Sociology 285A Contemporary Chinese Society (W13) Course Description

I am preparing to teach a graduate seminar on contemporary Chinese society in the winter 2013 quarter.  This will be the first graduate seminar on China that I have had an opportunity to teach in years.  It will cover roughly the same topics as my upper division undergraduate lecture course on Chinese society, but of course at a much more advanced level, and via discussion as opposed to lecture.  The focus will be on 1) inequality and stratification, especially the inter-generational transmission of status, 2) family and household, and 3) population.

Here is the description I submitted for upload to the UCLA registrar’s site:

This class will survey changes in Chinese society from the middle of the twentieth century to the present, focusing on family and household, population, social mobility and inequality. The discussion of population will focus on the causes and long-term consequences of recent low levels of fertility. The discussion of social mobility and inequality will emphasize the intergenerational transmission of status, and interpret current trends and patterns into a long-term historical context.  Discussion family and household and population will on the interactions with economic and political context. Major themes of the class will be contrasts and similarities between Chinese and Western society, sources and methods for the quantitative study of Chinese society, and the place of China in the social sciences.

To facilitate discussion during class, students will post a short written response to a prompt every week.  They will also complete and present a final project.  Given the foci of the class, the ideal final project would be a quantitative analysis of a contemporary or historical dataset for China.  Of course, I am open to other modalities, including qualitative research, or a detailed literature review in an area close to the student’s interests.

I am still working on the schedule and readings.  In the meantime, the list of weekly readings for my spring 2012 upper division undergraduate Chinese society class 181B provides some sense of what the class will look like, and the specific topics to be covered:

The course number is 747508200.  Here is the entry at the registrar’s Schedule of Classes:

Graduate students from outside sociology are welcome to enroll.  The course would be enriched by the presence of students from different disciplines.  Even though much of the assigned reading is quantitative, no prior training in quantitative or demographic methods is necessary.