• 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, History, Asian Studies, Asia Pacific Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Shuge Wei
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2025
    See Future Offerings

This course introduces the history of China from Qing dynasty to the end of Cultural Revolution . 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 invasion. The course pays close attention to the transition of China from a dynasty to a modern state, which involves political reform, military confrontations and social experiment.  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 analyse scholarly perspectives on China's modern history and society.
  3. Demonstrate and explain ways to advance scholarly understanding of China's modern history and society.
  4. Examine and review the effect of China's history on its self perception.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to independently conduct research on historical events and policies
  6. Critically examine primary sources relating to China's modern history and society.

Other Information

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

Indicative Assessment

  1. Seminar Participation (5) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Book Review 1 (1000 words) (15) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Book Review 2 (1000 words) (15) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  4. Midterm Exam (equivalent to 2500 words) (25) [LO 1,4]
  5. Research Paper (4000 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]

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 total workload is 130 hours including in class time and independent study. The course is taught as two hours of in-class lecture, and one hour of tutorial per week. 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.

Prescribed Texts

Jonathan D. Spence, The Search for Modern China (W. W. Norton & Company, 1990)

Prescribed readings will be available via Wattle


Preliminary Reading

Chu, 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.

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.

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.

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
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.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8689 21 Jul 2025 28 Jul 2025 31 Aug 2025 24 Oct 2025 In Person N/A

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