Spring 2017 - HIST 255 D100

China since 1800 (3)

Class Number: 3957

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We, Fr 10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
    SSCC 9002, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 15, 2017
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    SSCB 9201, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Jeremy Brown
    1 778 782-4379
    Office: AQ 6228



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, twentieth, and twenty-first 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, 12%, total of 1 possible point per session, starting on January 11 (1 point for active participation, 0.5 for inadequate participation or late arrival, 0 points for absence). Informal written reading responses, 11%, 1 possible point per response (1 point for a response that shows that you completed and thought carefully about at least one of the assigned readings for that week, 0.5 points for an unclear or sloppy approach to the reading, 0 points for responses that do not show evidence that you completed the reading). Responses should be approximately 300 words long, may be typed or handwritten, and are due in tutorial in weeks 2-10 and 12-13. 23%
  • Newspaper/magazine primary source analysis; 600-800 word essay due in Week 11. 8%
  • Quizzes; Two unannounced quizzes during lecture, each worth 7 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. 14%
  • Midterm exam; Format: two short essays (each approximately one-and-a-half handwritten 8.5x11 pages, slightly longer than a quiz), to be completed in 50 minutes. 22%
  • Final exam; Format: three short essays, to be completed in 120 minutes. 33%



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:

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