Global Connections: Shanghai

This course examines Shanghai’s attempts to position itself at the forefront of the largest and fastest process of urbanization the world has ever seen. It explores the city’s attempts to build itself into the future metropolis of 21st century. It does so by facilitating a deep engagement with the city that combines reading based discussions on issues of urbanism, capitalism and creativity with in depth field trip explorations.

Sample Syllabus

Course Description

The course has 3 separate but interrelated components:

1. Field-trips designed to provide a direct engagement with the issues of the course.
2. Reading-based lecture and seminar discussions
3. An individual research project.

Course Objectives

Students will emerge from this class:

1.     Having been introduced -- through field trips as well as lectures, discussion and a midterm exam-- to the history and culture of Shanghai.
2.     Having critically engaged with fundamental issues emerging from the rise of Shanghai.
3.    Having grappled with abstract theoretical arguments about urbanization and globalization.
4.     With the experience of formulating a research project

Grading Component

Participation: 15 %
Reading Presentations: 10%

Midterm Exam: 20%
Research Proposal: 10 %

Final Research Paper: 25%
Field Trip Reports: 20%

Required Text:

Readings are available as a digital course pack or through NYU classes (resources section). Texts are also on reserve at the NYU Shanghai library.

02/11: Week 1: Introduction

Parag Khanna. Beyond City Limits. Foreign Policy Magazine. September/October 2010.

Doug Saunders. By Century’s End We Will be an Entirely Urban Species. The Spectator. Aug 5.

 William McNeill. Cities and their Consequences, The American Interest, Vol 2 No 4 (March/April 2007)

02/18: Week 2: People’s Square Field Trip

02/25: Week 3: High Modernism

 Le Corbusier. Forward & Chapter 1. City of Tomorrow and Its Planning.  (Digital Coursepack)

Reading Presentation:

Glaeser, Edward. How Skyscrapers can Save the City. The Atlantic. July 11 2011

 Owen, David. Green Manhattan. The New Yorker. October 18 2004.

Woetzel, Jonathan. China’s cities in the Sky. McKinsey & Company

Assignment Discussion: How to choose a research question

03/04: Week 4: Pudong Field Trip

03/11. Week 5: Urbanism: Street Life

Jane Jacobs, “How New Work Begins” The Economy of Cities. Vintage. (Digital Coursepack)

Jane Jacobs, “Drift” in Cities and the Wealth of Nations. Vintage.  (Digital Coursepack)

Reading Presentation:

Jane Jacobs. Introduction & The Use of Sidewalks: Safety. Death and Life in American Cities. Vintage. (Digital Coursepack)

Dwight Garner, When David fought Goliath in Washington Square Park. New York Times, August 4 2009.

Glaeser, Edward, What a City Needs, The New Republic, September 4 2009.

Shanghai & the modernity of the street:  (Suggested Reading)

Samuel Liang, Spatial Culture of the Li Neighborhoods, Shanghai 1870-1900. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. Volume 67 No 4

Assignment Discussion: Research Proposal

03/18. Week 6.  Field Trip: Lilongs

03/25. Week 7. Midterm Exam

Lynn Pan, “Prologue” and “Origins of an Urban Style” in Shanghai Style: Art and Design Between the Wars. (Digital Coursepack)

Leo Ou-fan Lee, “Remapping Shanghai” & Shanghai Cosmopolitanism” in Shanghai Modern: The Flowering of a New Urban Culture in China, 1930-1945. (Digital Coursepack))

Hanchao Lu, “In Search of an Urban Identity” & “ Conclusion” in Beyond Neon Lights: Everyday Shanghai in the Early Twentieth Century. (Digital Coursepack)

Jeff Wasserstrom, “Introduction” & “Conclusion” in Global Shanghai, 1850-2010.

Marie –Claire Bergere.. “Introduction”, “The Birth of Shanghai Capitalism,” “Haipai & the Ideal of Modernity” in China’s Gateway to Modernity. (Digital Coursepack)

04/01. Week 8. State Capitalism

Marx Karl, “Bourgeois and Proletariat” The Communist Manifesto.

Joseph Schumpeter, Marxian Doctrine. Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. Harper Perrenial.

Reading Presentation:

Yasheng Huang, “Just How Capitalist is China?” MIT Sloane Research Paper.

Yasheng Huang. “What is Wrong with Shanghai Part 1& 2. The Globalist. March 2009

* (Recommended) Yasheng Huang, “The Problem with Shanghai” in Capitalism with Chinese

04/15. Week 9. Field Trip Bao Steel

Research Proposal Due

04/22. Week 10. Shadow Markets

 Joseph Schumpeter. “Creative Destruction” in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. Harper Perrenial.

Reading Presentation:

Christensen, Craig and Hall, “The Great Disruption” in Foreign Affairs. March/April 2001.

The Economist. A special report on Innovation in Emerging Markets. April 15 2010

Robert Neuwirth. The Shadow Superpower. Foreign Policy. October 28 2011.

04/29. Week 11. Street Food Workshop

05/6. Week 12. Global Culture

 Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism. Excerpts

Reading Presentation:

Cowen, Tyler and Benjamin Barber. Globalization and Culture. Policy Forum. Cato Institute

Peter Berger, Four Faces of Global Culture, National Interest. Fall 1997

Wasserstrom, Jeffrey. A Mickey Mouse Approach to Globalization. Yale Global. June 2003,

05/13. Week 13. Field Trip: TBA

05/20. Week 14. Cosmoplitanism

Peter Hall. Cities in Civilization. (Excerpts) pp3-10, pp282-288. (Digital Coursepack)

Reading Presentation:

Kwame Anthony Appiah. The Case for Contamination. New York Times, January 1 2006

Pico Iyer. “ The Burning House” Global Soul. pp 1- 39. (Digital Coursepack)

Nussbaum, Martha  “Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism.” Boston Review19 (5). 1994