College: Made in China?

In an age of nationalism – of Trump, Xi, Modi, and Putin – Western-style liberal arts colleges are, paradoxically, springing up across the world. In just the last five years, Yale, NYU, and Duke have opened campuses in Singapore or China and other schools have formed partnerships across Asia and the Middle East. What’s behind this renaissance and how does it square with the growing anxiety in the U.S. about the value of a college degree? Is a liberal arts education even possible in authoritarian societies? Can China invent its own Apple without opening up its political system? What about reports that there is more free speech on these campuses than in the U.S.? Students will Skype, WeChat, and meet personally with advocates and critics, presidents and protestors, and faculty and students who are involved in these ventures. They will read transcripts of contentious Duke faculty debates, prickly editorials from Yale, and provocative faculty blogs from NYU and from Chinese universities.  A Next Generation digital learning experience (, Slack,, QallOut), students will encounter the diversity of doubts about, and hopes for, these ventures inside China and other countries. The course will culminate in a debate on the perils and possibilities of going truly global.