The purpose of “China in World Affairs” is to help students develop a nuanced, thoughtful, and analytical understanding of China’s dramatically changing roles in international and world affairs – not simply the reputation or the image that China has in world affairs, but its actual changing roles. Until mid-2012, the economy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was growing faster than that of any major country; China led the world in this category after 1979. The PRC now has the world’s second-largest economy, just after the United States and one step ahead of Japan. If current trends continue, China will surpass the U.S. in aggregate GDP in the late 2020s. But as the course will explore, the PRC’s “rise” in international power terms could stall as a consequence of contradictions in the economic model (e.g., excessive reliance on debt to fuel growth), environmental degradation, population aging, repressive politics, and more. What would the implications be for international relations? For example, would a continually-rising China come into conflict with the United States and its allies, or with India or Vietnam? The answer to such questions might depend on the PRC’s identity as an actor, rooted in its distinctive historical experiences – both before and after 1949 or 1979. We will aim in this course to characterize China’s developmental trajectory and understand the role of national identity in influencing the PRC’s international impact by using social science analytical tools and by studying critical junctures in contemporary Chinese history.