IntroductionThis course will examine the social, cultural and political history of China from the 17th century to the present, with a focus on China’s transition from the “traditional” civilization of the dynastic period (up to 1911) to the “modern” nation that has emerged in the 21st century. The distribution of grades for the course is as follows:
A-/A Possesses a deep understanding of the major concepts and themes of the course. The “A” student is able to consistently identify and explain key ideas in the readings, develop genuine insights into the broader significance of these ideas, and demonstrate a high level of intellectual engagement in class discussions.
Class/BodhiBlog ParticipationYour participation mark (worth 10% of the final grade) will be based on your ability to demonstrate that you have made a sincere attempt to read and understand the assigned material; although the quality of your comments will obviously be taken into consideration, all attempts to seriously engage the readings — from sharing your perspective on the material to simply asking a relevant question — will enhance your grade. To participate in the BodhiBlog discussion, log in to Blackboard with your NCC username and password, select “HST 265 Modern China” and then click the “BodhiBlog” link; from here you can either post a new entry or respond to someone else’s. While your mark will ultimately depend on my subjective evaluation of the quantity and quality of your comments, you may reasonably expect to receive at least a “B” if you routinely attend class and participate in class and BodhiBlog discussions on a regular basis.
In order to encourage you to keep up with the readings and periodically review the material that we’ve covered, there will be five “quests” (somewhere between a quiz and a test), one at the end of each major section of the course textbook. The quests are worth 3% each and will include a variety of questions (multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, true/false, etc.) to be completed on Blackboard within a two-day period (see syllabus for dates). Each quest will have a 15-minute time limit, which should be long enough to search for some of the answers in the readings ... but once your quest begins there’s no turning back — so be ye prepared lest your time runneth out!
Midterm PaperAlthough China has one of the richest historical traditions in the world, history textbooks typically focus on the major historical figures and the events with which they are associated—the so-called “Great Tradition.” In A Daughter of Han, however, we get a fascinating glimpse of the “Small Tradition” through the verbal autobiography of Mrs. Ning (as recounted by Ida Pruitt), an ordinary, low-income urban woman who lived during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For the first essay (5 pages/1250 words, due before class on Monday, October 9) you will explore one of the prominent themes in A Daughter of Han by using “secondary sources” (i.e. works that interpret and analyze information that was originally presented elsewhere, such as in “primary sources” like A Daughter of Han) to augment Mrs. Ning’s first-person accounts. Some of the themes you may wish to focus on include: missionaries, Chinese religion and/or folk beliefs, opium, medicine, the Japanese, government, marriage, and gender. Since A Daughter of Han does not have an index, you should take careful notes as you read through the book, especially on the theme that you intend to focus on. Please be sure to provide proper “Chicago Style” footnotes and a bibliography with at least four additional “academic” (peer-reviewed) sources.
A Daughter of Han
Topic Paper/Annotated BibliographyThe Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) represents a pivotal era in the history of modern China: on the one hand it was the most radical of Mao Zedong’s attempts to radically transform Chinese society, while on the other it was immediately followed by Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms, which transformed China just as deeply by ushering in decades of rapid economic growth. In light of the unparalleled significance of the Cultural Revolution in modern Chinese history, your research for the final paper will begin by reading Liang Heng’s autobiography, Son of the Revolution, which provides a personal account of how the Cultural Revolution affected a typical “middle class” family in urban China. After you’ve read the book, you will write a 2-page (500-word) topic paper that focuses on a particular issue in the book that you would like to explore further in your final paper. Towards this end, your topic paper should culminate in a “thesis statement,” which is the main point that you will attempt to demonstrate in your final paper. Some of the themes you may wish to focus on include: Mao’s rejection of capitalism (in contrast with Deng Xiaoping’s promotion of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” in the post-Mao era), Mao Zedong Thought, Quotations of Chairman Mao Tse-tung (a.k.a. the Little Red Book), the Cult of Mao, People’s Communes, the People’s Liberation Army, Red Guards, the Four Olds (old customs, culture, habits, and ideas), Big Character Posters, class struggle (directed primarily against the bourgeoisie), self-criticism and public ridicule, the “Down to the Countryside” movement, propaganda, corruption, and education.
In order to ensure that your topic has been thoroughly researched, you will also submit an annotated bibliography containing a minimum of seven academic sources, at least two of which must be “primary sources” (i.e. writings that provide first-hand evidence or direct testimony concerning a topic under investigation, such as Son of the Revolution and The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection — both of which are required reading for the course). The annotated bibliography should be divided into two sections, one for primary sources and the other for secondary sources; each source should be followed by an “annotation” that summarizes the source, assesses its strengths and weaknesses, and evaluates its significance with regard to your research topic. The topic paper/annotated bibliography is due before class on Friday, November 3, leaving you two weeks to complete the final paper (10 pages/2500 word), which is due on Monday, November 20. I will provide you with feedback on your topic paper/annotated bibliography as quickly as possible and will also be happy to meet with you individually to provide further guidance at any stage in the process.
Please note that you are required to provide appropriate citations for both direct and indirect quotations using “Chicago Style” footnotes; your paper should also include a final bibliography without annotations. Since I take plagiarism very seriously, I strongly recommend that you become familiar with the boundaries of academic honesty … and don’t attempt to transgress them. If you have any doubts regarding what does or does not constitute plagiarism, please refer to the college’s “Plagiarism” page. Essays that contain significant instances of plagiarism will receive a 0 and be reported to the Office of Academic Affairs in accordance with college policy.
Office Hourse, Etc.
225 North Loomis Road, Room 23
Monday: 4-5 ● Tuesday: 4-5 ● Thursday: 3-5 ● Friday (Tea): 4-5
Home Page: bhoffert.faculty.noctrl.edu
Required Texts● Spence, Jonathan D. The Search for Modern China. Third Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2013. [SMC]
● Chen, Janet, Pei-kai Cheng, and Michael Lestz (editors). The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection. Third Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2014. [DC]
● Pruitt, Ida. A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman. Eastford, CT: Martino Fine Books, 2011.
● Liang, Heng and Judith Shapiro. Son of the Revolution. New York: Vintage Books, 1983.
All papers should be turned in online at Blackboard/Assignments
and may be used for program assessment (with names removed)