China’s relationship with the United States reaches back to when the newly independent colonies of America encountered the Qing Empire at its pinnacle and is among the richest and most vibrant in the world. There has been a mutual fascination throughout, and by twists and turns it has evolved from reciprocity and cooperation into interdependence and rivalry.
This course traces the evolution of the relationship through portrayals of significant figures at the center of the action over time: sea captains and traders, missionaries and spies, artists and mercenaries, politicians and bankers. Assigned readings form the basis for in-class discussions, debates and role-play, allowing students to understand not only U.S. but also Chinese perspectives. The course takes students through the cultural, economic and political dimensions of the Sino-American relationship, as well as its impact on other regions of the world, to gain an informed preparedness for what may well be the most consequential relationship of the 21st century.
Field WorkCountry: China
Date: February 5, 2020
Shanghai is one of China’s youngest major cities and yet one of its most prominent and most international. It transformed from backwater to trading hub in the 19th century, and grew into a magnet for adventurers and migrants from across China and the world. It was the birthplace of the Chinese Communist Party, and its multinational character made it a haven for Jews fleeing wartime Europe. We shall visit the Oriental Pearl Tower for a view from above, explore an expansive museum of historical scale models of old Shanghai, and then join renowned city historian Patrick Cranley for a walking tour of the French Concession, the Hongkew Ghetto, and the iconic Bund waterfront.
1. Explore the multinational fabric of Shanghai past and present
2. Understand the importance and logic of a divided international city as a haven for refugees from Europe
3. Witness one of the iconic symbols of East-West relations and learn how Shanghai has become a new center for global commerce