Will the 21st century will be “the Chinese century”?
November 25-December 11
Li Jin and John Shanahan
MOL 323: China’s Cultural Soft Power and its Future
ENG 235: Science Fiction
Liberal Studies Domains:
Social, Cultural, and Behavioral Inquiry (SCBI)
Arts and Literature (AL)
Over the past few decades, China has become a global powerhouse by manufacturing for export. As “factory to the world,” China since the early 1980s has grown its economy to become the second largest binomial GDP and the largest by purchasing power parity (Source: IMF data). In several industries, for example mobile sharing platforms, robotics, AI (artificial intelligence), and renewable energy, China aims to be the world leader. At the same time, China’s “One Belt One Road” initiative is poised to project Chinese socio-political and economic power as a paramount leader connecting Asia, Africa and Europe. Inevitably, China’s cultural influence is also getting more notable around the world. One example is Chinese science fiction, which has attracted unprecedented attention outside China in recent years.
The program aims to help DePaul students develop a critical understanding of China’s cultural soft power and a sober view of the world’s future with China as an important player through engaging reading materials, class discussions, and a two-week visit in China. Topics to be covered in pre- and post- courses include China’s historical dynamics, cultural traditions, pop culture, science fiction, politics, and economy. The study abroad trip will begin in Shanghai where we will meet the academics and entrepreneurs to discuss contemporary society, science fiction, and the future “as seen from China.” We will explore some of the city’s newest technological innovations, the arts and literature, and architecture. From Shanghai, we will take day-trips to the nearby cities of Suzhou and Hangzhou to experience the interaction of China’s cultural tradition with modern innovations. In Beijing, we will explore a mega-city struggling with different possible urban futures. Our site visits in Beijing and the nearby “planned” city of Xiong’an will be linked to discussions with urban planners, artists, writers, scholars, and government officials.