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Social Change in Contemporary China (ASIA90014)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2018
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeASIA90014
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject presents an overview of the patterns of social life in China and how these have changed since the revolution in 1949. The socialist transformations led by Mao Zedong after 1949 and the market and other reforms led by Deng Xiaoping after 1978 receive equal emphasis. Topics covered include political institutions, economic policies and work organizations, rural social life, urban life and urbanization, religion, family life, population, gender relations, schooling, and inequality patterns. The course will be taught by Martin Whyte, a sociologist from Harvard University and Asia Scholar at the University of Melbourne who specializes in research on social change in post-1949 China. Prof. Whyte’s lectures will focus on both the origins and dynamics of social change in China as well as current issues and debates spawned by these changes. Documentary films dealing with contemporary social patterns and trends in China may be shown outside of class hours.

Intended learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this subject should:

  • Gain an understanding of the origins of social change in contemporary China
  • Gain an understanding of social issues that arise from China’s rapid transition from a planned to a market economy and debates surrounding social change in China
  • Have an ability to apply research skills and critical methods to an enquiry
  • Develop skills in historical comparison through detailed consideration of how Chinese social life before the revolution, under socialism, and after market reforms compares and contrasts with social patterns in Western societies
  • Gain an ability to evaluate information from print and online media covering contemporary China.

Generic skills

Students who successfully complete this subject should be able to:

  • apply research skills and critical methods to a field of enquiry
  • demonstrate an ability to develop arguments and ideas effectively through seminar discussions
  • apply their analytical skills to conflicting online and historical material
  • show improvement in their writing skills through the final term paper.

Last updated: 20 October 2018