Modern China (HIST*3320) | College of Arts

Modern China (HIST*3320)

Code and section: HIST*3320*01

Term: Winter 2023

Instructor: Norman Smith


This course will introduce students to a selection of topics in modern Chinese history. We will explore, in a roughly chronological fashion, how people’s lives intersected, and were intersected by, variables of war, revolution, gender, ethnicity, class, religion, and nationalism in China. This course will incorporate current and past debates to familiarize us with issues and problems that arise in re-thinking the past from a China-centred perspective. Course materials will include primary and secondary documents.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  1. increase your understanding of modern Chinese history and gain insight into your own positionality;
  2. strengthen your critical thinking and writing skills through reading, a presentation, an exam, and a term paper; and
  3. sharpen your public speaking and group discussion skills as these are considerable parts of the classroom experience.

Assessment Details

  • Research Paper (30%)
  • Critical Evaluation Assignment/Presentation (20%)
  • Participation (20%)
  • Final Exam (30%)


All readings for the course will be posted on Courselink. There is no textbook for this course. If students would like to purchase one, for personal interest, I suggest: Jonathan Spence. The Search for Modern China. Any edition; it is widely available. 

**Please note: This is a preliminary web course description only. The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description. The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.**