The search for Modern China: the Republican (1912-1949) and Communist (post 1949) Eras

Course Dates: 27/04/23 - 29/06/23
Time: 15:00 - 17:00
Location: Keeley Street
To understand China of our present means understanding China of the past. Why not join PhD Fellow Dylan Wang to learn about the histories and legacies of the Republican and Communiest eras from 1912 till today?
Book your place
In stock
Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £219.00 Concession £142.00

Course Code: HWH102

Thu, day, 27 Apr - 29 Jun '23

Duration: 10 sessions (over 10 weeks)

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

What is the course about?

This course follows the trajectory of Chinese history in the Republican era (1912-1949) and the People’s Republic of China (1949-) to help you gain a sharper understanding of China’s often tortuous journey in a globalising world. Only by scrutinising these tumultuous centuries can we get a full sense of how China’s current problems have arisen, and of what resources—intellectual, economic, and emotional—the Chinese can call upon to solve them. The focus of this course is on China’s odyssey to become a ‘modern’ nation—one that is both integrated and receptive, fairly sure of its own identity yet able to join others on equal terms in the quest for new markets, new technologies, new ideas—as well as its many glorious achievements and the disastrous consequences when the journey went wrong.

What will we cover?

Inevitably, such an analysis must give priority to politics—that is, how China’s rulers and Chinese critics of those rulers have sought repeatedly over this long time span to formulate strategies that would strengthen their country’s borders, streamline bureaucratic institutions, keep free from foreign interference, and sharpen the rigour of the intellectual tools needed to analyse the efficacy and the morality of political actions. However, in order to gain a more comprehensive picture, we will also examine many other aspects of Chinese history, including commerce, culture, philosophy, religion, women and gender, the family and kinship system, etc. All of these aspects of Chinese society can be seen in various forms from the Ming onward, have brought deep changes to China, and have endured to the present time.

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

- have an understanding of the key struggles and structural transformations of China in the past century
- identify the fundamental challenges faced by the revolutionary governments in the twentieth century, and outline the various responses to those challenges
- gain an understanding of the social and economic concerns and activities in modern China
- gain an understanding of many other aspects of Chinese society and culture where drastic changes have occurred such as religion, women and gender, the family and kinship system, etc.

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

This is an ‘introductory’ level course and does not assume any previous study or reading. An open mind and a willingness to listen and to think about views with which you are not familiar or may not agree are more important than any previous knowledge or experience in the subject matter.

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

The course will consist of tutor presentations, some audio and video clips as appropriate, some in-class readings for discussion, as well as opportunities for questions and comments. I will also recommend further readings for those who are keen to delve deeper.

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

There are no extra costs apart from your own note-taking materials.

- Rana Mitter (2008). Modern China: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
- Jonathan D. Spence (2013). The Search for Modern China. 3rd ed. W. W. Norton & Company.
- Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, ed. (2016). The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China. Oxford University Press.
- Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, ed. (2022). The Oxford History of Modern China. Oxford University Press.
- John K. Fairbank and Denis C. Twitchett, eds. (1978-). The Cambridge History of China. 15 vols. Cambridge University Press.

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

Please explore our Asian history section for additional courses on China and Asia over summer and in term 1.

We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.