History of Modern China

Discipline: History of East Asia
Instructor: Rhoads
Credits: 3

Field Work: Day 2 - Friday, 5 February | China Download Syllabus

This course, conducted in a lecture-and-discussion format, covers the history of China during the last 250 years. We first will look at China as it existed in the mid-18th century, when it was at its height of affluence and power; we then trace the country’s slow and agonizing disintegration due to successive domestic upheavals and foreign defeats in the 19th century as well as its rapid regeneration by the middle of the 20th century; finally, we will examine China in the last half of the 20th and the first years of the 21st century under the rule of the Communists.

One additional aspect of the history of modern China is the spread of the Chinese people overseas, which we will also consider as we make our way to the various port cities of Asia and Africa.

Field Work

Country: China
Day: 2 - Friday, 5 February

With the expert guidance of Professor POON Shuk-wah of the History Department of Lingnan University in Hong Kong, we will go on a day-long tour of two very different historical districts – Ping Shan in the New Territories and Sheung Wan on Hong Kong Island – in this Special Administrative Region, as the former British colony is now designated.
Based on what you learn from this Field Lab and more generally from the course, please write a 6-8 page (1500-2000 word) paper on the history of Hong Kong and its relationship, past and present, to the rest of China.
This paper, which counts for 20% of your course grade, will be due after we leave Ghana. It will be evaluated on what you say and how you say it.

Academic Objectives:
1. The spatial geography of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the PRC.
2. Southern Chinese rural society in late traditional times.
3. Hong Kong’s urban society in the late 19th and early 20th century.