Spring 2018

History of Modern China

Spring 2018
Subject Area: 
Course Number: 
HIST 097 601
Monday 5:00pm-8:00pm

Clifford, Timothy

Course Description: 

We are living in the so-called “Chinese century,” but how did we get here? How should we understand the emergence of modern China? This course considers this question in its political, social, and cultural dimensions through examining a broad array of multimedia primary sources, including political documents, novels and short stories, films and TV shows, oral accounts, posters, magazines, and physical objects. We will proceed chronologically through a series of key events: the splendor and collapse of the final two imperial dynasties as China was integrated into a new world system, the establishment of the Republic and the birth of the Communist party in the fire of the New Culture Movement, the devastation of World War II and establishment of a new socialist state in its aftermath, and finally a retooling of state and society for the demands of global capitalism. In particular, we will focus on three topics: (1) socio-political upheaval and revolutionary discourse, (2) the experience of daily life, and (3) China’s place in the international community and global economy. Through critical analysis of primary sources and group discussion, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the major events, personalities, and issues of modern Chinese history, and learn to think historically about nationalist narratives more broadly.