Lo/56k Hi/300k
HomeSubjectsResourcesE-SeminarsE-CoursesColumbia University
Browse according to your interestsClass websites, webcasts, and more
Short courses free to ColumbiaFor-credit coursesColumbia new media initiatives
Columbia InteractiveSite MapSearchHelp
E-Seminars: E-Seminar Detail

E-Seminars in This Series

E-Seminar 1
The Roots of Crisis

E-Seminar 3
Behind Red Walls: Changing Politics in China

A Series of Three E-Seminars
Tiananmen: June 1989 and Its Significance
Tiananmen: June 1989 and Its Significance
E-Seminar 2, Chinese Democracy and Its Future

Taught by: Andrew J. Nathan

E-Seminar Description
Professor Nathan, one of the leading scholars of modern Chinese politics and human rights, traces the history of democracy in China in Chinese Democracy and Its Future, the second e-seminar of Tiananmen: June 1989 and Its Significance. Professor Nathan analyzes the differences between Western and Chinese conceptions of democracy. He also investigates the history of constitutions in China, and the role that constitutions play in Chinese politics. The e-seminar includes excerpts from scholarly articles on the subject, and contains a timeline of pro-democracy events in modern Chinese history.

In this three-part series, Professor Nathan examines the most important event in the movement toward democracy in China—this time explained from the government's point of view. His analysis, based in part on hundreds of previously unpublished memos, meeting minutes, and other internal documents, sheds light on a perspective rarely considered when discussing the events of June 1989 in China.

In the third e-seminar in the series, Professor Nathan will examine the impact that the events surrounding Tiananmen have had on Chinese politics since 1989.

E-Seminar Length:3-5 hours
Start Date:Anytime
Columbia Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni:FREE

Interested in this
Go to the e-seminar now*.

Note: Columbia students, faculty, staff, and alumni will need to use their University Network ID (UNI) to access e-seminars.

E-Seminar Objectives | Outline | Instructor's Background | Recommended Reading |
Additional Course Information |Technical Requirements

E-Seminar Objectives
•    Gain an understanding of the place of the Tiananmen Square events of 1989 in the context of previous pro-democracy efforts in China.

•    Understand the big picture of China's political history during the twentieth century.

back to top

1. The Chinese Brand of Democracy
2. Democracy Put into Practice
3. The Chinese Vision of Political Reform
4. The Evolution of Chinese Constitutions
5. The Nature of Chinese Constitutions
6. The Tiananmen Students and Democracy
7. Timeline of Democracy in China

back to top

Instructor's Background
Instructor's Background
Andrew J. Nathan is professor of political science at Columbia University. His publications include Peking Politics,1918–1923 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976); Chinese Democracy (New York: Knopf, 1985); Popular Culture in Late Imperial China, coedited with David Johnson and Evelyn S. Rawski (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985); Human Rights in Contemporary China, with R. Randle Edwards and Louis Henkin (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986); China's Crisis (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990); The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress: China's Search for Security, with Robert S. Ross (New York: Norton, 1997); China's Transition (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997); The Tiananmen Papers, coedited with Perry Link (New York: Public Affairs, 2001); and Negotiating Culture and Human Rights: Beyond Universalism and Relativism, coedited with Lynda S. Bell and Ilan Peleg (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001). His current research involves collaborative survey-based studies of political culture and political participation in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other Asian societies.

Born on April 3, 1943, in New York City, Professor Nathan received his degrees from Harvard University: the B.A. in history, summa cum laude, in 1963; the M.A. in East Asian regional studies in 1965; and the Ph.D. in political science in 1971. He taught at the University of Michigan in 1970–71 and at Columbia University since 1971. He has held a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, and others. He served as director of the East Asian Institute, 1991–1995, and director of graduate studies in the Political Science Department since 1997.

Professor Nathan was chair of the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch, Asia, 1995–2000, and continues to serve on this committee and on the board of Human Rights in China. He is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Democracy, The China Quarterly, The Journal of Contemporary China, and China Information, among others. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, the Association for Asian Studies, and the American Political Science Association. He does frequent interviews for the print and electronic media, has advised on several film documentaries on China, and has consulted for business and government.

The East Asian Institute is Columbia University's interdisciplinary center for research and teaching on modern East Asia. Its faculty members conduct individual and group research projects.The Institute awards a certificate in East Asian studies to students enrolled in the university's various graduate programs.

back to top

Recommended Reading
Wm. Theodore de Bary. Asian Values and Human Rights: A Confucian Communitarian Perspective.  Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998.

Merle Goldman. Sowing the Seeds of Democracy in China: Political Reform in the Deng Xiaoping Era. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1994.

Andrew J. Nathan. Chinese Democracy. New York: Knopf, 1985.

Andrew J. Nathan. China's Transition. With contributions by Tianjian Shi and Helena V. S. Ho. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.

Suisheng Zhao, ed. China and Democracy: The Prospect for a Democratic China. New York: Routledge, 2000.

back to top

Additional Course Information
Who should take this course? Sinophiles; international-affairs enthusiasts; political activists; history buffs; teachers of history, East Asian history, world history, social studies, and political science; lifelong learners.

Reading assignments: There are no required reading assignments in this course, though Professor Nathan has recommended a number of books for those who wish to pursue the course topics further.

Taking the seminar: The content of this seminar is delivered entirely on the Internet. You may access this content and participate in discussions at any time during which the course is open. There are no set times you must be online.

back to top

Technical Requirements
You will need to use a computer with Internet access to complete this course. We recommend the following minimum configurations:

Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, or NT
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 4 or above (Internet Explorer 5 strongly recommended) or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

MAC OS 8.6 or higher
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 5 or above or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

back to top

Help   |   Privacy Policy