Spring 2020 - HIST 255 D100

China since 1800 (3)

Class Number: 4572

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 6 – Apr 9, 2020: Thu, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

  • 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 25%
  • Four short essays, (three essays of approximately 900-1,200 words, each worth 15%; one essay of approximately 1,200-1,800 words, worth 20%). 65%
  • In-class writing exercises 10%



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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