nl en

Society, Economy and Politics in Contemporary China and India in a Comparative Perspective


Admission requirements

No admission pre-requirements. Students who are interested in taking this course, but who are not admitted to one of the mentioned master programmes are requested to contact their co-ordinator of studies.


The emergence of China and India has made an immense impact on the political, economic and social dynamics of the contemporary world. The two Asian nations, with their civilizational past, gigantic population and enormous resources, exert a great influence worldwide. The rapid economic success both achieved after adopting neoliberal economy, China since 1978 and India since 1991, has been phenomenal. The growth narrative may have some similarities, but the state-market-society relations in China and India have many differences as the two nations represent two different socio-political systems. While China had a strong core and remained by and large unitary, India’s core was fragile and it followed the principle of unity in diversity to accommodate the periphery. Hence, the state and nation-building processes and experiences in the two countries followed different trajectories. China is a one-party dictatorship, while India is the world’s largest parliamentary multi-party democracy. While the Communist China runs a free-market command economy, democratic India has displaced planned economy with the descaling of state-run industries and rapid escalation of corporate takeover. China is driven by global ambition and superpower status, India aims towards a great regional power.
In this backdrop this course will cover the following themes:

  • Civilization to Nation-State;

  • Economic Development under Mao and Nehru;

  • Neoliberalism, Economic Growth and Market;

  • Mobility;

  • Inclusion and Exclusion;

  • Secular and Spiritual;

  • Political Institutions and Leadership: Xi and Modi;

  • Civil Society and Protests;

  • Global Engagement and Diaspora.

Course objectives

Contextualising contemporary China and India in a broader comparative perspective, this course aims to enable students:

  • to understand the trajectories of the state and nation-building processes in contemporary China and India;

  • to comprehend the dynamics of state-market-society relations in neoliberal China and India focusing on growth, mobility, inequality and exclusion;

  • to critically reflect on key social and political institutions, leadership and governance challenges;

  • to analyse the nature and impact of their global engagement;

  • to enhance skills in research, comparative analysis, presentation of well-argued and well-written research papers.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Assessment method

  • Class Participation + One Short Written Assignment (1500 Words) & Presentation: (50%)

  • One Long Research Paper (3500 Words) & Presentation (50%)


Participation element does not offer a resit opportunity. Analytical element can be re-submitted by submitting an additional assignment (to be determined by the instructor). Research element consists of two deadlines, the first one followed by an extensive feedback.

Reading list

The reading list will be provided on Brightspace. Students who want to start preparing themselves before the start of the course can get a provisionary Reading List from the lecturer (see contact details below).


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch


Dr. P.R. Kanungo