Jun 05, 2020  
2019-2020 Academic Catalogue 
2019-2020 Academic Catalogue [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

IS 439 - Authoritarian Environmentalism in China

Lecture Hours: 3
Lab Hours: 0
Credit Hours: 3

In this course, we evaluate the contention that the People’s Republic of China centralized system of governance is best suited to address the environmental challenges of the twenty-first century. Proponents of “authoritarian environmentalism” contend that the leaders of a political system, insulated from popular will, possess the ability to make unilateral decisions that are needed to combat long-term issues, such as air and water pollution, and implement reforms. As we progress through this course, however, we will find that there are numerous scholars who call this argument into question. We proceed by taking stock of the environmental problems that China faces, before learning about the legal and political frameworks through which policy is made and enforced. Next, we observe how the central and local governments in China confront environmental issues to varying degrees of success. We also consider the different challenges urban and rural residents face, and the impetus for “green” movements that have emerged over the last decade. Finally, we learn of the external forces that have influenced the path China has taken, before concluding with extensive discussions of student research. All told, China’s leaders may have an understanding of what environmental threats they face, but they are frequently stymied in how they approach addressing these problems; a failure to curb the dangers of environmental degradation can not only put citizen lives in jeopardy but also undermine the Chinese Communist Party’s legitimacy as the ruling power and moral force at the helm of the Chinese state.