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Spring 2021 Reading Group

The US and PRC: Whither the Relationship?

Prerequisite: The reading group is by permission. Students should send a note expressing interest along with a CV to Professor William Alford at no later than January 29 (and preferably sooner) with a copy to Emma Johnson Please also indicate where you will be physically when taking the class. The first session will be held on Friday February 12 from 9:30-11:30 AM Boston time with subsequent five sessions spaced roughly two weeks apart.

Exam Type: No Exam
No written work is required but students will be expected to read the materials (which are exciting) carefully.

The relationship between the US and the PRC has fluctuated markedly since the latter’s founding in 1949. No short-hand does justice to its complexity but commentators often speak of the two nations having been Cold War rivals prior to the launching of China’s reform era in the 1970s; enmeshed in robust economic and cultural engagement during the last two decades of the 20th century; and more recently, sharp competitors across a range of issues.

This reading group will use the start of a new American administration to explore the history of the relationship; illustrative dimensions of the PRC Party-state; selected key legal, political, and economic) issues now facing the relationship; and ways of thinking creatively and carefully about what may or may not be possible and why.