This course will provide students with an overview of the multifaceted relations between the United States and China going back to the first encounters at the end of the 18th century. Relations between the two countries have been at times friendly and at times adversarial, particularly during the first two decades after the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Now that China has emerged as one of the major superpowers in the world, the history of how China and the United States have interacted with each other is now more important than ever, since a greater understanding between the two global leaders in the world will insure that we work together to solve the seminal challenges the world now faces. Some of the issues to be investigated will include representations of the other in each country, the first Americans to visit China and the first Chinese to travel to the United States, and the major political events that involved both countries from the 19th century up to the present. We will focus particularly on the mostly competitive contacts during the Cold War years, including the Korean and Vietnam Wars, competition for influence in the Third World, as well as the gradual opening of relations beginning in the 1970s. Students will also gain insight into how the U.S. and China are at work either cooperatively or competitively in each of the ports where we will visit, along with the collective memories of both countries across Europe, Africa, and Asia. Students will not merely be studying the history of relations between the U.S. and China as external observers, but as we reach Shanghai it will become apparent that they are also 21st century participants in these relations.
Field WorkCountry: China
Date: November 29, 2018
This field class will explore the history of Shanghai from a treaty port to a 21st century metropolis and as a site of international encounter. We will begin the day with a tour of the Bund and will gain a vantage point of the old Shanghai on one side of the river and the blossoming of modernity on the other. We will visit the Shanghai Municipal Historical Museum to comprehend the history of Shanghai’s development, and also The Propaganda Art Center to contemplate representations of China’s revolutionary past. In the afternoon, the class will meet with the Reuters Shanghai Bureau Chief, who will discuss the international media and China, and also some U.S. diplomats base in Shanghai.
- Explore and comprehend Shanghai as a central site of contact between the U.S. and China.
- Acquire a broader understanding of U.S.-Chinese relations in the context of Western imperialism in China and the history of revolution in China through a visit to the Shanghai Municipal History Museum.
- Describe the development of Shanghai from a treaty port in the 19th century to the modern, international metropolis it has become.