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China's Digital Geographies


Admission requirements

This course is intended for students of BA China Studies, and no prior knowledge is required.


This course introduces novel ways of thinking about China’s digital relations and China’s digital relationship with the rest of the world, through ideas around space, territory and mobility. A key principle of this course is that space matters! We will consider how the spatial realities of China’s internet - borders, infrastructure, territory - influence the forms of behaviour within the Chinese internet. Over 12 weeks students will consider the role of digital borders in producing territories, both inside and outside of China, and explore how states, private companies and regular citizens use a bordered digital territory in different ways, with positive and negative results.

In the first half of the course the spatial landscape is examined focusing on the idea of digital territory, learning how borders, laws and the idea of sovereignty is related to territory. In the second half of the course we consider the role digital territory has on everyday life within the digital border, examining topics such as socialising, romance, censorship and activism. We finish the course by considering what the Chinese internet means for the rest of the world.

Course objectives

Participants in the course will acquire the following:

  • Establish a sound understanding of China through the lenses of human and political geography as well as media and communication studies;

  • Gain insights into dominant academic theories in the field;

  • Identify relevant sources, theories and methods to carry out independent research;

  • Use this knowledge to perform research on China’s digital development, governance and everyday realities from a spatial perspective.


The timetables are avalable through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

In order to pass this course, the following will be required of participants:

  • Regular course assignments and presence (40% of final mark).

  • Final essay (60% of final mark).

Late submissions will be subject to grade deduction.

Regular, punctual attendance, thorough preparation of reading material, and continuous participation in discussions are expected.


See above.


There will be no resit for the course work, but individual submissions can compensate each other.

For the term paper, only a previous submission for the first attempt qualifies students for the resit, and only if that submission scored a failing grade. First attempts that received a passing mark (5.5 or higher) cannot be improved through further revision.

Grading of the resit will incorporate part of the grade for the first attempt. The grade for each component after a resit will be calculated as follows:

  • 25% of the first attempt, plus

  • 75% of the second attempt.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

There is no mandatory textbook for this course. All required readings will be announced on Brightspace and will be available through the Asian Studies library.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.


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

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof