Course Code


Course Name

Urban China


Thursday 8:30am – 11:15am




Dr. Marie BELLOT

Teaching Assistant

Songyu LIU

Jingwen WANG

Course Description

This seminar will examine the socioeconomic, political, and cultural facets of urbanisation with a regional focus on China. The goal of this course is to introduce to students the key themes and concepts in social sciences on urban issues and help students develop critical observation and analysis regarding the process of urbanisation and its lived experiences in the Chinese context.

Students will be guided to investigate critically urban issues ranging from urban governance, to citizen rights, urban space, and urban culture. Two sets of readings will be introduced: classic writings in the field of urban sociology/anthropology/geography, and empirical studies specific on China.

This seminar will focus on three temporalities of urban development in China: an overview of the urbanity and urban development before the Mao era; urbanity in socialist China and its particularities; and last but not least, an examination of China’s unprecedented urban development in the post-reform era.

Course Outline

Week 1 (12 January): Introduction – Urbanisation and the Chinese experience

Week 2 (19 January): Understanding the urban

Week 3 (2 January): Modernity and urban transformation

Week 4 (9 February): Urban development in the Mao era

Week 5 (16 February): Urban governance

Week 6 (23 February): Citizenship and right to the city

Week 7 (2 March): Urban space and sociality

Week 8 (16 March): Urban spaces in Hong Kong

Week 9 (23 March): Urbanity and gender

Week 10 (30 March): Rural – Urban migration and the Chinese city

Week 11 (6 April): Urbanity under global capitalism

Week 12 (13 April): Group presentations (1)

Week 13 (20 April): Group presentations (2) & Class wrap up

Assessment & Assignments

Class participation: 20%

Group project oral presentation: 20%

Group project written presentation: 20%

Term paper: 40%

Honesty in Academic Work

All students should familiarize themselves with university policies and regulations on HONESTY IN ACADEMIC WORK and the DISCIPLINARY GUIDELINES and PROCEDURES applicable to breaches of such policies and regulations. See the website: Any cases of plagiarism will be severely penalized and reported to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, which could result in failure or expulsion from the University.