This is a particularly exciting time to know what is going on in China today. After its unification in 1949, China remained poor, undeveloped and isolated from the rest of the world until 1978, when economic reform initiated a new era. Since initiating market reforms in 1978, China has shifted from a centrally-planned to a market-based economy and has experienced rapid economic and social development. GDP growth has averaged nearly 10 percent a year—the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history—and has lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty. China has been undergoing a social transformation of which the scope, rapidity and impact are unprecedented in human history; all aspects of Chinese society are changing fundamentally and forever.
The seminar will offer an introduction to some of the most prominent features of Chinese society, an overview of modern China that includes the government, politics, and the economy; educational system, differences between rural and urban China; wealth disparity and social inequality; migration; marriage and family; minorities and ethnicity; and religion. Through in-class lectures, student presentations, and field excursions, the seminar will provide you with a substantive introduction to sociological perspectives of China that will allow you to understand social changes in China and their long-term impact on not only the 1.3 billion Chinese now living in China—the largest population in the world today—but also people living elsewhere in developed as well as developing countries.
Professor Xie has previously had such guest lecturers as Jet Li, Chinese actor and producer, to speak about his philanthropic activities; C.H. Tung, the first Chief Executive of Hong Kong, to speak on Sino-US relations; venture capitalists; Chinese health care experts and lawyers, among others.
Classes will be held at Yuanpei College, Peking University’s preeminent residential college, and there will be numerous excursions throughout the country to examine China’s growing wealth and social disparities and the impact of fast-paced economic growth on society as well as the regional differences in culture and traditions of China.
Among the excursions will be a weekend trip to examine rural life, minorities and religion in China. This trip to Datong includes visits to the magnificent Yungang Grottoes and incredible Hanging Monastery. The ancient town of Pingyao may also be included. Another weekend excursion is a visit to Shanghai, a highly historical town and and unique economic zone located south of Beijing. China is unique in its economic growth model and Shanghai is representative of China’s phenomenal growth. The visit will include tours of Shanghai’s stock exchange, factory and business incubator visits, and historic facets of Shanghai.
Yu Xie joined Princeton University in 2015 as the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Sociology and PIIRS. His main areas of interest are social stratification, demography, statistical methods, Chinese studies and the sociology of science.
Yan Bennett | 609-258-7149 | 365 Wallace Hall
The course fulfills the Social Analysis (SA) requirement and the departmental requirements for Sociology (SOC) and East Asian Studies (EAS). It may be used to fulfill the requirements for the East Asian Studies Program Certificate or the East Asian Studies Department Language and Culture Certificate. Language instruction will be offered at the beginner (no prior training) and advanced (conversational) levels.
Costs and Financial Aid
The course fee is $5,700, which includes all housing, required course excursions, related academic expenses, visa, and estimated airfare ($1,650). World Travel, the University travel agency, will book all participants’ flights. Details on the required booking process will be provided by the seminar administrator.
All participants should budget an additional $400 for personal expenses. Participants should also be prepared to cover costs of required and routine immunizations as recommended by University Health Services. Immunization costs are fully covered in the University’s Student Health Plan. For students covered by other insurance plans, please check with the insurance company for their fees.
PIIRS provides generous funding to help meet these costs to participants who receive term financial aid. Students accepted into a Global Seminar and receive term financial aid will automatically receive funding toward the course fee based on the level of term aid. Possibilities for additional financial support may be available through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE). Princeton Subsidized Student Loans, available from the Office of Financial Aid, are also highly recommended over charging costs to a credit card. Please consult Financing Options for Students and Parents 2018–19 and contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.
If you are selected, a non-refundable deposit of $500, charged to your student account, will be required to hold your place in the program. The remaining balance will be handled through Student Accounts by late April.
This seminar is sponsored by the Paul and Marcia Wythes Center on Contemporary China and generously funded by the Drs. Charles C. and Marie S. Yu P83 Global Seminar Fund.