China’s 56 ethnic minorities number 100 million and occupy nearly half of the country’s territory—a vast area rich in natural resources that borders 14 other countries. During a 13-day seminar, we examine the impact of globalization and development on China’s culturally diverse peoples, natural environment, and animal habitats. Through on-site visits to tribal villages, water projects and nature preserves in Yunnan and Sichuan provinces in Southwest China, students explore the complex challenges of creating public policy in the face of conflicting interests: how to balance preservation of ethnic heritage vs. influence of the dominant culture; economic development vs protection of the natural environment; the needs of humans and animal life on the frontier vs the populations of the center and coastal regions. During the semester, the focus shifts to sustainable development and the impact on China’s future from political, economic and social perspectives.
This Signature Seminar is required for Beijing undergraduate participants; graduate students have the option to audit. This course may also be registered as GEO/IRP 300.1.
Department: Political Science
Locations: Beijing, Tsinghua