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The rise of modern China is fascinating material for anyone to study. College students in particular are growing up into young professionals who will interact with Chinese culture and politics far more than previous generations. A nation of 1.3 billion people, with a unique history and set of values, China demands attention and respect from around the world. But what is life like in modern-day Chinese culture? What can we learn from China’s past to help us understand the future of Chinese involvement in international affairs?

Out of a desire to train students in relevant and real-world politics, the Department is offering a class on China for the Spring 2013 schedule. Modern Chinese Politics, taught by department chair Dr. Paul Rego and attended by both majors and non-majors, presents students with exciting class discussion that challenges assumptions about China.

In another class, International Politics, Dr. Dean Curry guides students through different units focused on the major regions of the world. Students in this class are also required to read a book on China. While some of the reading and discussion may vary, the goal is that students engage thoughtfully and critically with each class, adding to their knowledge about the globalized world and deepening their understanding of Chinese political and social systems. Here are some of the books politics students are reading this semester:

China1

For International Politics. . .

In China Shakes the World, James Kynge details the rise of the Chinese economy and predicts the challenges the country will face in the future—including energy and environmental concerns—that will have far-reaching impacts around the world. Students are asked to write a paper in response to Kynge’s argument. Students also participate through social media on Twitter to share relevant political news outside of class.

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China2

For Chinese Politics. . .

Since this entire class is focused on China, students need a basic understanding of Chinese culture and society before delving into what makes up present day China. The first book they are reading is China’s New Confucianism by Daniel A. Bell, a Canadian professor teaching in China. Exploring some of the less-known aspects of Chinese culture, Bell takes readers through the basic tenets of Confucianism, through the karaoke bars of Chinese night life, the treatment of domestic workers, and the Chinese education system. Students in this class have already written research papers about the history of marriage in China and Chinese theory of just war, to name a few topics.

These classes offer only a snapshot of the wide range of possibilities for Politics majors interested in world affairs. We hope students are as excited as we are about new classes like this…maybe a few of them will choose to study in China through Messiah’s study abroad program!

“To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.”

-Confucius

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