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Unit information: Sino-US Relations in Global Politics in 2021/22

Unit name Sino-US Relations in Global Politics
Unit code POLIM3033
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Zhang
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The relationship between the United State and China is arguably the most important bilateral relations that shapes global politics in the 21st century. It is perhaps also the most turbulent great power relations in the last sixty years. This unit examines first this troubled relationship in history. Through different theoretical and interpretive lenses, it looks at the conflict and cooperation between these two great powers and its strategic implications for regional and global security and the emerging global order. To provoke students' thinking about how the dynamics of this set of great power relations is likely to affect global political economy in the future, it will also discuss a number of paradoxes and puzzles in the current engagement between the two largest economies in the world.


  • To introduce to students a special dimension of great power politics and global political economy;
  • To enable students to apply a variety of theoretical perspectives of International Relations in their understanding of contemporary issues;
  • To help students to identify a key set of dynamics in global politics of the 21st century.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this unit, students are expected to acquire:

  • A body of analytical knowledge about Sino-US relations in both its historical and contemporary manifestations;
  • A deepened understanding of dynamics of great power politics for the evolving global political economy;
  • Enhanced ability for critical thinking;
  • Improved skills to use theoretical tools in conducting independent enquiry.

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Information

Formative assessment in the form of 10 minute seminar presentation with one-page handout, which provides opportunity to evaluate students' acquisition of knowledge and to monitor their skill development with written feedback;

Summative assessment: a 4,000 word essay (100%), which tests students' analytical knowledge acquired through the unit and their ability for critical thinking and their skills for independent enquiry.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. POLIM3033).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.