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This course examines the formation of the Chinese “nation” by focusing on three regions that lie on the margins of the People’s Republic of China: 1) Hong Kong (a Special Administrative Region); 2) Taiwan (a de facto independent entity despite the PRC’s position that it is part of China); and 3) Xinjiang (an Autonomous Region).  There has been considerable tension between each of these regions and the Beijing government over the last decades, a situation highlighted by the recent ongoing protests in Hong Kong.  From the perspective of Beijing, these regions are key to the unity and integrity of the Chinese nation, and any questions about their incorporation into the People’s Republic will not be tolerated.  To many people outside of China, however, these regions’ complex and contentious relationships with the Beijing government are often confusing and difficult to understand.  The objective of this course is to encourage students to take a close look at both the histories and current developments of these regions, to explore in detail the different arguments and perspectives, and to come to a more informed and nuanced understanding of the issues involved – issues that are germane not only to China, but to the predicament of many other “nations” in the contemporary world.


Must be taken for 3 credit hours. Contact Zach Ward ( for further enrollment information. Course was previously listed as GLBL 490.001.