china europe summer school logo

China, the US, Europe and the Rise of Asia – Ideas, Culture and Perceptions

Peking University, Beijing, China
2017-07-17 - 2017-07-28
Course Fee
11.500 CNY (incl. course fee + course materials + housing + social programma)
4 ECTS & Certificate of Attendance
Advanced Bachelor
Course description

Using historical, cultural, and sociological documents and data, this course examines the dominant self-perception of what are arguably the three most important global players, the United States, the European Union, and the People’s Republic of China. The course explores how the rather different ways they think and define themselves and their respective missions, give rise to socio-cultural assumptions that play a formative role in both domestic and foreign policy and shape each player’s internal debates and sensitivities. This course thus provides students with the historical and theoretical background on European, Chinese and American thinking needed to understand these players’ perspective on the rise of Asia and, in particular, the rise of China. Students will examine and discuss current developments in China – such as China’s changing role in international organizations, China’s engagement with Africa, and China’s reliance on a non-Western model of governance – as well as the often conflicted Euro-American responses to these developments.

This course will offer students an intensive but varied two-week program with lectures, workshops, and excursions. Students are expected to actively participate in the workshops, prepare a (group) presentation and write a paper.

Student profile/target group

Students of the social sciences, including economics and business, political sciences, European studies, history, culture studies and sociology, the sciences and engineering at senior undergraduate level with an interest in culture, society and politics. A wide range of interests will help, but no specific expertise is required.



Course language


Course Requirements

  • Attendance
  • Active participation in workshops
  • Presentation and research paper


  • Workshop participation: 20%
  • Presentation: 20%
  • Research paper: 60%


A course reader will be distributed at the start of the course

Course structure

6 interactive lectures
2 guest lectures
4 workshops
2 halfday excursions
2 presentation sessions
Self study: reading; writing of a research paper

This course can be combined with

For more information

Required application documents



Course director / Lecturers

  • Prof. dr. Hans Bertens

    Prof. dr. Hans Bertens is Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Utrecht University, The Netherlands, and specializes in literary studies and (more recently) intellectual history. He has taught at various universities and has lectured widely in Europe, the United States, and East Asia (including Peking University, Renmin University, and Tokyo University). He has published mostly on American literature, literary theory, crime fiction, and postmodernism. His books include The Idea of the Postmodern: A History (London and New York: Routledge, 1995), Literary Theory: The Basics (London and New York: Routledge, 2000; 3rd rev. ed. 2013), Contemporary American Crime Fiction (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001; with Theo D’haen), American Literature: A History (London and New York: Routledge, 2013; with Theo D’haen). 


Course schedule
July 15, 2017

Arrival day

July 16, 2017

Registration and orientation

July 17, 2017

09.00-12.00 Session 1: The Idea of Europe

July 18, 2017

09.00-12.00 Session 2: Early Modern Europe: Fault Lines and the Rise of Global Power

July 19, 2017

09.00-12.00 Session 3: Individualism and the Enlightenment

July 20, 2017

09.00-12.00 Session 4: American Ideologies

July 21, 2017

09.00-12.00 Session 5: American (Cultural) Power

July 24, 2017

09.00-12.00 Session 6: The Postwar West

July 25, 2017

09.00-12.00 Session 7: Chinese Identity

July 26, 2017

09.00-12.00 Session 8: Chinese Perceptions

July 27, 2017

09.00-12.00 Session 9: Contemporary Chinese Literature and Culture

July 28, 2017

09.00-12.00 Session 10: Student Presentations, Discussion and Conslusions


In collaboration with