Spring 2018 - HIST 255 D100

China since 1800 (3)

Class Number: 3300

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    SSCC 9002, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 12, 2018
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    SWH 10081, 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, and beyond.


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 16 (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 800 words), to be completed as a take-home exam due on February 8. 22%
  • Final exam, Format: three short essays. 33%
  • Exams for this course will be submitted via Turnitin, a third party service licensed for use by SFU. Turnitin is used for originality checking to help detect plagiarism. Students will be required to create an account with Turnitin, and to submit their work via that account, on the terms stipulated in the agreement between the student and Turnitin. This agreement includes the retention of your submitted work as part of the Turnitin database. Any student with a concern about using the Turnitin service may opt to use an anonymous identity in their interactions with Turnitin. Students who do not intend to use Turnitin in the standard manner must notify the instructor at least two weeks in advance of any submission deadline. In particular, it is the responsibility of any student using the anonymous option (i.e. false name and temporary e-mail address created for the purpose) to inform the instructor such that the instructor can match up the anonymous identity with the student.



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