STU CORE COURSE SYLLABUS
Course Title: China’s Environment and the World
Course Group: Science and Scientific Methods 3-2 (or Citizen and Society)
Course Code: 3-2
Credits: 3 credits*
Contact Hours: 24 (Seminar Format)
Time: May 13 - June 12, 2015. Tuesdays & Thursdays: 14:00-17:00.
* PLEASE NOTE: STU recently signed faculty and student exchange agreements with the University of Kentucky (UK). Professor Ernie Yanarella (Chair, Department of Political Science, University of Kentucky) will bring 8-12 students from the University of Kentucky to STU for one month (May 13 – June 12, 2015) and will teach a course on Sustainable Urban Planning and Design. Professor Yanarella’s course works together with Dean Bodenhorn’s course on China’s Environment and the World to give students a broad understanding of major environmental challenges and responsible, sustainable urban design in China. In other words, the two courses together form a six-credit module on environmental challenges and sustainable urban development. The two courses are intended to serve both STU and UK students, and students should enroll in both courses.
We are requesting that both courses carry 3 credits each for the following reasons:
- Professor Yanarella’s course will have three field trips – day trips to Shantou and Chaozhou, and a 3-day, 2-night trip to Shenzhen – which will bring total contact time to 48+ hours. Students from both courses will participate in these field trips.
- Student teams will also conduct field research.
- Terry Bodenhorn’s course will require extensive reading in English, which will impose a heavy workload on the students.
- The contents of Dean Bodenhorn’s course will provide the terminology and inform the analytical framework for the research in Professor Yanarella’s course.
Course Enrollment Restrictions:
Up to 24 STU students and up to 12 University of Kentucky students. The course will be taught in English, so students must have adequate English-language skills. STU students must also enroll in Professor Ernie Yanarella’s course on Sustainable Design in Shantou (to be taught May 13 - June 12, Mondays and Wednesdays, 14:00-17:00).
Instructor: Terry Bodenhorn
Office: Wendong 205
Office Hours: By appointment
Phone: 8290 2297
E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Course Description, Goals & Teaching Methods
Human environmental affairs are full of paradoxes. For example, the United States has some of the world’s most stringent pollution regulations and yet it is willing to approve Artic oil drilling with little regard for the environmental and health risks involved. China is also full of environmental paradoxes. While being the world’s second largest economy with the largest foreign-exchange reserves in the world, China remains a poor country on a per capita basis. Despite being the world’s largest maker of solar panels and wind turbines, China still heavily depends on coal for its energy supply, making it the leading nation for carbon dioxide emissions. Urbanization is unfolding in China at a pace unprecedented in human history and yet hundreds of millions of Chinese are still without safe drinking water and basic waste sanitation. Habitat loss and fragmentation has put hundreds of its species at risk of extinction; nonetheless, China remains one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. What do these environmental paradoxes mean for the future of China’s people and the rest of the world? Is China still at heart relentlessly pursuing growth at all costs? How is China’s rapid development impacting the global environment? Should Chinese people be denied the right to the economic prosperity long enjoyed by the developed world? There is much to learn from a study of China’s environmental history and its likely influence in shaping the planet’s environmental future.
This course examines the historical, cultural, and institutional contexts of development-driven environmental change in China. The course also assesses the interplay of global and local challenges that shape China’s environment, past and present, and what those challenges mean for the future of the planet.
This course will employ a seminar format – classes will be discussion-based and analytical. Students will have to do a large amount of reading before class. Class sessions will combine relatively short lectures, extensive in-class discussions, small group work, and occasional viewing of documentary films.
This course is linked with Professor Ernie Yanarella’s course on Sustainable Design in Shantou. Students enrolling in China’s Environment and the World must also enroll in Professor Yanarella’s course. Professor Yanarella’s course will include field trips to Shantou, Chaozhou, and Shenzhen, and will require exchange students from the University of Kentucky and STU students to work together in 2 or 3 person teams on research projects. Students will have the opportunity to apply knowledge and concepts learned in each course to the other course.
Primary Course Learning Outcomes
Knowledge & Skills:
- Knowledge of basic concepts in environmental science, including demographic transition, carrying capacity, GE dilemma, tragedy of the commons, sustainability, overshoot and die-back, and catastrophic collapse.
- Ability to apply basic concepts from environmental science to the Chinese and global context
- Basic knowledge of global and Chinese environmental history
- Knowledge of key factors (e.g., history, culture, politics, economic development, population) shaping China’s environmental conditions since 1949
- Ability to articulate key points in China’s global environmental impact (e.g., climate change, resource consumption, pollution, etc.)
- Ability to articulate key points in how global environmental conditions impact China (e.g., climate change, pollution, e-waste, international cooperation)
- Ability to articulate challenges and opportunities for sustainable development in China and the world
- Ability to articulate and assess historical domestic and international factors shaping China’s environmental policy-making and governance (e.g., birth control policy, self-reliance versus open door economic policy)
- Awareness and appreciation of the value of multiple perspectives in understanding and assessing environmental issues in China and globally
- Development of critical thinking skills
- Development of English-language reading, writing, and oral communication skills
- Development of skills in cross-cultural communication and understanding
Student Responsibilities, Assignments, and Assessment Methods
Students are expected to attend each class, take notes on assigned readings and lectures, and participate in all class discussions. This course will employ a seminar format, in which informed discussion is crucial to student learning. Our class discussions will be based on the assigned readings for the week, so you must do the readings before coming to class.
1. Participation/Discussion. The ability to contribute your informed opinion in meetings with colleagues and employers is an important skill. In this course, we emphasize discussion not only as a means of covering information and eliciting views, but also as a means to help students develop skills in communication, critical thinking, and cross-cultural understanding. Full participation in our class discussions is imperative. I will do my best to draw every student into our discussions, but remember that ultimately your grade depends on your performance. In order to participate effectively in discussions you will need to complete assigned readings before class meetings. I will post reading guides each week to draw attention to key issues. I expect you to express your understanding of class readings, as well as to ask questions about the reading assignments and lectures. In addition, I will ask you questions about the readings, the lectures, and the similarities and differences between the Western perspectives about China’s environment you are reading and the Chinese perspectives with which you may be familiar. Consequently, it is very important to come to class prepared to play an active and informed role. Everyone is expected to participate in class discussions.
2. Quizzes. We will have seven short, objective quizzes. The quizzes will be based on the assigned reading for the class, so you must do the reading before you come to class in order to do well on the quizzes.
3. Reflection Paper (approximately 8 pages, double spaced). You are required to reflect and provide a write-up on what you have learned from this course. Your reflection paper should address questions at two levels. On a broad level, you should reflect upon the following: what are the concepts or issues that you consider most significant and why? How has your learning affected any preconception or misconception you brought with you into class? How does your learning from this class affect your view of the world? At a more specific level, you should analyze how prospects for sustainability in China are helped or hindered by one or more of the following: population policies, political institutions, the emerging civil society and non-governmental organizations, interaction with the international community, and economic reform. Finally, should China engage the international community, particularly the United States, regarding global sustainability? If so, how should China play a leadership role in enhancing global sustainability? Due 17:00, June 8.
FORMAT for Reflection Paper: The paper should be approximately eight pages long, double-spaced, with 12-point font and one inch margins. Correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation are required. Run your spell-checker and proofread your paper before submitting it.
Please submit the paper in both hard and soft (electronic) copy. E-mail the soft copy version to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, and bring the paper copy to class on the due date. Both versions must be identical and include the following at the top:
First line: your name(s) in Chinese and pinyin, your English name (if you have one), and your student number.
Please make sure that your e-mail Subject identifies the message as a course assignment.
- Participation in discussions ….. 100 points
- Quizzes ….. 100 points
- Reflection paper ….. 100 points
At the end of the semester, you will be asked to evaluate your participation in the activities of the class. During the semester, you also will evaluate and be evaluated by your classmates. Your instructor will evaluate you on the same criteria. This is the basic rubric we will employ in determining your Participation grade:
A: Excellent: Consistently contributed to group work, peer reviews, and class discussion; genuinely listened to instructor and classmates and thoughtfully responded to ideas drawing on course material.
B: Good: Regularly contributed to group work and class discussion; listened to instructor and classmates and responded to ideas drawing on course material.
C: Adequate: Sometimes contributed to group work and class discussion; sometimes listened to instructor and classmates and responded to ideas drawing on course material.
D: Poor: Did not contribute to most discussions, or contributions were not thoughtful, informed, relevant, or useful.
E: Failure: Absent or unprepared for class; did not contribute discussion or takes up class time with irrelevant points; disrespected others’ points of view.
Economy, Elizabeth. The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s Future. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004. Chapter 2.
Geall, Sam, ed. China and the Environment: The Green Revolution. New York: Zed Books, 2013. Chapters 1, 2, 3.
Marks, Robert B. The Origins of the Modern World: A Global and Ecological Narrative from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-first Century. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2nd edition, 2007. Chapters 4, 5.
Marks, Robert B. China: Its Environment and History. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012. Chapters 3, 4, 6, 7.
Shapiro, Judith. Mao’s War Against Nature. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Chapter 1.
Shapiro, Judith. China’s Environmental Challenges. Cambridge: Polity, 2012. Chapter 4.
Simons, Craig. The Devouring Dragon: How China’s Rise Threatens our Natural World. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013. Chapters 2, 6, 7, 10, Epilogue.
Tilt, Bryan. The Struggle for Sustainability in Rural China: Environmental Values and Civil Society. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010. Chapters 1, 2, 7.
Watts, Jonathan. When a Billion Chinese Jump: How China Will Save Mankind or Destroy It. New York: Scribner, 2010. Chapters 5, 6, 8, and Afterword.
Readings will be copied as .pdf files on a thumb drive that the instructor will provide to the class.
Schedule: Topics, Readings, & Assignments
1 (5-14) Topics: Introductions and Review of the Syllabus
Basic Concepts in Environmental Science
Readings: ppt. handout from instructor
Learning outcomes: #1
2 (5-19) Topic: Global Historical Context: The Industrial Revolution and the Rise of the West
Readings: Robert Marks, Origins of the Modern World, Chapters 4 & 5
Learning outcomes: #3, 9, 10, 11
3 (5-21) Topics: China’s Historical Context: Environmental Change, Deforestation, & Controlling Nature
Readings: Robert Marks, China: Its Environment and History, Chapters 3, 4, & 6;
Elizabeth Economy, The River Runs Black, Chapter 2.
Learning outcomes: #3, 9, 11, 12
4 (5-26) Topic: Mao’s China
Readings: Robert Marks, China: Its Environment and History, Chapter 7;
Judith Shapiro, Mao’s War Against Nature, Chapter 1
Learning outcomes: #3, 4, 10, 11, 12
5 (5-28) Topic: Sustainability
Readings: Bryan Tilt, The Struggle for Sustainability in China, Chapters 1, 2, & 7;
Judith Shapiro, China’s Environmental Challenges, Chapter 4
Learning outcomes: #2, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12
6 (6-1) Topic: Environmental Activities in China
Readings: Sam Geall and Isabel Hilton, China and the Environment, Introduction and Chapters 1, 2, & 3
Learning outcomes: 4, 8, 9, 10, 9, 10, 11, 12
Video: Inside China: The Environment
7 (6-3) Topic: Global Impact I
Readings: Jonathan Watts, When a Billion Chinese Jump, Chapters 5, 7, 8, & Afterword
Learning outcomes: #2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Video: Manufactured Landscapes
8 (6-8) Topic: Global Impact II
Craig Simons, The Devouring Dragon, Prologue and Chapters 2, 6, 7, 10, & Epilogue
Learning outcomes: #2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Reflection Paper Due 17:00 June 8
Additional Documentaries. If you have the opportunity, I urge you to view the following documentaries on China’s environment:
The Guardian Videos on China’s Environment. Most of these videos are 4-5 minutes long, and cover the following topics: China’s cancer village, drought in China, Beijing’s rubbish dumps, China builds windfarms, Eco-refugee, China aims to regrow its “empty forests,” and China’s melting glacier
The Green Dragon http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/the_green_dragon
The Warriors of Qiugang (39 minutes)
Santa’s Workshop (33 minutes) http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/santas-workshop/
These documentaries are freely accessible through the web links listed above. A high-speed Internet connection is recommended for smooth viewing via a personal computer. These documentaries are hosted on international websites, so you may need to use a VPN to access some of them.