Not available in 2022/23
DV532      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 MRes/PhD in International Development. This course is not available as an outside option.

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 and one essay preparation session 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.

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;
  • 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 (100%, 5000 words) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Value: Half Unit

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