College of Staten Island
 The City University of New York

Modern China Studies

About Modern China Studies at CSI
Modern China Studies is an academic priority of the College of Staten Island. It involves numerous academic departments of the College, including Business; English, Speech, and World Literature; History; Media Studies; Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy; Psychology; and Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work. The World Languages and Literatures Department teaches courses in Mandarin and has a state-of-the art Media Center to enhance the study of Chinese language and culture. The College offers the Certificate Program in Modern China Studies for undergraduates majoring in various disciplines. The Center for International Service has been the locus for the program’s exemplary array of scholarly exchanges, artistic performance, and social and civil events.

Since moving to the new campus in 1993, the College of Staten Island has fortified its resolve to expand international education opportunities. The College’s mission statement articulates this promise by stating as one of its goals: “To further, in all aspects of the College’s activities, an appreciation of the pluralism of American society and an awareness of the importance of global education and international understanding.”It is through this commitment to enriching students’ lives through meaningful international study and experiences that the College of Staten Island has been recognized throughout CUNY as a pioneering institution in the area of international programs. As the College continues to evolve as a vital, multicultural community, the Modern China Studies Initiative has grown to reflect this diversity. Read more >>

In 1999, a group of faculty and staff formed the CSI Modern China Studies Group. Among the membership were three faculty who were appointed under the international studies priority; others, in areas such as cinema studies, international business, and social work, possessed research interests pertaining to modern China; and still others had developed interests in China through their participation in the faculty exchanges sponsored by the College's Center for International Service. 

The Center for International Service has been the locus of many activities supporting faculty and student study of modern China. For nearly 15 years the Center has managed the CUNY/Shanghai University Exchange Program, a university-wide faculty exchange program. Under this aegis, many faculty and administrative staff from CSI and other CUNY campuses have conducted research, teaching, and curriculum development projects in a variety of academic and administrative areas. In general, these projects were intended to help both universities develop the capacity to respond to the challenges of educating students for modern global realities. In 1991 the Center developed the CUNY/Nanjing Study Abroad program with Nanjing University. Under this program, students from CSI have studied Chinese language and culture and have learned first-hand about the transformations of contemporary Chinese institutions: In 2001 a new study abroad program was initiated with Shanghai University. This short-term program is offered twice a year and focuses on Chinese language and international business in the context of Shanghai. In addition to these ongoing activities, a variety of short-term projects have been conducted with various institutional partners from China. These have ranged from sending and receiving groups and individuals from institutions of higher education to conducting leadership development projects for governmental and non-governmental officials. All of these activities contribute to the health of the Modern China group programs for the future.

Current Status
Since 1999, the CSI Modern China Studies Group has participated in a number of educational and research activities that have promoted the study of the world’s most populous country. The Modern China group came together as a result of the common interest of faculty in this area. Indeed, this initiative developed independently and preceded the formation of the Academic Priorities Committee in the Division of Humanities and Social Science. Currently, the Modern China Studies Group meets monthly and has 25 members. Over the last three years, there have been a steady number of special projects and events that culminated in the fall 2005 semester of China. Read more >>

In the fall 2003 semester a Modern China Studies website was created and launched.  The Media Culture Department has hosted Chinese filmmakers and the Business Department has participated in two seminars concerning the “US-China Business Environment.” Under the leadership of Professor Ming Xia (Political Scientist), the College hosted an International Conference on Agricultural Issues in China in 2004 and will host a conference in May 2006 to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Fall 2005 was designated the semester of China by President Springer. The semester also coincided with the opening on campus of a new small high school in international studies and CSI’s partnership with the Asia Society. The semester served as semester-long kickoff for a new certificate in Modern China Studies.  The recent fall 2005 Modern China Studies semester, which included such highlights as an international film festival at Lincoln Center and international symposium at the campus, a special art exhibition in the College Gallery of the work of Chinese painter Baiyou Han, and the introduction of Mandarin to the College’s language offerings, has sparked further interest in the study of China. In spring 2006 ten CSI faculty members helped design a website to accompany the New York Times’ “China Rises Project.”

Curricular Strengths
We have gradually altered the College's curriculum to reflect increasing globalization and our students' interests in international topics. In addition to our "Contemporary World” general education requirement, the College offers a major in International Studies and minor. The major requires students to complete course work in three areas (economics/geography, culture and society, and political science); further, they must choose a concentration in a geographic area (Africa/the Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean/Latin America, or "Europe). They must demonstrate competence in a language at the level of the fifth semester. Minors are required to complete a four-course sequence and must demonstrate competence in a language at the fourth-semester level. Read more >>

Within the Business major, the College offers a concentration in International Business. Students following this concentration must complete a four-course sequence in international business, economics, finance, and politics.

With the addition of new faculty with specific interests in China, the curriculum has evolved to reflect their specializations. Within the various majors, the college offers courses with content specific to the study of China.  Enrollment in courses in Chinese language, literature, history, and political science has been robust.

Faculty Strengths
Many of the participating faculty in the Modern China Studies program are scholars and artists with national and international reputations.  Here is a list of faculty members with research agendas pertaining to the study of modern China and of faculty and staff who are active in the Modern China Studies Group.