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HIS 350: Contemporary China

Course Description

This course examines those major events and issues in China’s modern history from 1949 through the present day that have shaped its politics, culture, and industrialization. It makes comparisons and describes linkages, historically and culturally, between China, its Asian neighbors, and the Western powers. Its addresses China’s turmoil under Mao Zedong and surveys its unprecedented economic development and impact on the global community, and considers the challenges posed by China’s modern role as “workshop to the world.”

This course is an approved Survey Course in Non-Western History for teacher certification in Connecticut.

Prerequisites

  • ENG 101: English Composition 1
  • ENG 102: English Composition 2

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Gain an understanding of contemporary Chinese national developments with reference to past traditions; the challenges of China’s modern development; and Chinese behavior and national characteristics in business, international relations, and society;
  2. Refine writing and cognitive skills through written essays and class discussion forums;
  3. Become proficient in functioning in an online learning environment and in the use of online resources related to modern China.

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading

Assignments

Weight

Essays (6 total)

37%

Discussion Forums (6 total)

37%

Midterm Exam

13%

Final Exam

13%

Total

100%

Required Textbooks

Available through Charter Oak's online bookstore

  • Thomas Buoye et al, editors. Ann Arbor: Center for Chinese Studies (2002). China: Adapting the Past, Confronting the Future. ISBN: 0-89264-156-8
  • Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Alfred A. Knopf (2006). Mao: The Unknown Story. ISBN: 0-679-74632-3 (paperback)

Course Schedule

Please note this syllabus is broken down into modules, not weeks. This course is designed to cover eight weeks.

Module

SLOs

Readings and Exercises

Assignments

1

1, 2, 3

Topic: Geography and History

Readings:

  • China: Adapting the Past, Confronting the Future, Part 1
    • Introduction, pages 3-22
    • "China's Enviromental History in World Perspective", pages 31-40
    • "Uniting of China", pages 31-40
    • "Confucius", pages 41-51
    • "History and China's Revolution", pages 52-57
    • "A Proclamation Against the Bandits of Guangdong and Guangxi, 1854", pages 58-61
    • "The Boxer Uprising", pages 62-74
    • "The Chinese Enlightenment", pages 75-78
    • "Sun Yat-sen Opens the Whampoa Academy, 1924", pages 79-82
    • "Report on an Investigation of Peasant Movement in Hunan", pages 83-89
    • "Collapse of Public Morale", pages 90-93
    • "American Exculsion Act, May 6, 1882", pages 94-96
    • "Chinese Ant-Foreignism", pages 97-98
  • Mao: The Unknown Story Part 1: Lukewarm Believer
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Module 1 Essay

2

1, 2, 3

Topic: Politics

Readings:

  • China: Adapting the Past, Confronting the Future, Part 2
    • Introduction, pages 103-124
    • "The Beijing Upheaval of 1989", pages 127-138
    • "China Since Tiananmen Square", pages 139-146
    • "Human Rights in China", pages 147-158
    • "Chinese Nationalistic Writing in the 1990's, pages 159-169
    • "A Quiet Roar: China's Leadership Feels Threatened by a Sect Seeking Peace", pages 170-172
    • "China's Emerging Business Class: Democracy's Harbinger?", pages 173-180
    • "Village Elections: Democracy from the Bottom Up?", pages 181-189
    • "The Virus of Corruption", pages 190-201
  • Mao: The Unknown Story Part 2: Long March to Supremacy in the Party
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Module 2 Essay
  • Review for Midterm Exam

3

1, 2, 3

Topic: Society

Readings:

  • China: Adapting the Past, Confronting the Future, Part 3
    • Introduction, pages 207-221
    • "Family and Household", pages 225-234
    • "Home-Cured Tobacco-A Tale of Three Generations in a Chinese Village, pages 235-241
    • "How Come You Aren't Divorced Yet?", pages 242-249
    • "Human Rights Trends and Coercive Family Planning", pages 250-254
    • "McDonald's in Beijing: The Localization of Americana", pages 255-259
    • "The Fengshui Resurgence in China", pages 260-274
    • "China's Catholics", pages 269-274
    • "Urban Spaces and Experiences of Qigong," pages 275-282
    • "Chinese Women in the 1990s: Images and Roles in Contension", pages 283-292
    • "Hey Coolie! Local Migrant Labor", pages 293-299
    • "Second Class Citizen/ Homosexuals in Beijing", pages 300-309
    • "Elementary Education", pages 310-320
  • Mao: The Unknown Story Part 3: Building His Power Base
  • Read assigned chapter
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Complete Written Assignment
  • Module 3 Essay
  • Midterm Exam

Midterm Exam
Adapting the Past, Confronting the Future Parts 1 – 3 and Mao: The Unknown Story Parts 1 - 3
SLOs 1, 2, 3

4

1, 2, 3

Topic: Economy

Readings:

  • China: Adapting the Past, Confronting the Future, Part 4
    • Introduction, pages 329-349
    • "China 202: Understanding the Present", pages 353-260
    • "Is a Rich Man Happier Than a Free Man", pages 361-368
    • "How to Reform a Planned Economy: Lessons from China", pages 369-376
    • "Rural-Urban Divide: Economic Disparities in China", pages 377-381
    • "Development in Chinese Corporate Finance", pages 382-389
  • Mao: The Unknown Story Part 4: To Conquer China
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Module 4 Essay

5

1, 2, 3

Topic: Culture

Readings:

  • China: Adapting the Past, Confronting the Future, Part 5
    • Introduction, pages 395-409
    • "Medicine"
    • "Autumn Night"
    • "Talks at the Yan'an Forum on Art and Literature", pages 435-449
    • "Sealed Off", pages 440-451
    • "The Unglovable Hands", pages 452-462
    • "On the Other Side of the Stream", pages 463-486
    • "Responsibility", pages 487-491
    • "On the Road 18", pages 492-498
    • "Deathsong of the River", pages 499-503
    • "I Have Nothing", pages 504-505
    • "Playing for Thrills", pages 506-513
    • "The Revolution of Resistance", pages 514-522
    • "Fin de Siecle Splendor", pages 523-539
    • "Four Stanzas on Homesickness", page 540
  • Mao: The Unknown Story Part 5: Chasing a Superpower Dream
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Module 5 Essay
  • Review for Final Exam

6

1, 2, 3

Topic: Future Trends

Readings:

  • China: Adapting the Past, Confronting the Future, Part 6
    • Introduction, pages 547-566
    • "The New Guard", pages 569-573
    • "The Chinese Web Opens Portals to New Way of Life", pages 574-578
    • "The Chinese Future", pages 579-599
    • "Prospects for Democratization in China", pages 600-614
    • "The Fifth Modernization", pages 615-618
  • Mao: The Unknown Story Part 6: Unsweet Revenge
  • Read assigned chapter
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Complete Written Assignment
  • Module 6 Essay
  • Final Exam

Final Exam
Adapting the Past, Confronting the Future Parts 4 – 6 and Mao: The Unknown Story Parts 4 - 6
SLOs 1, 2, 3