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Spring 2022 Advanced Programs - Advanced Programs Face to Face or Virtual - College of Arts and Science

[CAS 5970] Special Topics/Seminar - 101

Paul Bell

Course Description

Special Topics: Contemporary China

This course will provide students with both historical background and contemporary analyses needed to understand today’s China. An overview of the past and recent history of China will provide a foundation for analyzing and interpreting recent and future developments. Other topics covered include the role of the Chinese Communist Party; the role of humiliation and nationalism in shaping China’s world view; corruption; the role of the military; the meaning of “socialism with Chinese characteristics”; central control and democracy; social organization and family structure; China’s global ambitions and the use of soft versus hard power; how the Chinese people view their current situation; China’s goals for the future; and the past and future of US-China relations. Readings will provide views of China’s rise and current conditions from both Chinese and Western perspectives. Students will learn to think about China from a variety of perspectives and to be able to use what they have learned to make their own analyses of the current and future situations in China.

Class Dates, Format, Location and Hours

Dates:February 4-6 and 11-13, 2022
Location for on-site courses:3281 Sheridan, Rd., Fort Sill, Oklahoma
Hours:Friday 5:30-9:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Sunday 12:00-4:00 p.m.
Last day to enroll or drop without penalty: January 6, 2022

Site Director

Name: Ms. Anita Bailey
Ms. Kayla Damon
DSN and CIV phone:580-355-1974

Professor Contact Information

Course ProfessorPaul B. Bell, Jr.
Mailing AddressEllison Hall 312, University of Oklahoma, Norman OK 73019
Telephone NumberMobile: (405) 473-3739
Professor availabilityThe professor will be available via e-mail or text message to students before and after the class sessions. On-site office hours are half an hour before and after each class session and by appointment.

Textbook(s) and Instructional Materials

Student materials are available at the OU Bookstore Website at The website has book selling, renting, buying, returning, and order tracking capabilities. If you need help with an order, or if you have any questions contact the toll-free phone at 1-(855)-790-6637, agents are available from 9a – 5p (EST) Monday – Friday. Text prices are available online.

Materials posted on the Canvas learning system: A list of journal articles and other required and recommended readings is listed online at the course website. Access Canvas at, enter your OU NetID and password, and select course to access material. If you require assistance with Canvas, please click on the Help icon. You can search the Canvas guides, chat with Canvas support, or contact OU IT.

Note: Required readings must be completed before the first meeting of the class. Students will be expected to come to class prepared to discuss the required readings.

The Third Revolution : Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State
The Third Revolution : Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State
by Economy, Elizabeth C.
Published by Oxford University Press, Incorporated
ISBN: 9780190056551
China in the 21st Century : What Everyone Needs to Know
China in the 21st Century : What Everyone Needs to Know
by Wasserstrom, Jeffrey N., Cunningham, Maura Elizabeth
Published by Oxford University Press, Incorporated
ISBN: 9780190659080
Don't Cry, Tai Lake : An Inspector Chen Novel
Don't Cry, Tai Lake : An Inspector Chen Novel
by Xiaolong, Qiu
Published by St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9781250021588
Contemporary China
Contemporary China
by Brown, Kerry
Published by Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN: 9781352004946

Course Objectives

As a result of readings, lectures and discussions, students who complete this course should be able to:

1.      Understand the role of Chinese history and culture in creating modern China.

2.      Understand the historical forces and events that drive China today.

3.      Understand the effects of past humiliations on China's current national and foreign policies.

4.      Develop a basic understanding of the current social, economic, political, military situation in China.

5.      Learn the names and roles of China's leading political leaders over the past 100 years.

6.     Understand the current views and aspirations of both the Chinese government and ordinary Chinese citizens.

7.      Understand the political underpinnings of Chinese society and the tensions that exist between central control and local control.

8.      Understand the reasons behind China’s current economic success and the challenges China faces in sustaining it.

9.      Understand and analyze the past, present and future relationship between the US and China.

10.  Use resources available on the Internet to obtain information about contemporary China from official and unofficial Chinese and non-Chinese perspectives.

11.  Engage in informed discussion and debate about China's past, current and future situation and national goals.

12.  Do independent research on topics related to contemporary China and write an analysis paper on a topic about contemporary China of interest to the student.

Course Outline

All classes will consist of a combination of lecture and discussion, with discussion becoming the dominant element as the course progresses. Students are expected to have read all of the assignments prior to class and to come to class prepared to discuss the material, express informed opinions and ask relevant questions. Class participation will count 25% of the final grade.

Topics covered will include:

1.         A brief overview of 5000 years of Chinese history

2.         The historical origins of modern China

3.         The effects of Chinse culture on Chinese thinking and behavior

4.         Humiliation, patriotism and nationalism

5.         Chinese governance: The Communist Party of China

6.         Reform and Opening Up: The era of Deng Xiaoping

7.         Corruption in China

8.         China’s rise: Economic power

9.         China’s rise: Military power

10.      China’s “new era”: The era of Xi Jinping

11.      US-China relations

Assignments, Grading and Due Dates

Pre-Class Assignments:

1.      Read all of the assigned books listed in the syllabus.

2.      Complete the assignments listed on the course website.

3.      Complete the on-line Chinese newspaper reading assignment described on the course website.

Note: Pre-class assignment 1 is due three weeks prior to the first meeting of the class, January 14, 2022. The remaining pre-class assignments are due no later than 72 hours prior to the first meeting of the class. Assignments submitted after these dates will still be accepted but they will receive less than full credit.


Assignments during the class week:

·        In-class discussion: Prior to discussing each topic class, read the required articles associated with that class topic and complete the assignment listed on the course web site associated with the readings.

·        Newspaper assignment: Prior to each class meeting read at least one article from an online Chinese newspaper (in English) and come to class prepared to report on and discuss the article.

·        Submit and get approval for your post-class research paper.

Post-Class Assignment:

Complete the post-class research paper described on the course website on the topic approved by the instructor. The paper is due no later than February 26, 2022.


This is a letter-graded course: A, B, C, D, or F. 

Notice: Failure to meet assignment due dates could result in a grade of I (Incomplete) and may adversely impact Tuition Assistance and/or Financial Aid.

Graded AssignmentsPercent of Grade
Pre-class essay5%
Pre-class written assignments based on the readings25%
Newspaper assignment and contribution to in-class discussion30%
Post-class research paper40%

Attendance Policy

Making Up Missed Classes:

Students who miss a class will be required to read the papers assigned for the topics that were discussed during the missed class and write a 2-3 page summary of each of the assigned papers. Students who miss the role-playing exercise must write a three page essay describing and evaluating his or her imagined life as a Chinese citizen who occupies the same place in contemporary Chinese society that the student does in his or her own society.


Attendance/Grade Policy

Attendance and participation in interaction, individual assignments, group exercises, simulations, role playing, etc. are valuable aspects of any course because much of the learning comes from discussions in class with other students. It is expected that you attend all classes and be on time except for excused emergencies.

Excused absences are given for professor mandated activities or legally required activities such as emergencies or military assignments. It is the policy of the University to excuse absences of students that result from religious observances and to provide without penalty for the rescheduling of examinations and additional required class work that may fall on religious holidays. Unavoidable personal emergencies, including (but not limited to) serious illness; delays in getting to class because of accidents, etc.; deaths and funerals, and hazardous road conditions will be excused.

If you are obtaining financial assistance (TA, STAP, FA, VA, Scholarship, etc.) to pay all or part of your tuition cost, you must follow your funding agency/institution’s policy regarding “I” (Incomplete) grades unless the timeline is longer than what the University policy allows then you must adhere to the University policy. Students who receive Financial Aid must resolve/complete any “I” (Incomplete) grades by the end of the term or he/she may be placed on “financial aid probation.” If the “I” grade is not resolved/completed by the end of the following term, the student’s Financial Aid may be suspended make the student ineligible for further Financial Aid.

Students are responsible for meeting the guidelines of Tuition Assistance and Veterans Assistance. See the education counselor at your local education center for a complete description of your TA or VA requirements.

OU faculty will submit grades online through ONE not later than 30 days after the course end date. Course end dates are approximately one calendar month after the final seminar date on this syllabus and are provided on the official scheduling website for reference.

Academic Integrity and Student Conduct 

Academic integrity means honesty and responsibility in scholarship. Academic assignments exist to help students learn; grades exist to show how fully this goal is attained. Therefore all work and all grades should result from the student's own understanding and effort.

Academic misconduct is any act which improperly affects the evaluation of a student’s academic performance or achievement. Misconduct occurs when the student either knows or reasonably should know that the act constitutes misconduct. Academic misconduct includes: cheating and using unauthorized materials on examinations and other assignments; improper collaboration, submitting the same assignment for different classes (self-plagiarism); fabrication, forgery, alteration of documents, lying, etc…in order to obtain an academic advantage; assisting others in academic misconduct; attempting to commit academic misconduct; destruction of property, hacking, etc…; intimidation and interference with integrity process; and plagiarism. All students should review the Student’s Guide to Academic Integrity at 

Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. All students should review policies regarding student conduct at 

Accommodation Statement

The University of Oklahoma is committed to making its activities as accessible as possible. For accommodations on the basis of disability, please contact your local OU Site Director.

Adjustment for Pregnancy/Childbirth-Related Issues

Should you need modifications or adjustments to your course requirements because of documented pregnancy-related or childbirth-related issues, please contact the professor as soon as possible to discuss. Generally, modifications will be made where medically necessary and similar in scope to accommodations based on temporary disability. Please see

Title IX Resources

For any concerns regarding gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking, or intimate partner violence, the University offers a variety of resources, including advocates on-call 24/7, counseling services, mutual no-contact orders, scheduling adjustments, and disciplinary sanctions against the perpetrator. Please contact the Sexual Misconduct Office at or (405) 325-2215 (8-5), or the Sexual Assault Response Team at (405) 615 -0013 (24/7) to report an incident. To learn more about Title IX, please visit the Institutional Equity Office’s website at 

Course Policies

Extended Campus (also and formerly known as Advanced Programs) policy is to order books in paperback if available. Courses, dates, and professors are subject to change. Please check with your OU Site Director. Students should retain a copy of any assignments that are e/mailed to the professor for the course. Neither duplicating services nor office supplies are provided.

Any and all course materials, syllabus, lessons, lectures, etc. are the property of professor teaching the course and the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma and are protected under applicable copyright.

For more information about OU Extended Campus, visit our website at:

Statement on Respect

The classroom should provide a safe learning environment where students can express their views without fear of reprisal. That freedom of expression must be balanced by demonstrated respect for other’s viewpoints and appropriate and reasonable sensitivity, especially within the context of scholarly disagreement.  Disrespectful or uncivil dialogue (including, but not limited to, personal attacks, insults, or harassment) will not be tolerated.

Recording Devices/Phones/Computers

It is important for students to be fully present during class to fully benefit from lectures, discussions, and experiential assignments. Class sessions may not be tape-recorded. All telephones and pagers should be turned off or placed on silent mode. Computers may not be used during class. Students who require an exception to this policy should discuss exceptional circumstances with the professor.


Paul Burton Bell, Jr., Ph.D.


·        1968   B.S. cum laude in Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO.

·        1975   Ph.D. in Biology Yale University, New Haven, CT.

Current Positions

·        Dean Emeritus, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Oklahoma

·        Professor of Biology

·        Advanced Programs professor since 2002

Major Areas of Teaching and Research Interest

·        Leadership

·        Histology

·        Contemporary China

·        Mechanism and control of cell motility

·        Specimen preparation for scanning and transmission electron microscopy

·        Chinese-Western Intercultural Communications

Representative Honors and Awards Received

·        Individual Performance Excellence Award from Confucius Institute Headquarters, Beijing, China, 2011.

·        Outstanding Civic Leader for the Asia Society of Oklahoma, 2011

·        Member of the Board of Directors, Council of Colleges of Arts and Science, 2004-2011

·        President-elect, President, and Past-President, Council of Colleges of Arts and Science, 2006-2011

·        Honorary Doctor of Philosophy, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden 1997

·        Special Recognition Award, Oklahoma Academic Advising Association 1995

·        Distinguished Lecturer, University of Oklahoma Associates, 1988

·        AMOCO Good teaching Award, 1987

·        OU College of Arts and Science Summer Fellowship 1981

· OU Research Council Junior Faculty Summer Fellowship 1980