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E-Seminars: E-Seminar Detail

E-Seminars in This Series

E-Seminar 1
The Roots of Crisis

E-Seminar 2
Chinese Democracy and Its Future

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

Tiananmen: June 1989 and Its Significance
A Series of Three E-Seminars

Taught by: Andrew J. Nathan

E-Seminar Description
In this three-part e-seminar series, Tiananmen: June 1989 and Its Significance, Andrew J. Nathan, one of the leading scholars of modern Chinese politics and human rights, examines the most important event in the movement toward democracy in China—this time, explaining it from the point of view of the government itself. Professor Nathan's interpretation is based on a new understanding of the events of the Tiananmen uprising and its suppression, offered by the publication of hundreds of previously secret memos, minutes of meetings, and other internal government documents. The Tiananmen Papers, of which Professor Nathan served as coeditor, offers a perspective rarely considered when discussing the events of June 1989 in China.

In The Roots of Crisis, the first e-seminar in the series, Professor Nathan chronicles the events that occurred in Beijing in the spring of 1989, and discusses these events in light of what these internal communications reveal about the government's response to what was happening in the streets.

In the second e-seminar, Chinese Democracy and Its Future, Professor Nathan traces the history of democracy in China and analyzes the difference between Western and Chinese conceptions of democracy.

In Behind Red Walls: Changing Politics in China, the third and final e-seminar of Tiananmen: June 1989 and Its Significance, Professor Nathan examines what The Tiananmen Papers reveal about the workings of the Chinese political system. He looks at the question of political succession in China and considers the future of political reform and what form democracy in China might take if it is achieved there.

Series Length:9-15 hours
Start Date:Anytime
Columbia Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni:FREE
Interested in this
Go to the series now.

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

E-Seminar Objectives
•    Appreciate the place of the Tiananmen Square uprising in the pro-democracy movements of 1989 worldwide.

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

•    Learn the perspective of Chinese leadership on events that are usually described from the opposing (student) point of view.

•    Understand the sequence of events that occurred at this important moment in modern Chinese history.

•    Gain a general appreciation for the official rhetoric of the Tiananmen Square crisis.

•    Examine the impact of Tiananmen Square on China's relationship with the world.

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E-seminar 1
1. Backdrop to Tiananmen
2. Beijing Spring
3. The Tiananmen Papers
4. Internal Consequence of Tiananmen
5. Tiananmen and the World
6. Aftermath of Tiananmen

E-Seminar 2
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

E-Seminar 3
1. The Tiananmen Papers
2. Lessons from the Tiananmen Papers
3. The Chinese Reaction
4. The Question of Succession
5. The Future of Reform

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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 has taught 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 from 1991 to 1995, and has served as director of graduate studies in the Political Science Department since 1997.

Professor Nathan was chair of the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch, Asia from 1995 to 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 is frequently interviewed about East Asian issues by print and electronic media, and he has served as an advisor to several film documentaries on China and as a consultant for businesses and government agencies.

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Recommended Reading
The Tiananmen Papers
Nathan, Andrew J. and Perry Link, eds. The Tiananmen Papers. Compiled by Zhang Liang. New York: Public Affairs, 2001.

For further reading, Professor Nathan suggests the following:
Buruma, Ian. Bad Elements: Chinese Rebels from Los Angeles to Beijing. New York: Random House, 2001.

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

Friedman, Edward, and Barrett L. McCormick, eds. What If China Doesn't Democratize? Implications for War and Peace. Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 2000.

Gilley, Bruce. Tiger on the Brink: Jiang Zemin and China's New Elite. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

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

Han Minzhu and Hua Sheng, eds. Cries for Democracy: Writings and Speeches from the 1989 Chinese Democracy Movement. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990.

Link, Perry. Evening Chats in Beijing: Probing China's Predicament. New York: Norton, 1992.

Nathan, Andrew J. China's Crisis: Dilemmas of Reform and Prospects for Democracy. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.

———. China's Transition. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997; 1999 (paperback).

———. Chinese Democracy. New York: Knopf, 1985; 1986 (paperback).

———. "The Tiananmen Papers: An Editor's Reflections." The China Quarterly 167 (September 2001): 724–37.

Schell, Orville. Mandate of Heaven: A New Generation of Entrepreneurs, Dissidents, Bohemians, and Technocrats Lays Claim to China's Future. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994.

Zhao, Suisheng, ed. China and Democracy: Reconsidering the Prospects for a Democratic China. New York: Routledge, 2000.

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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.

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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)

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