• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Non Language Asian Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Shuge Wei
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2019
    See Future Offerings

This module introduces the history of China from 1800 to the present day. This period marked some of the  greatest triumphs and tragedies of China’s long history: from the glories of the Qing empire to the degradation of famine, internal dissent and foreign occupation. The course pays close attention to the People’s Republic of China, which began as a vast socialist experiment, and later emerged as one of the great capitalist powers.   It closes by asking how China’s historical experience might help us to understand the challenges facing the country today.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the skills and knowledge to

1. Understand the important events and themes of China's modern history.
2. Critically summarize and examine scholarly perspectives on China's modern history and society.
3. Critically examine primary sources relating to China's modern history and society.
4. Demonstrate and explain ways to advance scholarly understanding of China's modern history and society.
5. Examine and explain the effect of China's history on its self perception.
6. Solve a variety of skill-based research tasks individually and in groups.

Other Information

This is a co-taught course. Any cap on enrolments in one course applies to both courses combined.

Indicative Assessment

Tutorial Participation: 30%  : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Research Proposal 30% :  1, 2, 3, 4
Midterm exam 20%  : 1, 5
Final Exam 20% : 1, 5

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The course comprises a weekly load of two one-hour lectures and two one-hour tutorials. It demands six hours of tutorial preparation, including assigned readings, and review of lectures. The course may incorporate group projects or other skills-based assignments.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed at least 24 units of university courses. Incompatible with ASIA6037.

Preliminary Reading

Ch'ü, T'ung-Tsu, Local Government in China Under Ch'ing. Cambridge, Mass: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1988: pp. 15-35.
Philip Kuhn, Soulstealers: The Chinese Sorcery Scare of 1768. Harvard University Press, 1990: 119-138.
David Ownby, “Chinese Millenarian Traditions: The Formative Age (in AHR Forum: Millenniums),” The American Historical Review, Vol. 104, No. 5. (Dec., 1999), pp. 1513-1530.
“Chinese Impressions of the West” compiled from Renditions, vol. 51-52.
S.C.M. Paine, The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895: Perceptions, Power and Primacy. Cambridge University Press, 2003: pp. 21-61.
Lu Xun, The True Story of Ah Q
Alexander Pantsov, The Bolsheviks and the Chinese Revolution, 1919-1927. University of Hawaii Press, 2000: 53-69.
Fan Hong, “Blueshirts, Nationalists and nationalism: Fascism in 1930s China” in Mangan, J. A. Superman Supreme: Fascist Body As Political Icon : Global Fascism. Sport in the global society. London: Frank Cass, 2000: 205-226.
Mao Zedong, A Report on the Hunan Peasantry, 1928.
Chiang, Yung-chen. 2001. Social engineering and the social sciences in China, 1919-1949. Cambridge University Press, 2001: 136-158.
J. Clayton Miller, “The Drama in China’s anti-Japanese Propaganda” Pacific Affairs 11, 4 (1938): 465-477.
M. Royama, “The South Manchuria Railway Zone, and the Nature of its Administration” Pacific Affairs 3, 11 (1930): 1018-1034.
CR - Liu Shaoqi, 1940; Zhou Enlai, 1945, 1948.
Elisabeth Green, “Crisis in Manchuria” Pacific Affairs 4, 11 (1931): 1005-1013.
Dikötter, Frank. Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-62. London: Bloomsbury, 2010: 174-188.
S. A. Smith, “Talking Toads and Chinless Ghosts: The Politics of “Superstitious” Rumors in the People's Republic of China, 1961–1965” American Historical Review 2006 111:2, 405-427
A. Z. M. Obaidullah Khan “Class Struggle in Yellow Sandhill Commune” The China Quarterly, No. 51 (Jul. - Sep., 1972), pp. 535-546.

“The Language of Diplomacy” (coursepack of primary readings)
“Communist primer” (coursepack of primary readings).

Assumed Knowledge

Two ASIA, HIST or POLS coded courses amongst prerequisites.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $3000
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $4560
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4439 25 Feb 2019 04 Mar 2019 31 Mar 2019 31 May 2019 In Person View

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions