Last year, China passed Japan to become the world's second-biggest economy. Most analysts anticipate that it will surpass the United States as well, perhaps as soon as 2020. Why has China become such a force? And what does this mean for the United States? This course examines China from multiple angles, including the tension between communism and capitalism, democracy and authoritarianism, and traditional culture and globalization, while also exploring critical issues like human rights and environmental degradation. In addition, we will look to the past to better understand China's current trajectory, including European imperialism and the rise and rule of Mao Zedong.