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Emerging Markets - BRICS & CIVETS Resources @ Pitt (Brazil, India, Russia, China, South Africa & Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, South Africa and more ...): China Today

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Course Info

Image of Shanghai skyline by Pete Stewart from Perth, Australia at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

China Today: Economy, Technology, and People

Class times: 5pm Friday, October 25, 2013 to 1pm Sunday, October 27, 2013 (100 Porter Hall, Carnegie Mellon University).

China Today is a one-credit (Pitt)/ three-unit (CMU) mini course, consisting of 14 hours of classes over a weekend, with a major paper assignment to be completed for credit. This course is created for undergraduate and graduate students. However, K-12 educators, business and community members are welcome to attend all or sections of the course for free. The course will open with two keynote lectures on Friday evening on an overview of the issues. This will be followed by instructional lectures on Saturday on the various themes by experts in the fields.  Sunday morning will be a discussion of two case studies and a panel discussion by the speakers on future challenges and some possible projections/ recommendations.



As global citizens, students need to have a working knowledge of other countries, which are important in shaping the corporate, social and political world. As a rising state in the world economy, China’s status in the business and in world affairs is shifting.


Course Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the course, the students will:

1. Have a general understanding of the corporate, geo-political, cultural and social factors that define China's economic, cultural and technological landscape at the present time.

2. Explore one of these factors in depth, through the research paper.


This short course will explore how various intersections of economy, society, and identity interact in China and in the perceived position of China as an emerging world economy.

It will explore questions such as:

•How does China's history and diversity reflect in the policies and the economy of China today? In the way Chinese react with the market?

•What are today’s challenges in attaining equity in quality of life in China? What are some of its greatest needs?

•What are impediments to China's economic and business growth?

•What are the challenges of multinational firms in developing countries and how can those challenges be overcome?

•What are some of the salient features of the U.S.-Chinese Relations?

•How have cultural traditions and modernizations integrated in China? What have been some cultural responses to globalization?

•What lies ahead? What are the opportunities and challenges in China's immediate future?



Due to the immersive nature of the course, students are expected to attend all sessions on all three days. Further, each student will be required to read the assigned book and develop a research paper on one dimension of modern China that has been introduced in class. The paper should be based on one of the topics covered in the course. The length of the term paper will be 5-10 pages, double spaced in 11 point font. Term papers are due by November 22 at 5:00 pm and should be submitted through Carnegie Mellon's Blackboard or University of Pittsburgh's Coursweb assignment tab for the course.

Instructors (responsible for grades and class organization)

Veronica Dristas, University of Pittsburgh Amy Burkert, Carnegie Mellon University. 

Professors Amy Burkert ( are responsible for grades at Carnegie Mellon and Larry Feick (  and Veronica Dristas ( at the University of Pittsburgh, respectively. Please send e-mail to us individually if you have questions regarding grades.

Liaison Librarian and Reference / Instruction

Lois Kepes's picture
Lois Kepes
G20-X Hillman Library (Ground Floor)


Tuesday evening appointments often available.

CMU Students

CMU students may visit Hillman Library's service desk on the ground floor to get a temporary logon.  It will permit you to access our ebooks and databases while in Hillman Library. 

Pitt affliates should be able to access all material from on campus or remotely.  Our Ezproxy server will prompt you to log in from with your email user name and password when you access paid licensed content (databases and ebooks).  

Course Schedule

 Friday, October 25, 2013     5:00 - 8:00pm

5:00 pm- 5:15 pm Brief Introductions and Welcome

5:15 pm- 5:30 pm Pre - evaluation survey

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm Evelyn Rawski - "Contemporary China in Historical Context"

6:30 pm- 6:45 pm Break

6:45pm- 8:00 pm   Lee Branstetter


Saturday, October 26, 2013    8:30am - 6:45pm

8:30 am- 9:45 am Donald Sutton - "Minority Report: Variation and Change in the PRC's Ethnic Groups"

9:45 am - 10:00 am Break

10:00 am- 11:15 am Pierre Landry - "Leadership Disincentives: How the promotion process for officials undermines economic and social developmnt in China"

11:15 am- 11:30 am Break

11:30 am- 12:45 pm  Neil Diamant - "Law, Politics and Society in Contemporary China"

12:45 pm - 2:00 pm Lunch Elisabeth Kaske - "The Chinese and their Officials: A Love-Hate Story in Ten Keywords"

2:00 pm - 3:15 pm 

3:15-pm - 3:30 pm Break

3:30 pm - 4:45 pm Minking Chyu - "The State of Energy and Power Generation/Consumption in China"

4:45 pm - 5:00 Break

5:00-pm - 6:15 pm Khee Poh Lam - "The Art and Science of Eco-Development"


Sunday, October 27, 2013    9:00am - 1:30 pm

9:00am- 10:15am - Michael Johns - "The Modern Chinese Consumer"  

10:15am -10:30 am Break

10:30 am - 11:45 am - Tina Phillips Johnson - "Afflictions of Poverty and Diseases of Affluence: Public Health in 21-st Century China."

11:45 am - 12:00 pm - Break

12:00 pm - 1:15 pm - Frayda Cohen -"Gender and China Today"

1:15 - 1:30 pm Conclusion and evaluation

Sponsored by:

University of Pittsburgh: Global Studies Center, Department of Economics, Katz Graduate School of Business, the Swanson School of Engineering, International Business Center, and College of Buisness Administration Carnegie Mellon University: H. John Heinz III College, Office of the Provost, Division of Student Affairs