University Press), pp. 43-70

Andrew J. Nathan and Robert S. Ross, Great Wall and Empty Fortress (New York: W.W. Norton, 1997), pp. 19-34 (Ch. 2: "Legacies")

Michael Ng-Quinn, "The Analytic Study of Chinese Foreign Policy," International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 2 (June 1983), pp. 203-224

Julia Strauss, idem (ed.), Strong institutions in weak polities: state building in Republican China, 1927-1940 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), Ch.6, "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Institution Building in a Generalist Organization"

Yang Kuisong, "The Sino-Soviet Border Clash of 1969: From Zhenbao Island to Sino-American Rapprochement," Cold War History, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2000), pp. 21-52
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The study of the past gives students a unique understanding of the present that will enable them to succeed in a broad range of careers. The transferable skills gained from this course include:
- understanding of complex issues and how to draw valid conclusions from the past
- ability to analyse the origins and development of current political and historiographical questions
- a command of bibliographical and library- and/or IT-based online and offline research skills
- a range of skills in reading and textual analysis
- ability to question and problematize evidence; considering the relationship between evidence and interpretation
- understanding ethical dimensions of research and their relevance for human relationships today
- ability to marshal arguments lucidly, coherently and concisely, both orally and in writing
- ability to deliver a paper or a presentation in front of peer audiences
- ability to design and execute pieces of written work and to present them suitably, as evidenced by the final assessment essay of 3,000 words
KeywordsChina Foreign Policy
Course organiserDr Felix Boecking
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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