Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Between Revolution and Reform: China since 1800
Academic Year
Semester 1
Exclusive (Any Acad Year)
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  (2,500 words)  50%
Semester Assessment Open Exam  Open examination 2500 Words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Exam  Open examination 2500 Words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  Essay 2500 Words  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. ​​Demonstrate an understanding of a substantial body of historical knowledge relating to China between 1800 and the early twenty-first century.

2. Identify the different factors that facilitated major historical changes, and critically assess their roles in shaping China today.

3. Critically engage with current approaches to non-Western histories, including frameworks that challenge Eurocentric perspectives in the context of post-colonial studies.

4. Read, analyze and reflect on a variety of (translated) primary and secondary sources relating to modern China.​​

Brief description

This module introduces students to the history of modern China over the past two centuries, when China underwent major reforms and revolutions, fought numerous wars, and experienced tremendous political, social, and economic transformations. By following historical developments between 1800 and the early twenty-first century in three periods: the late Qing dynasty (up to 1911), the Republican era (1912-1949), and the Communist era (since 1949), the module investigates main themes including China’s responses to Western challenge and Japanese aggression, Nationalist and Communist revolutions and conflicts, Mao’s ideological campaigns in the post-colonial world, and China’s recent economic reforms and political restrictions. To supplement the linear narrative in lectures, primary sources will be analyzed in seminars to illustrate the complexities of the society and its people. In addition, students will have opportunities to review on-going debates on and current approaches to non-Western histories.



A. 1800-1911: late Qing
1. Introduction: Imperial China before 1800
2. The Qing Empire in 1800
3. China, the West, and the Opium War
4. Domestic Uprisings and Peasant Rebellions
5. Reforms and Tensions in the Imperial Court
6. The Collapse of the Qing dynasty

B. 1912-1949: Republican China
7. Early Years of the Republic
8. May Fourth and the New Culture Movement
9. The Nationalist Revolution and the Nanjing Decade (1927-1937)
10. The Rise of the Chinese Communist Party
11. World War Two in China
12. Civil War and Divided Nations

C. 1949- present: Communist China
13. Communist China and the Cold War
14. Maoist Socialism: from the Hundred Flowers Campaign to the Great Leap Forward
15. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
16. Economic Reforms and Opening to the World
17. June Fourth, or the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre
18. China in the New Century


1. Chinese Treaty Ports
2. The Hundred Days’ Reform
3. Rural and Urban Societies in the Early Twentieth Century
4. ‘Red’ China in the 1930s
5. Understanding the Cultural Revolution
6. Life in the Reform Era

Revision session at the end of the teaching.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will be introduced to data in the form of tables and figures and a range of quantitative data, which will require some degree of interpretation and understanding.
Communication Written communication skills will be developed through the coursework and written examination; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars but are not formally assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be advised on how to improve research and communication skills through the individual tutorial providing feedback on submitted coursework.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be expected to word-process their work and make use of Blackboard. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will develop a range of transferable skills, including time management and communication skills, which may help them identify their personal strengths as they consider potential career paths.
Problem solving Students are expected to note and respond to historical problems which arise as part of the study of this subject area and to undertake suitable research for seminars and essays.
Research skills Students will develop their research skills by reading a range of texts and evaluating their usefulness in preparation for the coursework and the written examination.
Subject Specific Skills Students will develop knowledge of the historical trajectory of a key subject in modern history and contemporary society (cross-border human migration). Students will also develop ability to identify and assess primary sources, and apply comparative approaches.
Team work Students will be expected to play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars) and to learn to evaluate their own contribution to such activities.


This module is at CQFW Level 5