HIS21220 Modern China Since 1600

Academic Year 2021/2022

This survey course is designed to give students an introduction to the history of modern China from the Qing Dynasty to the end of the twentieth century. It is organised both chronologically and thematically, giving students an understanding of the key forces that have shaped modern China as it has emerged today. The module seeks to help students understand the dramatic changes in modern Chinese history through a critical engagement with a wide variety of visual, documentary, literary, audio and film primary source material. In particular the module highlights key themes in modern Chinese history including: Gender, War and Revolution. We will consider the violence that has characterised modern Chinese history ranging from the Manchu Conquest of 1644 to the Taping Rebellion, the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War. We will also study reforms and revolutions from the 1911 Revolution which ended the Qing Dynasty to the establishment of the Peoples Republic of China in 1949, the Cultural Revolution and Reform and Opening from 1978. We will examine the changing position of women from practices of footbinding in Late Imperial China, to the emergence of the ‘New Woman’ in the early twentieth century, women’s status in Mao’s China and feminism in modern China today. Throughout the module students will engage with recent debates in the literature and will be asked to think critically about the relationship between Chinese modernity, the ‘west’ and gender in China’s turbulent twentieth century of wars and revolutions.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

 Knowledge and understanding of the key events and themes in Modern Chinese history, including the role of changing Gender relations, War, and Revolution in shaping China.
 Demonstrate an understanding of the key historiographical debates in Modern Chinese history.
 The ability to develop arguments about the way historians have understood Modern China, thinking critically about the role of the West.
 Develop skills in critical reading and analysis of primary sources (both oral and archival).

Indicative Module Content:

1. 1644: The Manchu Conquest
2. Women in Qing China
3. Internal Disorder and Foreign Aggression
4. Late Qing Reforms and the 1911 Revolution
5. ‘An Age of openness?’ May fourth, the Nationalist Revolution and the Nanjing Decade.
6. Reading Week
7. The Second World War in East Asia.
8. The Chinese Civil War and the 1949 Revolution.
9. Mao’s China in the 1950’s and the Great Leap Forward.
10. The Cultural Revolution.
11. Reform and Opening and Tiananmen.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Seminar (or Webinar)




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This survey module is taught via a weekly one-hour lecture, and weekly small group seminars. Key module content will be delivered in the lectures, while the seminars will ask students to consider a question which addresses a debate in the literature on the week’s topic. Students will be expected to independently prepare for the seminar by reading the assigned primary and secondary sources and prepare to actively contribute to class discussions. Seminars will include peer to peer, partner and small group work, as well as whole class discussion and student-led debates. Students will develop the skills necessary for analysing primary sources (oral and archival) in seminars and develop their own ideas on the larger historiographical debates. Autonomous learning is nurtured through these student-led seminar discussions and via the mid-term essay assignment. Students are expected to develop and demonstrate independent research skills, evidencing correct citation style, primary and secondary source analysis and the ability to develop arguments which advance original lines of thinking. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Mid-term assignment of 1,000 words Week 6 n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Students are graded on their contribution to seminars throughout the semester Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: End of term essay of 2,000 words Week 12 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback on the mid-term and end of term essay assignments are given in writing via Brightspace. Individual online feedback appointments will be made available to students post-assignment.

Name Role
Mr Liam Maloney Tutor
Dr Nathan Millin Tutor
Miss Zhengfeng Wang Tutor
Ms Yanli Xie Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Thurs 13:00 - 13:50
Seminar Offering 2 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Fri 11:00 - 11:50
Seminar Offering 3 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Fri 13:00 - 13:50
Seminar Offering 4 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Thurs 15:00 - 15:50
Seminar Offering 5 Week(s) - 1, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Thurs 14:00 - 14:50
Seminar Offering 5 Week(s) - 2, 3, 4 Thurs 14:00 - 14:50
Seminar Offering 6 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Thurs 14:00 - 14:50
Seminar Offering 7 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Thurs 15:00 - 15:50
Seminar Offering 13 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Thurs 16:00 - 16:50