Teaching

Political Parties of East Asia (spring 2020)

East Asia has been home to an astonishing assortment of political parties, covering the spectrum from democratic to authoritarian institutions, including some of the world’s most sophisticated and resilient political organizations. We begin with China’s Communist Party, revisiting its foundation in 1921, its rise during the Sino-Japanese War 1937-45, and its transformation from a revolutionary party to a party in power; then turn to the present day to cover the deep reach of the party into society, the activities and functions of ordinary members, as well as the dynamics of the leading echelons. The second part of the course focuses on Japan, including the origins of political parties in the late 19th century, the post-War emergence of the perennial ruling party, the age of grand money politics under Tanaka Kakuei, the electoral reform of 1993, and the origins of the party’s current strength. The third part consists of case studies, covering contemporary parties in North and South Korea, parties in Taiwan before and after the democratic transition, as well as parties in Malaysia and Vietnam, with their multiple connections to East Asia. The course also puts East Asian parties into a comparative perspective to other world regions.

Political Geography of China (spring 2020)

This course, which I first taught in the spring semester 2019, puts Chinese politics on the map. The course asks how the government deals with the enormous challenges of ruling over a vast terrain with a diverse population, encompassing super-rich urban metropolises as well as poor rural peripheries. We begin with statecraft traditions from the late imperial era; and end with China's place on the future global maps of the 21st century. Topics include: macro-regions; priority zones of governance; Special Economic Zones; the Chinese equivalent of “blue states and red states;” rising inequality; ethnic minorities and borderlands; economic development models; urbanization and city planning; collective action in digital space; domestic and international migration; environmental politics; and the geo-politics of the “One Belt One Road” initiative. We will set aside class time for a hands-on introduction to producing and interpreting maps of China.

China's Cultural Revolution (fall 2019)

EASTD 197 is a lecture course introducing a cataclysmic movement that brought the People’s Republic of China to the brink of anarchy: The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The first part looks at historical precursors, including rebellion in the imperial era, political movements in the Republican Era, Communist campaigns and purges, as well as the Great Leap Forward famine that cost tens of millions of lives. Paying equal attention to elite politics at Mao Zedong’s “court” and the lived experiences of ordinary citizens, the second part focuses on the evolution of the turmoil, once Mao had called for “bombarding the headquarters” of his own party state, discussing the “Gang of Four,” the “attempted coup” by Lin Biao, the Red Guards and the worker rebels in Shanghai, local power seizures and factional warfare, military crackdowns, and the return to order. The third part begins with the reception of the movement abroad, and focuses on its afterlives, including the quasi- pluralist lessons drawn in the immediate aftermath, the role of Cultural Revolution legacies in decisions such as the violent crackdown on the Tiananmen protesters in 1989, and memory politics under Xi Jinping. No language requirement.

Political Economy of 21st Century China (fall 2019)

This junior tutorial for students in the Social Sciences China track examines central challenges facing the Chinese leadership since 2000, in (1) domestic politics, (2) economics, and (3) foreign policy. Concepts and methods from the social sciences are introduced to analyze topics including the SARS health crisis, the strained leadership transition to Xi Jinping, internet censorship, the great variety of protests, policy experimentation, factions in elite politics, ethnic minorities, state-led development with the emergence of companies designated as national champions, anti-corruption efforts, rising inequality, artificial intelligence (AI) in the country’s digital strategy, international power transitions, China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), the ongoing trade dispute, and the Belt and Road initiative.

Harvard Government Department: Government and Politics of China

As a teaching fellow for Professor Nara Dillon's introductory course to Chinese politics (Gov 1280), I presented and discussed with the students of my two sections key issues of Chinese politics. This included a historical introduction going back to the revolution of 1911. In the course of the semester, I also gave a lecture on the Cultural Revolution and its political after-effects.

Harvard-Yenching Institute: Research Workshop Leader

Every year advanced PhD candidates from Asian universities, working in a variety of academic fields, come to Harvard as visiting fellows of the Harvard-Yenching Institute. For three semesters between 2012 and 2014, I moderated a weekly workshop to discuss the fellows’ research and foster conversation between these young scholars from very different academic traditions. 

Harvard Economics Department: Teaching My Own Syllabus

Ec 960, the sophomore tutorial at the Economics Department (overall course website here), applies economic theory to real-world problems and trains students to write economics paper. Under the umbrella of the tutorial, I taught a course on the Political Economy of China, based on my own syllabus (my syllabus here) and exploring China’s unique model of economic development, as well as the economic effects of ongoing, rapid institutional transformations. I taught this course twice, in spring 2011 and in spring 2012.

Harvard Program in General Education: Curriculum Development

As Harvard is developing a new general education curriculum, I joined a small group of graduate students to design the course Political Corruption. Under the direction of Professor James Alt and Professor Daniel Ziblatt, we met weekly throughout one semester to select readings, discuss key concepts and draft lectures. The course was taught in fall 2013. Syllabus: Societies of the World 50.

Harvard Kennedy School: Case Method Teaching

In spring 2009, I served as a course assistant for "Central Challenges of American Foreign Policy," co-taught by Professor Graham Allison and Professor Meghan O'Sullivan. Having been refined in many iterations over the years, this course puts to good use the case teaching method, similar to the kind developed at the Harvard Business School. Being involved in case design, as well as class logistics, we teaching assistants became very familiar with the essential fine points of the case teaching method.

Heidelberg University: Problem Set Section

During a career transition in 2003/2004, I taught two large sections at Heidelberg University's Department of Economics, demonstrating how to solve problem sets for an introductory course taught by Professor Switgard Feuerstein.