From Sun to Mao – and Now:

An Introduction to Modern Chinese History

This course offers first year undergraduates (L1) a general introduction to the history of modern China. Between the middle of the 19thcentury and the end of the 20th, China was transformed by a series of dramatic political, economic, social, and cultural changes which swept across the region. Indeed, it was an era of tumultuous political change which witnessed the fall of China’s last dynasty – the Qing. It was also a time when bold new ideologies seized the imagination of intellectuals and revolutionaries, leading to the birth of “Asia’s first Republic” after the 1911 Revolution, as well as the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 after a long and bloody civil war. In this course, we seek to study and to reflect on the different processes of historical transformation in China during this period. In order to do so, this course focuses on the major themes and key historical developments in China, whilst paying close attention to recent historiographical approaches and insights from transnational, imperial, and connected histories. In this process, this course seeks to equip students with both the necessary conceptual tools and contextual knowledge to understand China’s modern history today.


This introductory course is open to all motivated students who meet the minimum requirement of an advanced proficiency in the English language (equivalent of C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).