IR373      Half Unit
China and the Global South

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Chris Alden 9th Floor IDEAS, PAN


This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and Chinese, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and International Relations. This course is not available as an outside option. This course is available with permission to General Course students.

This course has a limited number of places (it is capped).


Foreign Policy Analysis (IR202)

Course content

This course focuses on the substantive role that China plays in the Global South where its preponderance of material power and putative developing country status confers upon it a dominant position in bilateral and regional political economies.  China's economic position, coupled to an astute use of finances flowing from its mercantilist policies, has enabled it to become the leading trading partner and a significant investor in the developing world.  Moreover, the Global South is increasingly figuring in Beijing's expanding security interests and soft power provisions.  Interpretations embedded in prevailing academic discourses like socialisation, threat and peaceful rise take on new meaning when studied through the lens of ties with developing countries.  Understanding how dynamics in this relationship are impacting upon a host of global and contemporary issues (BRICs, multilateralism, peacekeeping, the environment) is crucial to the shape of the 21st century.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Michaelmas Term. Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy. The course is delivered in cooperation with Dr. Alvaro Mendez (PAN 9.01C).

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 book review in MT.

Indicative reading

Chris Alden & Lu Jiang. (2019). Brave new world: debt, industrialization and security in China–Africa relations. International Affairs, 95(3), 641-657. doi:

Gaston Fornes & Alvaro Mendez. (2018). The China-Latin America Axis: Emerging Markets and their Role in an Increasingly Globalised World (2 ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan

David Shambaugh (Ed.) (2016). The China Reader: Rising Power (6th ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press,


Presentation (25%) in the MT.
Online assessment (75%) in January.

During the course of the seminars students will participate in a group presentation (25%) and sit a 2-hour timed online examination.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
First 48.2
2:1 49.4
2:2 2.4
Third 0
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2021/22: 28

Average class size 2021/22: 14

Capped 2021/22: Yes (30)

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.

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication