China has emerged as a global superpower. Its economic, political, and cultural influence will uniquely shape the 21st century. The purpose of this course is to immerse students in both the official and vernacular narratives that “new China” presents to itself and the world. Narratives are both a way of knowing about the world and a way of participating in that world. Narratives organize and make sense of the people, places, events, and actions that we experience. Narratives shape what a particular experience means and how our individual and collective interpretations are connected. Through on-the-ground exploration of Beijing and Shanghai, students will study the complex, interrelated, and consequential historical and contemporary Chinese narratives constructed through public memorials, mass media, public relations and advertising, and everyday sites of cultural production and display. Students will examine these multi-dimensional narratives through readings, discussions, and assignments that include both experiential and analytical components.