25 Fascinating Open Courses & Lectures on China

China is a fascinating country to study, whether you’re native to Idaho or Brazil. A modern giant with a long history, a population of more than 1.3 billion, and an incredible growing economy provide plenty of material to study and become interested in. The Internet abounds with resources for learning about China in its past, present, and future, and we’ve found 25 of the best that are out there. Read on to discover 25 interesting open courses and lectures that share insightful peeks into one of the world’s most fascinating countries.

  1. Being Chinese

    Find out what it’s really like to be Chinese in this series from the Southern Institute of Technology. Episodes explore Chinese food, lifestyle, and language, while allowing for the country’s story to be told through local Chinese citizens. [SIT]

  2. East Asia in the World

    Understand how East Asia not only interacts with itself, but the world. Specifically, the course takes a look at how diplomatic, commercial, and cultural relationships join East Asia internationally. [MIT]

  3. SARS, Avian Influenza, and Swine Flu: Lessons and Prospects

    A part of the course Epidemics in Western Society Since 1600, this lecture discusses diseases of modernity, especially the SARS outbreak and “China’s campaign of silence” relative to the epidemic. Learn about the work of biologists, epidemiologists, and public health strategies that were put to work during the crisis from this lecture. [Yale]

  4. Economic Impact of Population Growth

    In this lecture, Yale’s Robert Wyman examines the economic phenomenon of population growth and economic development, specifically as rapid drops in Chinese fertility seem to have led to economic booms. He explores this idea, as well as the impact of China’s One Child Policy. [Yale]

  5. Review of China-US Currency Situation

    Learn about the current economics at work in the currency situation between China and the U.S. from this Khan Academy lecture. [Khan Academy]

  6. Gaoming Studio-China

    Interestingly, this course focuses on designing new ideas for a river area in the district of Gaoming, China. Follow along as the class creates design options for the proposed new district while considering the needs of the residents now and in the future. [MIT]

  7. The Coming China Wars: Where They Will Be Fought, How They Can Be Won

    University of California, Irvine economics professor Peter Navarro shares this lecture discussing the competitive advantage China presents in world markets. You’ll learn about Chinese mercantilist practices, as well as the eight major drivers of the “China Price” that make the country so successful. [UCI]

  8. China: Future of Global Environment

    Although China is often criticized as the world’s biggest polluter, this lecture explains why China represents the future of global environment. Lecturer Peter Seligmann discusses why China is leading the world in preserving its natural ecosystems, and what we can all learn from the country for long-term survival. [Stanford]

  9. Olympic Insider-2008 Beijing Olympics

    Find out about the impact and development that the 2008 Beijing Olympics had on China from this lecture series. The Institute for Pacific Asia shares a day at the Olympics, the opening ceremonies, and even economic considerations. [Institute for Pacific Asia]

  10. Economy and Business in Modern China and India

    This course compares the relative strengths and weaknesses of two major emerging economies: China and India. You’ll get a look into how they are becoming important players in the global economy. [MIT]

  11. Comparing Development in India and China

    Watch this lecture as Harvard Business School professor Tarun Khanna pits China and India against each other in a discussion of public and private rights. Khanna argues that the tradeoffs in rights have a major impact of each country’s business and development, and goes on to explain how either public and private rights are favored in both China and India. [Harvard]

  12. Floating Exchange Effect on China

    Khan Academy’s video explains how the floating exchange effect impacts China, making its currency stronger while the U.S. dollar becomes weaker. [Khan Academy]

  1. Traditional Chinese Literature

    Learn about the culture of China through its literature, including classic works of the country. You’ll get a look into major Tang dynasty poets as well as works including Dream of the Red Chamber and Journey to the West. [MIT]

  2. Development and Entrepreneurship in China

    In this lecture series, Tarun Khanna discusses the development and entrepreneurship at work in China. He primarily focuses on social entrepreneurship, but also discusses how the government and rights can have a profound impact. [Harvard]

  3. Smashing the Iron Rice Bowl

    This course takes an interesting look at how major political events in the 19th and 20th centuries have had an impact on ordinary Chinese people. You’ll find insightful films, personal narratives, and primary sources that really tell the story of life in China. [MIT]

  4. Gaming in China

    Watch this lecture to understand how EA focused on developing games for local markets. Specifically, lecturer Nick Earl discusses EA’s project to start a studio in Shanghai in order to learn about China’s gaming population. [Stanford]

  5. American-Chinese Debt Loop

    Part of the Core Finance track at Khan Academy, this video is all about how the debt loop works between America and China. [Khan Academy]

  6. Demographics & China

    History professor Kenneth Pomeranz discusses demographics in China in this lecture, but not in a typical way. Instead, he takes a look at demographics through the lens of sustainability and earth science, offering interesting revelations. [UCI]

  7. Population in Traditional China

    Yale’s Robert Wyman explains the early basics of China’s demographic history in this lecture. He discusses the impact of foods, female infanticide, and the pairing of a low rate of marriage with a high rate of fertility within those marriages. [Yale]

  8. Population in Modern China

    An extension of the previous lecture, Population in Modern China explains how today’s population in China differs from what has traditionally been experienced. Wyman explores the impact of Communism, famine, and the One Child Policy on China’s population. [Yale]

  9. East Asian Cultures: From Zen to Pop

    China has a wide variety of cultures within the country, as this course’s title suggests. Check out these lectures and materials to understand the various aspects of culture at work in China, including literature, cuisine, and pop culture. [MIT]

  10. Pegging the Yuan

    In this video, Khan Academy explains how the Chinese Central Bank could peg the Yuan to the dollar, using a strategy of printing Yuan while buying up a dollar reserve. [Khan Academy]

  11. Rural Hypertension in China

    Studies of heart disease, stroke, and hypertension in China are often centered on urban areas, but this lecture encourages viewers not to overlook the problem of rural hypertension in the country as well. Learn how ChinaCal is working to document the growing epidemic in this lecture. [UCI]

  12. Politics in 60 Seconds: China’s Responsibility

    For those looking to gain a rapid understanding of political concepts in China, this lecture is a great resource. Tune in for a 60-second overview of China’s responsibility in politics and international relations. [Nottingham]

  13. Debt Loops Rationale and Effects

    Discover the rationale and effects of debt loops in this lecture, with a specific focus on the positive and negative effects of the way that China devalues their own currency. [Khan Academy]

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