Discovering Late Imperial China: Ming to Qing, 1500-1800

Course Dates: 30/04/24 - 04/06/24
Time: 14:45 - 16:15
Location: Keeley Street
Journey into the heart of China's transformative era, where dynastic intrigue met daily life's rich fabric. Grasp the complexities of power, ethnic interplay, and innovation in an age of change in Late Imperial China.
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Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £71.00 Concession £58.00

Discovering Late Imperial China: Ming to Qing, 1500-1800
  • Course Code: HWH174
  • Dates: 30/04/24 - 04/06/24
  • Time: 14:45 - 16:15
  • Taught: Tue, Daytime
  • Duration: 5 sessions (over 6 weeks)
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: Qiuyang Chen

Course Code: HWH174

Tue, day, 30 Apr - 04 Jun '24

Duration: 5 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Centre for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

The course delves deep into a pivotal period of Chinese history from 1500-1800. Rather than a linear recounting, this course focuses on themes that underscore China's diverse culture, governance, and innovations during the Ming and Qing dynasties. We'll explore the nuances of ethnicity and power relations, particularly the unique scenarios where non-Han rulers governed a Han-majority population. Additionally, the course sheds light on advancements in science and technology, as well as China's evolving foreign ties. Engaging with various disciplines—from literature and anthropology to art and material culture—students will gain a multi-faceted understanding of Late Imperial China.

Please note that this is a 5-week course - no class will take place on 28/05/2025.

What will we cover?

Week 1: Ethnicity and Empire: Multi-Ethnic Governance
- Multi-ethnicity in the backdrop of the Yuan, Ming, and Qing
- Interactions, policies, and challenges of multi-ethnic governance
- The role of diverse ethnicities in shaping cultural, literary, and artistic expressions

Week 2: Gender, Society, and Material Culture
- Family structures, societal norms, and Confucian ideals
- Artefacts, heirlooms, and everyday items: Understanding society through material culture
- Art and literature as windows into gender norms and societal structures

Week 3: Religion, Scholars, and Bureaucracy
- Influence of major religions, popular beliefs, and their intersections with governance
- The scholar-gentry class and its significance in shaping policies and cultural norms
- The bureaucratic system, its evolution, and the role of Confucian scholars

Week 4: Foreign Relations and Global Connectivity:
- The Silk Route, maritime trade, and the beginning of globalisation
- Early Western encounters and the shifts in diplomacy
- China's global footprint in the early modern era

Week 5: Innovation in the Chinese Empire: Science and Technology
- Advances in agriculture, medicine, and astronomy
- The Needham Question: Why had modern science not developed in China but in Europe?
- Drawing global parallels: China's contribution to world knowledge.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Understand the complexities and richness of an early modern Chinese empire, spanning ethnic, cultural, and political dimensions.
- Interpret the history of China through diverse lenses, from literary to anthropological, deriving insights from art, material culture, and even culinary practices.
- Recognise and articulate China's historical connections and contributions to a global narrative.
- Connect today’s China with historical developments.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is introductory and everyone is welcome. No prior knowledge is necessary but a good grasp of English, an open mind, and a willingness to listen to different views are all that is required.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

There will be a combination of lectures, using a wide range of PowerPoint slides, and interactive-based discussion and debates. We shall use small group work to analyse original sources and a range of handouts will be available for discussion purposes. Occasionally reading outside the class will be provided on Google Classroom, but is not obligatory.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no additional costs, but you may wish to bring a pen and paper, or digital equivalents, for making notes.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

HWH175 Oral history workshop 1-3: Realising your plan.

Qiuyang Chen

Dr Qiuyang Chen received her PhD in history from the University of Warwick and specialises in Chinese history, oral history, and gender history. She has taught at the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham as a visiting lecturer. At City Lit, her classes explore topics including imperial and modern Chinese history, British-Sino relations, the history of Chinese diasporas, gender history, and oral history. In her leisure time, Qiuyang enjoys visiting museums and galleries, as well as outdoor activities such as rock-climbing, hiking and mountaineering.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.