This 15-credit program offers 9 class hours per week of Chinese language as well as the opportunity to examine modern China through various area studies courses taught in English. Building upon a multi-disciplinary foundation spanning economics, environmental issues, and foreign policy, students engage with new elective coursework in contemporary visual arts and music, fashion and design, theater and dance, and film.
A new documentary film component that draws on Beijing’s status as China’s film mecca is now available to Beijing students. Based on our Pune program's documentary film component, this course seeks to explore students’ research interests through a visual instead of written medium.
Beginning in Spring 2014, Students must enroll in:
In addition, students choose from one of the options below:
BEIJ SOCI260 Contemporary Culture and Social Change in China (required, 3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
This course examines the transformation in Chinese society since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, with emphasis on the changes brought about in the wake of the economic reforms of the 1980s and 1990s. Topics include the developments in urban and rural social transformation introduced by the reforms, the changing relationship between the individual and society, the urban and rural divide, and population control and the one child policy. Students will explore the social consequences of China's rapid integration into the global economy. All students complete a Capstone Project as part of this course.
All area studies courses are taught in English and meet for three class hours per week. Class lectures, readings, and discussions are complimented with relevant fieldwork and site visits. Students must enroll in one from the following list. Students with at least three semesters of Chinese may elect to participate in a 3-credit internship as one of their electives.
Those elective courses listed in italics will be offered for Alliance students beginning in the Spring 2014 semester.
BEIJ ARTH370 Contemporary Visual Arts (3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
Beijing has become a global center for contemporary visual arts, and this course explores this evolution the end of the last imperial dynasty to the present time. Students examine how visual artists shaped and were shaped by massive transformations in Chinese society and by the international art movements over the past century. The course then provides a survey of China’s contemporary visual arts scene. Students gain a nuanced understanding of the evolution of contemporary visual art and the artists who create it and identify key players in today’s art world. Field visits to artists’ studios, galleries, auction houses, museums, and public arts spaces are incorporated alongside in-class activities.
BEIJ FADN355 Semiotics of Fashion and Design (3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
The days of drab and uniform Mao suits are long gone, and the Chinese people have entered the new millennium with style. The changing faces of fashion and design reflect larger scale changes in China as a whole, and fashion and design are also creating new cultural possibilities, distinctions, and identities. This course examines how fashion has been valued over the past century, from imperial times to the founding of the People’s Republic, and from the heyday of Communism to present day individualism. Students learn about both the production and the consumption of fashion, exploring how style travels from the minds of designers to factory floors to the streets of China and beyond.
BEIJ MUSC365 Jazz, Rock 'n’ Roll, and the Contemporary Chinese Music Scene (3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
Beijing is the center of China’s rock and roll universe. Rock and roll, or yaogun, emerged from the ashes of the Cultural Revolution during the collective re-examination of society that took place during the Reform and Opening Up era. How did a form of musical expression so alien to China become so mainstream? What social, cultural, and technological developments have played a role in the dissemination and development of yaogun? How have Chinese musicians encountered, embraced, or rejected “Western” rock and roll? Students not only learn about the contemporary music scene in China, but also develop a deeper understanding of Chinese society through its embrace of jazz and rock and roll.
BEIJ THTR375 Contemporary Performing Arts (3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
During the early years of the Communist Party, theater and dance were propaganda tools for the Communist Party, but since 2008, the National Center for the Performing Arts has brought a great range of weekly world-class performances to Beijing audiences. No longer only appreciated by a small group of professionals, this shift has deeply influenced the new generations of Chinese and profoundly shaped their world-views. Students discover the dramatic changes that have transformed performing arts from the 1970s to the present day, developing their understanding of this transformation’s social, political and cultural dimensions.
BEIJ ARCH391 Traditional to Cutting-Edge Architecture (3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
Beijing is an ancient city and home to some of the most cutting edge architectural projects in the world. In this course, students learn about architecture and city planning of imperial Beijing, covering its evolution during the Ming and Qing dynasties and the emergence of hutong (alleyway) neighborhoods. The second part of the semester delves into the radical changes that occurred after the 1949 revolution and how they shaped the city we see today. In addition, students learn about the various stakeholders involved in the transformation of the city, from city leaders to private development companies, and from private citizens to internationally famous architects and designers.
BEIJ FILM380 Documentary Film
The documentary film option allows students to conduct and present research through a visual rather than written medium. Working closely with a faculty member and, where necessary, an academic subject area expert, Alliance students are trained in the art and technique of documentary filmmaking. Introductory classes during the semester provide students with a basic foundation in the theory and history of documentary film, as well as teach them to develop critical skills in documentary film language, camera technique, and the craft of post-production. These sessions, complemented by various field exercises during the term, equip students with the skills need to produce a short film on their selected subject area. For all majors; no film background is required; students must provide their own digital cameras. This option is not currently available for summer students. Visit the Documentary Film page for more information.
BEIJ FILM360 Contemporary China through Film (3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
This course will examine contemporary China through study of the themes in Chinese cinema from the May Fourth and Republican era (1911-1949), the Maoist era (1949-1978) and the Reform era (1979-present), including films by 5th and 6th Generation Chinese directors. Students will explore the artistic merits of these films and will consider Chinese representations of the themes of cultural, social, and political change.
BEIJ ECON370 Opening and Reform: China's Economic Development Since 1978 (3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
In the last twenty-five years, China has been the fastest growing economy in the world. In this course, students will explore the historical stages and effectiveness of the economic policies that have shaped China's emergence as a major player in the global economy. Students will examine the challenges posed by economic development and the prospects for China's economic future.
BEIJ IAFF370 Introduction to Chinese Foreign Policy (3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
This class provides an overview of Chinese foreign policy from 1949 through 2008. The first six weeks of class present historical and cultural background from 1949-2002. The remaining portion of the semester is devoted to exploring China's foreign policy during the Hu Jintao administration (2003-present), providing an overview of foreign policy structures, principles, general practices, and characteristics of China's current interstate relationships.
BEIJ ENVI380 China and the Environment: Implications, Policies, and Prospects (3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
Understanding and responding to China’s environmental challenges is one of the most important tasks facing the Chinese government and its people as well as the international community. This course offers a comprehensive overview of these challenges from water and soil pollution to desertification and reforestation to energy and agricultural production, beginning with a historical overview of different phases of China’s relationship with its environment. The course also examines the ways in which China and the international community understand and respond to local, regional, and global dimensions of China’s economic growth and its environmental implications.
BEIJ INTS380 Internship (10-12 hours/week, 3 credits)
Students with at least three semesters of Chinese may elect to participate in a 3 credit internship to replace one of their area studies courses. Interns are placed in Chinese, joint-venture, or foreign-owned companies. Interns spend 10-12 hours per week (or 120 hours a semester) at the internship site and complete a research project that includes a 5,000 word paper and oral presentation. Internships are supervised by faculty advisor who meets with each student individually.
Chinese Language (required, 9 class hours per week, 6 credits)
No prior language study is required for admission. Upon taking a placement exam after arrival, students will be placed into the appropriate language level. Courses emphasize listening, reading, speaking, and writing. The Alliance programs teach Simplified Chinese Characters, which are standardized Chinese characters officially used in mainland China. Click here to view a full listing of textbooks and lessons by Alliance program and course.
The syllabi below reflect the 9 credit hour course being offered to Alliance students through Fall 2013. More information coming soon on our new 6 credit hour course syllabi.