Spring 2023 - IS 333 E100

Chinese Development and Its Discontents (4)

Class Number: 4994

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Tue, 5:30–9:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Explores China's stunning rise from Mao to global markets, with attention to social issues brought on by "the Chinese Development Model". Examines the bases of state legitimacy in contemporary China, challenges to state legitimacy, as well as state responses to these challenges.


Today, few questions pose greater significance to scholars and policymakers than the rise of China. This course provides an overview of contemporary Chinese political economy after market reforms began in the late 1970s and 1980s. We begin with a brief historical overview of China before 1949 and during the Mao era. We then examine how market reforms and other ongoing policy experimentation transformed Chinese state, market, and society. Finally, we consider issues of state legitimacy in contemporary China, challenges to state legitimacy, and state responses to these challenges.


After successfully completing this course, students should be able to:
• Describe in general terms how market reforms unfolded in China
• Analyze and critically assess contending perspectives on the impact of market reforms on contemporary Chinese society
• Build on a basic understanding of contemporary Chinese society to continue self-directed learning about China
• Identify the structure of evidence-based arguments
• Conduct a basic literature review


  • Class participation 15%
  • Weekly reading responses 25%
  • 2 x work-in-progress assignments (preparation for final assignment) 25%
  • Literature review (final assignment) 35%


Students can expect to read between 70-90 pages of academic journal articles or academic book chapters per week for this course. No textbooks will be used.

This course is taught in person, and attendance is compulsory. Students who have accessibility issues should write to the instructor to discuss possible alternative arrangements.

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.



Students are not required to purchase any textbooks for this course.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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