Spring 2016 - HIST 255 D100

China since 1800 (3)

Class Number: 4176

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We, Fr 1:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    WMC 3520, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 22, 2016
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    RCB IMAGTH, Burnaby



A survey of the history of China from the end of the eighteenth century, when traditional Chinese society was arguably at its height of development, to the end of the twentieth century when the social revolutions promised by the Communist regime have clearly failed to materialize. The main objectives are to provide students with vocabularies and tools to understand and interpret the political, social and cultural transformations in modern China and to initiate them in the art and techniques of historical analysis. Breadth-Humanities.


China began the nineteenth century controlled by the Manchus, a non-Han ethnic group. Manchu rule expanded China’s frontiers and the Chinese economy prospered before 1800. Crisis loomed, however, in the form of population pressure, internal rebellion, and imperialist aggression. In 1911, the Manchu-led dynasty fell and was replaced by a republic that struggled to address the many challenges facing people in China. We will explore the accomplishments and traumas of the twentieth century, including student movements, Communist revolution, Japanese invasion, civil war, industrialization, famine, the Cultural Revolution, the reform era, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the suppression of Falun Gong, and censorship today.

Upon successful completion of the course students should have (1) gained an appreciation of the magnitude of the problems facing people in China during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; (2) improved their ability to interpret contentious historical debates and moments by constructing arguments based on convincing evidence; (3) become familiar with how historians practice their craft by reading and analyzing primary and secondary sources.


  • Tutorial (Attendance and participation, 11%; Informal written reading responses, 11%). 22%
  • Quizzes, Two unannounced quizzes during lecture, each worth 8 points. The format is a short essay (approximately one handwritten 8.5x11 page) in which you show that you completed and thought carefully about the readings assigned for that week. No make-ups. 18%
  • Midterm exam, Midterm exam 24%
  • Final exam, Format: three short essays, to be completed in 120 minutes 36%



Ida Pruitt, A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1967).

Anita Chan, Richard Madsen, and Jonathan Unger. Chen Village: Revolution to Globalization. Third Edition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009).

Harold M. Tanner, China: A History, Volume 2 (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2010).

Other readings available online.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html