The relationship between China and the U.S. is arguably one of the most complex and yet extremely important bilateral relationships in the world today. How to manage this relationship has consequential impact on the future dynamics of international order and issues of global concerns. However, to fully understand the present and future challenges and opportunities between China and the U.S., one must study the long history of this intertwined relation tracing back to the Qing dynasty.
This course analyzes the historical context and contemporary developments of the U.S. – China relations. First, students will explore diverse aspects of the history of Sino-American relations since the early 19th century. We will cover major episodes such as the opening of Opium trade, the first and second world wars, Korean war, the Mao-Nixon rapprochement, the shadow of Cultural Revolution, and the post-Mao relationship. We will also examine central themes such as trade, diplomacy, migration, cultural perceptions, war, and revolution. The final section discusses several key aspects of the current U.S. – China relations including the liberal economy norm, human rights issue, territory disputes, arms embargo and blockage.