Political Geography of China (spring 2022)
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.
Economic Governance in East Asia (spring 2022)
East Asia has given rise to models of development with distinct visions for the relationship between the state and the market. Hallmarks of the designs are powerful ministries, gigantic conglomerates, state-supervised labor unions, and spectacular corruption. The first part of the tutorial revisits four decades of “miraculous” growth in Japan and the Asian Tiger economies (South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore), in order to illuminate underlying development strategies from a political science perspective, including through theories of late industrialization and varieties of capitalism. The second part of this course focuses on China, whose strategists have drawn on its neighbors’ experience. It highlights the vast differences between economic regions in China (the Pearl River versus the Yangtze Delta, versus lagging Western regions), as well as the significant transformation of the country’s approach over the last three decades. Students will develop a deeper comprehension of phenomena such as national champions, tycoons in the digital economy, Communist party control, international expansion, and slogans such as “Made in China 2025.” Throughout the course, we will occasionally go back in time to historical foundations of economic governance. This junior tutorial provides individualized support in the research process toward a final paper.
China and the African Continent (fall 2021)
Historical Legacies in East Asian Politics (fall 2021)
Political Parties of East Asia
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.
China's Cultural Revolution
Political Economy of 21st Century China
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
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
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
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.