China: Global Power, Global Impact

  • Summer schools
  • Department of International Development
  • Application code SS-IR216
  • Starting 2020
  • Short course: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

UPDATE: Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic we will no longer be offering this course in summer 2020. Please check our latest news on this situation here.  

You can still register your interest in this course for 2021 using the ‘Sign up’ button to the right.  

China has long been of interest to students of International Relations due to its historical role as the major power of East Asia, as well as its recent rise as a great power in the current world system. This course examines how China is a global power that is impacting the world politically, economically and culturally, including how the PRC is promoting its own norms of global order.

The course examines Chinese foreign policy in terms of a comprehensive understanding of power: military, economic, social, and cultural power and influence. It explores:

  • How ideas and history have shaped Chinese identity and foreign policy
  • Beijing’s use of soft and hard power
  • The PRC’s grand strategy
  • China’s economic diplomacy
  • Gender and IR in China
  • China’s relations with Japan, the US, and Southeast Asia
  • Cyber security and Internet sovereignty in China
  • Other important topics.

Session: Three
Dates: 3 August – 21 August 2020
Lecturer: Professor William A. Callahan


Programme details

Key facts

Level: 200 level. Read more information on levels in our FAQs

Fees: Please see Fees and payments

Lectures: 36 hours

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: One 1,500 word essay (worth 25% of the final grade), and one final exam on the last Friday of the third week (worth 75% of the final grade).

 Typical credit**: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)

*Assessment is optional

**You will need to check with your home institution

More information on exams and credit


At least one introductory course in either social science (e.g. political science, international relations, sociology, economics), history or law.

Programme structure

Making China Great Again!

  1. China as a national, regional, and global power
  2. Who makes Chinese foreign policy?

History, nationalism, and Chinese foreign policy

  1. History, identity and China’s place in the world
  2. Imperial order, national humiliation, and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation

Comprehensive national power: Military

  1. Grand strategy and military power
  2. Militarism and society

Comprehensive national power: Economic

  1. China model and economic diplomacy
  2. Belt and Road Initiative and Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank

Comprehensive national power: China’s soft power

  1. Soft power and sharp power
  2. Propaganda and united front work

British Museum visit: Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of China & South Asia

  1. Soft power in the museum
  2. Chinese tradition as global resource

IR theory and China

  1. Chinese IR theory: Realism, Tianxia, and the Great State
  2. Moral Realism and Relationality

Gender, Race and IR in China

  1. Gender: Equality and patriarchy
  2. Race: Equality and discrimination

China, Japan and Southeast Asia

  1. Japan and the East China Seas disputes
  2. Southeast Asia and the South China Sea disputes

Greater China: Hong Kong and Taiwan

  1. Taiwan: One Country, Two Systems or Independence
  2. Hong Kong: One Country, Two Systems and protest

China and cyberspace

  1. The Great Firewall of China
  2. China and global cyber governance

China’s role in the world

  1. Status quo or revisionist?
  2. US-China relations

Course outcomes

By the end of this course students should be able to analyse and explain:

  • China’s foreign policy goals and processes
  • the role of history and identity in Chinese foreign policy
  • relations between the PRC, Taiwan, and Hong Kong
  • China’s relations with the US, Southeast Asia, and Japan
  • China’s approach to maintaining and transforming world order.


With a vibrant research culture, the LSE Department of International Relations is one of the oldest and largest in the world, and remains a leading world centre for the development of the subject. Its reputation for international excellence was recognised in the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise, the LSE Government and International Relations Departments' joint submission was ranked first in the UK for the percentage of its research graded world leading or internationally excellent (88%). LSE also came top in the Politics and International Studies REF panel in terms of the most research publications graded “world leading” (4*); the absolute number of top-rated research outputs.

LSE’s Department of International Relations ranked 5th in the world in the 2018 QS World University ranking for Politics and International Studies.

On this three-week intensive programme, you will engage with and learn from full-time lecturers from the LSE’s international relations faculty.

Reading materials

Elizabeth Economy, The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State, Oxford University Press, 2018.

Howard W. French, Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China's Push for Global Power, Scribe, 2017.

Michael B. Yahuda, The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific, 4E, Routledge, 2019.

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