The Drs. Charles C. & Marie S. Yu P83 Global Seminar

Apply here by February 13, 2018.

This is a particularly exciting time to know what is going on in China today. After its unification in 1949, following a “century of humiliation” between the Opium War that began in 1840 and the end of the Second World War, China remained poor, undeveloped and isolated from the rest of the world until 1978, when economic reform initiated a new era. Since 1978, 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, including work organizations, the education system, the urban/rural divide, migration, social inequality, marriage and family, ethnicity and religion. Through in-class lectures and presentations and interesting field excursions to sites within Beijing and western and southern China, 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, 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 Western China to examine rural life in China, including site visits to farms and elder care facilities.  This trip also includes a visit to the Crescent Moon Oasis and Singing Sand Dunes in the Gobi Desert; the Mogao Caves located on the ancient Silk Route where 1000-year old Buddhist art survives; the Yardang National Geopark; and the Labrang Tibetan Monastery in Xiahe County.  Another weekend excursion is a visit to Shenzhen in southern China, a unique economic zone located in Guangdong Province. China is unique in its economic growth model and southern China was its incubator. The visit will include tours of the SEG electronics market, the world's largest electronics trading market; Shenzhen Stock Exchange; GAC Motor Trumpchi automotive factory; and the African section of Guangzhou.

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 given at the beginner (no prior training) and advanced (conversational) levels.

Contact: Yan Bennett, ( 

Apply here:

Alternatively, go here: and search for PIIRS Global Seminar China - 2018


The course fee is $5,300, which includes all housing, required course excursions, related academic expenses, visa, and estimated airfare ($1,400). World Travel, the University travel agency, will book all participants’ flights. Details on the required booking process will be provided by seminar administrators.

All participants should budget an additional $600 for personal expenses. Participants should also be prepared to cover costs of required and routine immunizations as recommended by University Health Services. The immunization costs are covered in full for students enrolled in the University’s Student Health Plan. For students covered by families’ health insurance or other insurance plans, the associated costs will vary.

Financial Aid

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 2017–18, specifically pages 1 to 2 and table 3, and contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

To ensure a place in the seminar, a $500 nonrefundable deposit will be charged to participants’ accounts on April 13. The balance of the course fee will be charged to accounts on May 15.

Students who accept a place in a Global Seminar and then, before the seminar begins, withdraw or cannot participate because they are no longer enrolled at Princeton will lose the nonrefundable deposit and any unrecoverable costs. There are no refunds after the start of the program.

This seminar is cosponsored 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. PIIRS Global Seminars are also made possible in part by the generous contributions of alumni and friends and ongoing efforts of the Office of Development.