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HST 242: History of China from the Ching Dynasty to the Present

Course Prefix

Course Number

Course Title


Credit Hours



History of China from the Ching Dynasty to the Present



Course Description

Surveys the history of China from 1644, the Ching Dynasty, to the present. The content will stress the evolution of China from a period of strength and unity to one of disunity and change during the revolutionary times of 1911-1949. Special emphasis will be placed on the establishment of the Communist government in 1949 to the present. Economic modernization, role of foreigners, and cultural advancements will also be highlighted. IAI S2-915-N

Topical Outline

  1. Rise of Manchus
  2. Ching Dynasty
  3. Ching Emperos
  4. Culture and Literature in the 18th century
  5. Foreign Contacts and Overseas Trade 
  6. Canton System and Sino-British Tensions
  7. Opium Trade
  8. Opium Wars 
  9. China and the West
  10. Taiping Rebellion
  11. Dowager Empress 
  12. Self-strengthening Movement
  13. Sino-French War
  14. Sino-Japanese War
  15. End of the Old Order
  16. Boxer Rebellion
  17. Revolution, 1911
  18. Fragmentation and Struggle
  19. Guomindang and Sun Yat-Sen, 1913 - 1923
  20. Nationalist Government
  21. China under the Nationalists, 1927-1934
  22. China during WWII
  23. Consolidation and Construction Peoples Republic of China, PRC, 1949
  24. The Revolution Continued, 1958 - 1976
  25. Cultural Revolution 
  26. Mao
  27. China after Mao, 1976-1978
  28. China in the Age of Deng Xiaoping Four Modernizations
  29. China in the 1990’s - Reforms
  30. China and the 21st Century

Method of Presentation

  1. Lecture
  2. Discussion
  3. Designated readings
  4. Cooperative learning
  5. Oral reports
  6. Simulations
  7. Debates
  8. Appropriate media and selected films

Student Outcomes (The student should…)

  1. explain the significance of the Ching Dynasty.
  2. explain the political, social, economic, intellectual, and cultural institutions of China from the Ching to the end of the 18th century.
  3. explain the conflict of tradition vs modernity in China.
  4. explain the role of the West in China.
  5. trace the interactions between China and the West.
  6. describe the Great Taiping and Boxer Rebellions in China.
  7. evaluate the impact of the West in China.
  8. explain the collapse of the Imperial system in 1911 in China.
  9. explain the rise of Nationalism in China.
  10. trace the rise of Communism in China.
  11. describe China post-1949.
  12. describe China post-Mao.
  13. evaluate the role of Communism in China, 1949–present.
  14. describe the issues of political authority, economic reform, and social changes from 1644 to the present in China.

Method of Evaluation

  1. Three (3) essay examinations
  2. Three (3) document-based case study analyses
  3. One (1) oral presentation
  4. One 15-page primary source research paper


Cheng, Search for Modern China: Documentary Collection, Norton, 1999.

Fairbanks, China: New History, Harvard, 2006.

Harkins, Window to the World of Imperial China, McGraw Hill, 2002.

Sheridan, China in Disintegration, 1977.

Spence, Jonathan D., The Search for Modern China, Norton, 2nd ed., 1999

Prepared by: Michael Harkins, Fall, 2008