Globalization and Urbanization: China's Urban Transformation and What It Means for the World

East China Normal University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Globalization and Urbanization: China's Urban Transformation and What It Means for the World

  • Host University

    East China Normal University

  • Location

    Shanghai, China

  • Area of Study

    Anthropology, Asian Studies, Development Studies, International Studies, Sociology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Description

    Today, the world is an urban place- more than half of the world's population lives in towns and cities. It is especially important to understand urban development in developing countries, where the great bulk of urban growth is now taking place. This course examines China's urbanization in the past 6 decades, including its processes, forces and problems. Since the second half of 20th century, China has undergone unprecedented urban transformation that in turn is changing the landscape of this most populous country. The urbanization rate in China grew from roughly 10% in 1949, to 17.9% in 1978, to 26.2% in 1990, to 36.1% in 2000, and to 49.7% in 2010. China just crossed the 50% mark in 2011 and transformed from a rural to a predominantly urban society, which poses enormous opportunities as well as challenges for China. 

    This course introduces students to the recent literature on the immense urban transformation and offers a critical understanding of China's urbanization, social-spatial restructuring and urban issues. The course focuses on the post-1978 period, which fundamentally differs from the preceding 30 years of state socialism.

    The topics are mainly divided into four parts. Part I sets the context, describing the global context of urban development, China's geographical setting, and historical urban system. Part II focuses on the processes and the uniqueness of urbanization in China. Issues such as the socialist ideology, the household registration (hukou) system, rural-urban migration and globalization will be discussed. We will also pay special attention to the urban development in Shanghai. Part III outlines the social-spatial restructuring of Chinese cities in post-reform era. We will study the urban expansion on the edge as well as the urban renewal in the old city core. Part IV examines various urban issues emerging with the rapid urbanization, such as the massive migration, citizenship and assimilation, urban land and housing problems, urban inequality and social discontent, and environmental issues.

    This course will combine lectures, class discussions, documentary and book discussions, and fieldtrips to help students better grasp the course materials. Students will be engaged in active learning activities, such as synthesizing reading materials, identifying questions for discussion, leading discussion, writing book reviews, and research paper.


    Course Objectives

    At the end of this course, students will:

    • Be familiar with literature on urban development in China
    • Understand the processes and uniqueness of China's urbanization
    • Understand the impact of socialist ideology and institutions on urbanization
    • Be able to assess the impact of globalization on Chinese urbanization
    • Understand the pattern and dynamics of rural-urban migration and its implications
    • Be able to analyze the social-spatial restructuring of Chinese cities
    • Be able to discuss major urban issues in China
    • Be able to discuss the implications of China's urban transformation to the world

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations