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State, Economy and Politics in Contemporary China and India


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (60 EC, 120 EC or research). Students who are interested in taking this course, but who have not been admitted to one of the MA programmes mentioned are requested to contact their education co-ordinator.


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 significant 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 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; Development under Mao and Nehru; Neoliberalism, Economic Growth and Market; Mobility and Middle Class; Inclusion and Exclusion; Secular and Spiritual; Political Institutions and Leadership: Xi and Modi; Civil Society and Protests; Mutual and Global Engagement.

Course objectives

Contextualising contemporary China and India in a broader historical and 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, inclusion 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.


The timetables are avalable through My Timetable.

The deadline(s) in MyTimetable is/are set for administrative purposes only. The actual date(s) will be communicated by the lecturer(s) in Brightspace.

Mode of Instruction


Attendance is compulsory for all classes. Students must prepare well and contribute to in-class discussion. Absence in the class without notification may result in lower grades or exclusion from assessment components and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment Method

Academic integrity

Students should familiarize themselves with the notion of academic integrity and the ways in which this plays out in their own work. A good place to start is this page. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students may not substantially reuse texts they have previously submitted in this or other courses. Minor overlap with previous work is allowed as long as it is duly noted in citation.

Students must submit their assignment(s) to Brightspace through Turnitin, so they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.

ChatGPT: What is possible and what is allowed? Dos and Don'ts.

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Class Participation + One Short Written Assignment (1500 Words) & Presentation 50%
One Long Research Paper (4000 Words) & Presentation 50%

The final mark for this course is formed by the weighted average.

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher.

The course is an integrated whole. All assessment parts must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


Only if the total weighted average is insufficient (5.49 or lower) and the insufficient grade is the result of an insufficient mark for the research paper, a resit is possible for the paper (50%). In thiis case the lecturer of the course may assign a (new) topic and give a new deadline.

No re-sits or resubmissions are possible for the other assignments.

Inspection and feedback

Feedback will be supplied primarily through Brightspace. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the assessment results, a review will be organized.

Reading list

The list of required readings (accessible via Leiden University Library) will be published on Brightspace before the semester starts.


Enrolment through My Studymap (Login | Universiteit Leiden) is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the information bar on the right.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: [Naam Onderwijsadministratie](link naar contactgegevens OA).