Spring 2022 - IS 419 D100

Special Topics II (4)

China in the World

Class Number: 5333

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Specific details of courses to be offered will be published prior to enrollment each term.



Considers how the global economic recession of the late 2000s has coincided with the rise of global China. Examines the origins of Chinese international development, and its effects in receiving communities in Chinese frontiers in Northwest China and Hong Kong, and along China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Southeast Asia, Middle East and Africa. The course prioritizes ethnographic studies that are deeply situated in receiving communities to consider the relationship between colonialism and capitalism, and how both are constrained by national and international political and economic systems. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.


China’s international development should not be thought of as only a geographic phenomenon in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa, but also as a global field of power. This course will focus on three primary forms of Chinese international development and their social and political effects. First it will consider how Chinese state capital is invested in infrastructure projects ranging from roads and dams to “safe city” surveillance systems and internet access. This form of economic state-craft and multinational corporate development both assists ongoing economic growth from localities across China and builds a material basis from which additional relations of power or influence are solidified and, potentially, can be institutionalized. Second it will examine the development of interpersonal relationships with key leaders in positions of power in the receiving locality; or in some cases with diaspora Chinese who are positioned at the grassroots of society. Third it will explore how discursive power is deployed largely through newspapers and television, social media and films and the reshaping of official discourse and industry standards in ways that further cements power relations.


Drawing on case studies at Chinese frontiers in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, before moving on to Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Africa this course will explore the differences and similarities between Chinese led development and development led by North American and European actors. How are Chinese developments experienced from the perspective of receiving communities and from the perspectives of state authorities in receiving nations? How does geography, legal protections, labour conditions shape these perspectives? How are these developments viewed by Chinese migrant workers, corporate managers, and Chinese state authorities? What are the relationships between colonialism and new forms of capitalism?


  • Weekly Reading Responses 30%
  • Participation 10%
  • Case Study Essay 20%
  • Final Essay 40%


Students will be required to submit their written assignments to Turnitin.com in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html.



Required readings will be available on Canvas, online, or in the SFU Library’s electronic collection.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.