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HIS 141 — The History of Modern China

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 9 weeks
Date(s): Sep 26—Dec 5
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 9
Unit: 1
Tuition: $445
Instructor(s): Thomas S. Mullaney
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on October 17 and November 28
7:00—8:50 pm
Sep 26—Dec 5
9 weeks
Drop By
Oct 9
1 Unit
Thomas S. Mullaney
Please Note: No class on October 17 and November 28
China has undergone epic changes over the past 500 years. At the midpoint of the last millennium, Ming dynasty China was one of the engines of the world economy and a dynamic center of cultural, literary, and artistic production. Over the ensuing period, China witnessed a brutal and transformative conquest by a non-Chinese dynasty; a doubling of the empire’s size; a period of unprecedented economic and demographic growth during the 18th century; the most destructive rebellions in human history; colonial incursions by multiple Western nations; the demise of an imperial system over two millennia old; a period of widespread political and social experimentation and uncertainty; a tragic and debilitating war against Asia’s new preeminent power, Imperial Japan; a Communist revolution that dwarfed in size its Russian counterpart; a tumultuous period of Communist rule that has fluctuated between periods of unprecedented economic growth and chaos; and most recently, the country’s return to the center of the global stage.

This course charts China’s major historical transformations over the past five centuries. The narrative will begin “midstream,” in the year 1500, regarded by many as the beginning of the modern age of global integration. From there we will move into the present day, tackling issues of politics, society, economy, culture, gender, ethnicity, environmental history, and international relations.

Thomas S. Mullaney, Professor of Chinese History, Stanford

Thomas S. Mullaney is a Guggenheim Fellow and curator of the international exhibition “Radical Machines: Chinese in the Information Age.” His most recent book, The Chinese Typewriter: A History, received the 2018 John K. Fairbank Prize for the best book on East Asian history after 1800. Mullaney received a PhD from Columbia.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Jonathan Spence, The Search for Modern China, 3rd Edition (ISBN 978-0393934519)
(Required) Cheng, The Search for Modern China : A Documentary Collection, 3rd Edition (ISBN 978-0393920857)
(Required) Rae Yang, Spider Eaters: A Memoir (ISBN 978-0520276024)
(Required) Lu Xun, The Real Story of Ah-Q (ISBN 978-0140455489)
(Required) Cixin Liu, The Three Body Problem (ISBN 978-0765377067)