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Honoursmodule: China, the Rising Power

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Ardi Bouwers

Entry requirements 

For 2nd or 3rd year honours students only. 

Recommended prior knowledge

Follow China in the news.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the course the student can:

  • Describe the most important political, economic, social and cultural developments in China in the 21st Century.
  • Identify dilemmas concerning China’s economic and political rise, differentiating between a Western and a Chinese perspective.
  • Analyze different scenarios for China’s future.
  • Formulate and defend a position on China’s future, from a political, social or economic perspective and from the perspective of their own discipline.


China’s Rise is one of the most important developments of the 21st century. Chances are that you will study in China or work with Chinese people in the future. As it presents itself in an increasingly assertive manner on the world stage, the number two economy of the world can’t be ignored anymore. Some call it Amazing China, others Dystopian China. There seems to be no room for middle ground in discussions.

This course will provide you with the necessary background on contemporary China to form your own opinion. We will identify dilemmas concerning China’s rise from both Western and Chinese perspectives. We will discuss questions such as: What is the Century of Humiliation? How successful is the Belt and Road Initiative? Copycat culture or creative industry? How is China governed? Will the Communist Party survive? Why are people in Hong Kong taking to the streets? What is the role of media and social media? What is the social credit system? Will China become world leader in the field of Artificial Intelligence? In 2049, 100 years after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, where will the country be? After considering these issues, we will produce and assess wide-ranging scenarios for mid-21st century China.

Guest speakers will be: Bei Wang (expert on Chinese media) and prof. Jeroen de Kloet (Globalization).

Class contents

  • Seminars
  • Selfstudy
  • Work independently on project / thesis


  • Participation
  • Formulate two critical questions before each class (individual).
  • Group presentation on different scenarios for China in 2049 (groups of 2 or 3).
  • Essay elaborating on a scenario of your choice (individual).

Min/max participants



The schedule will be available on Datanose .

Study material

  • Elizabeth Economy (2019), The Third Revolution, Xi Jinping and the new Chinese state, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0190866075 Costs: €16,99 
  • Newspaper articles


Registration is possible for students participating in an Honours programme via an online registration form which will be made available on December 1, 10 am till December 5, 11 pm on this website. 

Placement will be at random and within two weeks students will hear whether they are placed for a course. 

There is NO guarantee for placement if you register after December 5, so make sure you register on time! 

For questions about registration please email to: Honours-iis@uva.nl 


The IIS strives to reflect current societal issues and challenges in the educational offer and attempts to integrate the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) in this course. For more information about these goals, please visit the SDG's website.

Facts & Figures
Mode Honours programme
Credits 6 ECTS,
Language of instruction English
Starts in February, September