Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Course Syllabus: China and The Middle East

China and The Middle East
PS505 - R&C: CRN: 47156

Instructor: Tugrul Keskin             
Office:    333 East Hall                 
Google Phone: (202) 630-1025
Office Hours:       Tuesday 1:00 – 4:00 PM or by appointment

It doesn't matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.
Deng Xiaoping

Course Description and Objective:

This course will review and analyze the increased presence of PRC in the Contemporary Middle East. After the Deng Xiaoping came to power, he liberalized the Chinese state and economy. As a result of his economic policies, the PRC opened its doors to foreign investment and international companies. This trend created a “great transformation in Chinese society.”  Over the next thirty years, the Chinese middle class grew to a size of over three hundred fifty million people. David Harvey calls this process “neoliberalism with Chinese characteristics.” However, this economic transformation and the emergence of a large middle class in China created additional energy needs for the state and society. This led to a shift in Chinese foreign policy towards the Middle East. Therefore, over the last few years China, as an emerging global power, has heavily invested in the economies of Middle Eastern countries. However there are other competitors in the Middle Eastern economic market; such as the United States and Europe. Although the Middle East is considered an American backyard, China is currently trying to enter the Middle Eastern market for its own energy and security needs. However, unlike in Africa, China has moved slowly in order not to disturb American National Interests. China is consequently sneaking into the Middle Eastern oil market without too much attention to this trend. In this class, we will review how the growing needs for oil and gas of the Chinese economy has shaped Chinese foreign policy in the Middle East after 1978.

The course objectives are 1) to acquaint students with both traditional and contemporary literature and research on Chinese Foreign Policy toward Middle East and 2) to introduce students to the historical and ideological basis of Classical and Contemporary Chinese and Middle East relations

Required Books:
This course will use sections from the following books and articles:

Recommended Readings:
  • Jon B. Alterman and John W. Garver. The Vital Triangle: China, The United States and the Middle East. CSIS, 2008.
  • Yitzhak Shichor. The Middle East in China's Foreign Policy, 1949-1977. Cambrdige University Pess, 1979.
  • Scott Harold and Alireza Nader. China and Iran E conomic, Political, and Military Relations. RAND, 2012.
  • James Chen. The Emergence of China in the Middle East. Strategic Forum National Defense University, 2011: SF No. 271 1.
  • Henry Kissinger. On China. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2011. 
Recommended Books:
  • Kemp, Geoffrey. The East Moves West: India, China and Asia’s Growing Presence in the Middle East. Washington: Brookings, 2012.
  • Olimat, Muhamad S. China and the Middle East. From Silk Road to Arab Spring. New York: Routledge, 2013.
  • Simpfendorfer, Ben. The New Silk Road: How a Rising Arab World is Turning Away from the West and Rediscovering China. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
  • MacFarquhar R. The Politics of China: The Eras of Mao and Deng. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press; 1997.
 Recommended Articles:.
  • Antonov, Ivan. "China's Growing Role In International Affairs." International Affairs: A Russian Journal Of World Politics, Diplomacy & International Relations 57.4 (2011): 27-31.
  • Jin Liangxiang. Energy First China and the Middle East. Middle East Quarterly Spring 2005, pp. 3-10.
  • Huiyun, Tang. "China's Soft Power Construction Policy." Journal Of US-China Public Administration 9.5 (2012): 563-569.
  • Pantucci, Raffaello, and Alexandros Petersen. "China's Inadvertent Empire." National Interest 122 (2012): 30-39.
  • Rozman, Gilbert. "Invocations Of Chinese Traditions In International Relations." Journal Of Chinese Political Science 17.2 (2012): 111-124.
  • Xiao, Ren, and Gordon Cheung. "Sources And Transitions Of Chinese Foreign Policy: An Introduction." East Asia: An International Quarterly 28.3 (2011): 169-174.
  • Demır, İdris. "Revival Of The Silk Road In Terms Of Energy Trade." University Of Gaziantep Journal Of Social Sciences 9.3 (2010): 513-532.
  • Gee, John. "China's Challenges In The Middle East." Washington Report On Middle East Affairs 30.8 (2011): 30-31.
  • Menon, Raja. "The East Moves West, India, China, And Asia's Growing Presence In The Middle East." Maritime Affairs: Journal Of The National Maritime Foundation Of India 7.1 (2011): 121-128.
  • Peerenboom, Randall. "China And The Revolutions In The Middle East And North Africa." Middle Eastern Law & Governance 3.1/2 (2011): 192-203.
  • Pham, J. Peter. "China's “Surge” In The Middle East And Its Implications For U.S. Interests." American Foreign Policy Interests 31.3 (2009): 177-193.
  • Zambelis, Chris, and Brandon Gentry. "China Through Arab Eyes: American Influence In The Middle East." Parameters: U.S. Army War College 38.1 (2008): 60-72.
  • Harris, Stuart. "Global And Regional Orders And The Changing Geopolitics Of Energy." Australian Journal Of International Affairs 64.2 (2010): 166-185.
  • Hayoun, Massoud. "Strange Bedfellows." World Affairs 175.5 (2013): 89-96.
  • Olimat, Muhamad. "The Political Economy Of The Sino-Middle Eastern Relations." Journal Of Chinese Political Science 15.3 (2010): 307-335.
  • Gvosdev, Nikolas. "Don't Count China Out In Middle East." World Politics Review (2012): 1.
  • Gardels, Nathan. "It's Time For China To Start Shaping The New Global System." NPQ: New Perspectives Quarterly 28.3 (2011): 2-5.
  • Hulbert, Matthew. "Shifting Global Balance Heralds New Energy Imperatives." Middle East 438 (2012): 32-36.
Newspaper Articles:
  • Davis, Rowenna. "China Is Now Challenging The U.S. In The Middle East.." CCPA Monitor 16.3 (2009): 10-11.
  • Ford, Peter. "Libya unrest tests China's interests in the Middle East." Christian Science Monitor 02 Mar. 2011: N.PAG.
  • Spegele, Brian, and Matt Bradley. "Egypt's Morsi Firms Up Ties to China." Wall Street Journal - Eastern Edition 29 Aug. 2012:
  • Topol, Sarah A., and Peter Ford. "Q&A: Why China has become the Middle East's favorite customer." Christian Science Monitor 13 July 2010: N.PAG.
  • Ian Bremmer. China's fast-growing Middle East problem. The Economist. Tuesday, March 13, 2012
  • Brian Spegele And Jeremy Page. China to Shake Up Foreign-Policy Leadership. The Wall Street Journal. March 10, 2013.
·      Willy Lam. Meet China’s New Foreign-Policy Team Is Beijing using its latest appointments to send a message to Washington? Foreign Policy. March 8, 2013.
·      China's Foreign Policy:
·      Tania Branigan. China's foreign policy is playing catch-up with its new status.     The Guardian, Thursday 22 March 2012.
·      Council On Foreign Relations:     

Documentaries and Movies:   
·      China's Role in the Middle East: Pan Guang
·      China and the Middle East: Rising Power and a Region in Turmoil
·      Western Approaches: Responses to China from the Middle East and Central Asia.
  • Roberts: USA vs China in the Middle East
·      China's role in the Middle East
·      Journeys Into Islamic China - Huda Documentary
·      Muslim in China - Part 1
Recommended Websites and Embassies:
·      Principles of China's Foreign Policy

Course Philosophy:
The goal of this course is to enable students to write a theoretically guided and empirically rooted research paper.  I expect you to become familiar with the social, political and economic underpinnings of transformations in the Modern China.

The success of this course depends on your continued and sustained reading and participation. The course will be based on a four-dimensional method of learning, and this includes inquiry and critical thinking; communication; the diversity of human experience; and ethics and social responsibility. First, I would like you to critically analyze what you learn in this class or have learned so far through the media and education, because in today’s world, truth is a relative concept. Throughout human history, critical thinking is the one of the most important factors that has contributed to human development.  In order to become active, self-motivated, empowered learners and future leaders, you will need to have the ability to think critically, and therefore your criticism, feedback and suggestions are necessary. Second, I would like you to enhance your writing and oral communication skills in this course. Therefore, it is important to clearly elaborate your arguments in the class discussion as well as in the written assignments.

Third, we are each part of the human mosaic, and all have different experiences based on our social, political and economic differences. We can all learn from and respect each other and benefit from our diversity. Please try to learn from and understand those with different perspectives than you. Lastly, we need to learn that we are all part of this intellectual community and larger society, and all have social and ethical responsibilities to our family, community, classmates, and humanity. We live in a globalized world and therefore, we need to be aware of events in our community, and the world today. In order to enhance our knowledge, we must critically examine our social, political and economic environment in order to apply this knowledge to our experience.

Course Requirements
To prevent confusion later, please read the following information carefully:

This is a collaborative course between student and instructor. In this class, we aim to produce the following document:

  1. Draft Version of a Journal Article (9000-10.000 words)
Draft version of Journal Article: For this requirement, the instructor and student will write a draft version of the journal article based on readings, interviews, and official documents. Therefore, this will be a collaborative work. The journal article will be 9000-10,000 words. Also, the abstract of this developing article will be submitted to an international conference. The tentative article structure is shown below. There are four steps to complete this project:

·  Creating a draft version of an article
·  Sharing the article with scholars in the field for feedback and suggestions
·  Presenting the paper in an international conference:
·  Submitting the article to scholarly journals:
o   Third World Quarterly-
o   Critical Sociology -         
o   Journal of Asian Studies
o   International Sociology -
o   China Information: A Journal on Contemporary China Studies
o   Journal of Contemporary China

Tentative Title:
Chinese Foreign Policy Towards the Middle East in the Neoliberal Era: Sociological Analysis of the Political Economy of PRC 

Tentative Structure
  • Introduction/Abstract of 300-600 Words
  • Literature Review
  • Political Economy of China
  • Political Economy of the Middle East  
  • Social and Political Factors of Chinese Foreign Policy Towards Middle East: Uyghur Nationalism and Islam
  • Countries to Review: Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt
  • National Energy Rivals and Other Actors: Russia, India, and Europe
  • US versus China: Middle East Oil Resources
  • Future Trajectories of Chinese Foreign Policy
  • Conclusion
Format: ASA citation and bibliography format will be followed. All work should adhere to the guidelines published by the American Sociological Association (ASA) at  
This is not a definitive source, but is a Quick Guide provided by ASA.

Grades: Your grade for this course will be based on your performance on the following components, shown with their dates and respective weights:

The grading system in this class is as follows:
A                95-100     
A-              90-94    
B+              86-89    
B                85     
B-               80-84    
C+              76-79    
C                75    
C-               70-74    
D+             66-69    
D                65    
D-              60-64
F                (Failure)     

-You are expected to follow PSU’s student code of conduct, particularly 577-031-0135 and 577-031-0136, which can be found at
Violations of the code will be reported to the Office of the Dean of Student Life.
-You are encouraged to take advantage of instructor and TA office hours or email communication for help with coursework or anything else connected with the course and your progress.
-If you are a student with a documented disability and are registered with Disability Resource Center (503.725.4150 or TDD 725.6504), please contact the instructor immediately to arrange academic accommodations.
-Make sure you have an ODIN account; this email will be used for D2L and important emails from the instructor and TA.  DO NOT USE THE INTERNAL D2L mail function to contact us. If you do not typically use your PSU ODIN account, figure out how to get your mail from this account forwarded to the account you usually use.