Not available in 2022/23
DV432      Half Unit
China in Developmental Perspective

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Jude Howell CON. 8.02


This course is available on the CEMS Exchange, MA in Asian and International History (LSE and NUS), MBA Exchange, MSc in China in Comparative Perspective, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc in International and Asian History and MSc in Political Economy of Late Development. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Students will be allocated places to courses with priority to ID and joint-degree students.  If there are more ID and joint-degree students than the course can accommodate, these spots will be allocated randomly.  

Non-ID/Joint Degree students will be allocated to spare places by random selection with the preference given first to those degrees where the regulations permit this option.


Excellent reading and speaking skills ~(IELTS 7 minimum).

Course content

This course looks at China from a comparative developmental perspective, locating the discussion of China within the interdisciplinary field of development studies. It examines China's developmental trajectory since 1949, explaining the fundamental shift in developmental path from late 1978 onwards. It considers China's role in low-income countries, as a model of innovation, as a voice for developing country concerns and as an important aid donor. It reflects on China's recent achievements in reducing poverty and places these in comparative context. The course considers the governance challenges posed by rapid economic reform, the attempts to reform the Party-state and to manage social tensions. It examines the social dimensions of rapid economic reform and the implications for social policies. It looks at the emergence of NGOs and other forms of civil society organising and considers changing state-society relations. Finally it considers China's role as aid donor and its emergence as a global economic and political power. The course will enable students to obtain an understanding of key developmental issues and discussions about China and to link these discussions to broader debates and theories in development studies.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars in the MT. Seminars will be at or upwards of 45 minutes duration and lectures will be at or above 60 minutes duration.

In addition, one introductory seminar session in MT, one essay preparation session in MT and two exam revision sessions in MT.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6.

Formative coursework

Students have the opportunity to receive feedback on a formative essay of 1,500 words. Students will also receive feedback on their seminar performance. Students are welcome to come to course convenor’s office hours to discuss any issues. These may be on skype or phone, depending on the COVID-19 situation.

Indicative reading

  • Ang Yuen Yuen, 2016, How China Escaped the Poverty Trap, Cornell University
  • Friedman, Eli 2014, Insurgency Trap. Labour Politics in Post-Socialist China. Cornell University Press.
  • Harneit-Sievers, A., Marks, S., and Naidu, S., 2010, Chinese and African perspectives on China in Africa, Pambazuka Press;
  • Howell, Jude, 2003, Governance in China. Rowman and Littlefield Inc., Lanham;
  • Heilmann, Sebastian and Elizabeth Perry, 2011, Mao’s Invisible Hand: The Political Foundations of Adaptive Governance in China, Harvard University Press Hung, Ho-fung (ed) (2009) China and the Transformation of Global Capitalism. Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press;
  • Hung, Ho-fung (ed) (2009) China and the Transformation of Global Capitalism. Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press;
  • Lardy, Nicolas, 2014, Markets Over Mao. The Rise of Private Business in China,Washington, Peter Institute for International Economics;
  • Leung, Joe C.B. and Yuebin Xu, 2015, China’s Social Welfare. Polity Press, Cambridge.
  • Yao Shujie, 2005, Economic Growth, Income Distribution and Poverty Reduction in Contemporary China, RoutledgeCurzon, London and New York;
  • White, Gordon, Jude Howell and Shang Xiaoyuan, 1996, In Search of Civil Society. Market Reform and Social Change in Contemporary China. Oxford University Press, Oxford;
  • M.H. Whyte (ed), 2009, One Country, Two Societies. Rural/Urban Inequality in China.


Essay (30%, 2500 words) and take-home assessment (70%) in the LT.

This course will be assessed by a 6 hour take-home exam and 2500 word essay.

Student performance results

(2018/19 - 2020/21 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 20
Merit 42.9
Pass 35.2
Fail 1.9

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2021/22: 38

Average class size 2021/22: 13

Controlled access 2021/22: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.