Among “China-watchers,” there is a strong emphasis on studying technological capabilities and translating official Chinese documents, but cultural and behavioral understanding of China and its military forces remains a blind spot, principally because of the difficulties involved in spending time on the ground. This three-session online course seeks to redress this blind spot by equipping students to understand China through tools that are underappreciated yet accessible and rigorous. Using maps, travelogues, historical accounts, and other primary source materials, fellows will learn the fundamentals of the behavioral and cultural aspects of China’s government and military forces.

Just as a sophisticated understanding of U.S. society and politics requires knowledge of different regions and cultures within the United States, so too for China. Instructor and geopolitical risk analyst Jeremy Furchtgott has spent extensive time travelling in China’s peripheral regions, with a focus on China’s northern and western regions (Tibetan areas, Xinjiang, and Mongol areas). He will provide an overview of the geographic, cultural, demographic, and other inputs that shape China’s border regions as well as China’s core, allowing fellows to understand Han China not as a homogenous whole, but instead as an amalgamation of different regions and cultures. By the end of the course, fellows will be equipped to produce their own independent assessments of China’s behavior and U.S.-China relations based on primary source analysis.

Image: Tom Stromer, Sticks & Glass, via Flickr Creative Commons


Jeremy Furchtgott

Jeremy Furchtgott is Director at Baron, a firm dedicated to providing U.S. private-sector as well as U.S. government clients with insights needed to prevail in strategic competition. In addition to serving as a member of the firm’s management team, he leads Baron’s China practice.

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