China: Beijing and Tianjin

The University of Toronto will offer one sociology course, worth one full-year credit.  This virtual course has limited space and is contingent on adequate enrolment.  Classes will take place Monday through Thursday mornings.  

SOC393Y0 Selected Topics in Sociological Science Research: Contemporary Chinese Society

The course aims to enhance students' understanding of Chinese politics, economy and culture and the impacts of market-oriented reforms on the lived experience of the people in contemporary China.  With a combination of classroom lectures and discussions, students will have the opportunity to study various aspects of social, economic and political changes in contemporary China, including employment and gender, grassroots level democratic election, family organization and formation, social networking, poverty, social welfare, religion and the environment. 

Prerequisites: None 
Breadth requirement = 3.  
Note:  Can be counted towards programs in Contemporary Asian Studies at the University of Toronto.
2021 Course Outline

Virtual Field Trips

In addition to formal lectures, this course will also include: (tentative) 

  • guest lecturers such as world-renowned scholars and local experts.
  • discussions with the local university students in China to discuss some important topics in this course.
  • live-streamed tours to show daily lives in different regions of China. 
  • a virtual visit to an organization in China. 


Professor Weiguo Zhang is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga.  Dr. Zhang specializes in social demography, ageing and elderly care, and sociology of families.  His work primarily focuses on social changes in China and well-being of older Chinese immigrants in Canada. His research has covered a variety of topics including Chinese "old child" policy and fertility, China's domestic adoption of children, welfare of childless elderly, economic and political participation of women, marriage and family dynamics, elder abuse, and intragroup dynamics among Chinese immigrants in Canada.  Dr. Zhang received his PhD in Development Studies at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands, in 1998.

Dr. A. Ka Tat Tsang, PhD (Toronto) is a Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work.  His scholarship focuses on the development of a knowledge base for human services in the global context, through active integration of theory, practice and research.  He teaches direct practice courses in the MSW program and the courses on epistemology and social work research in the PhD program.  He has been actively promoting social work and the development of. human service programs in China since the 1980s.  He founded the FAculty's China Program in 1997, and has been the Director since.  He is the founder of the SSLD (Strategies and Skills Learning Development) System which supports a wide range of human service applications in Canada and internationally.  These applications cover personal, family, group, organizational and community interventions.