Fall 2022 - HIST 254 D100

China to 1800 (3)

Class Number: 3945

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    AQ 3149, Burnaby



This course offers a broad survey of the history of China from antiquity to the eve of its modern transformations at the turn of the nineteenth century. It aims to challenge the perception of an unchanging China and to encourage students to develop a critical understanding of the forces integrating and dividing this geo-cultural unit. Breadth-Humanities.


This course introduces Chinese history from the Shang Dynasty through the mid-Qing Dynasty (approximately 1600 BC – 1800 AD). No prior knowledge of China or Chinese culture is required. We will explain change and continuity in the geographical space now known as China while also situating China in Asia and the world. We will learn about dynasties and emperors but will also unsettle traditional chronologies by asking how decolonizing imperial Chinese history can reveal new perspectives, stories, and voices. We will also discuss science and medicine and will examine the status of women in premodern China. In order to assess how ordinary people experienced and understood this long period of change, we will read and evaluate a variety of primary sources created by people during the time periods under study. 

By the end of the term students will (1) gain an appreciation of the tremendous changes and diversity of China before 1800; (2) understand the tools and practices of historians; and (3) improve their reading, notetaking, writing, and analytical skills.


  • Tutorial attendance and participation 23%
  • Three short essays, (two essays of approximately 900-1,200 words, each worth 20%; one essay of approximately 1,200-1,800 words, worth 25%) 65%
  • Four brief writing exercises (no longer than a paragraph), to be submitted during lecture 12%


STUDENT DROP-IN TIME: Tuesday, 12:40–2:10 p.m., MBC Food Court



Sarah Schneewind, An Outline History of East Asia to 1200, second edition, 2021. Open access. https://escholarship.org/uc/item/9d699767

Other readings available on Canvas.

Registrar Notes:


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