• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Non Language Asian Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Shuge Wei
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2023
    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:

  1. Understand the important events and themes of China's modern history.
  2. Critically summarise 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

  1. Tutorial Participation (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  2. Research Proposal (30) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Midterm exam (20) [LO 1,5]
  4. Final Exam (20) [LO 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 is taught as two hours of in-class lecture, and one hour of tutorial per week. It requires two hours of reading, and two hours of review or tutorial preparation per week. Some iterations of the course may incorporate group projects or other skills-based assignments.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

This course is incompatible with ASIA2037.

Prescribed Texts


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.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2023 $3960
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $5820
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
3522 20 Feb 2023 27 Feb 2023 31 Mar 2023 26 May 2023 In-Person and Online View

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