nl en

Modern Chinese History: Work and Workers in 20th century China (FAT-module course, twice a week in block 3 only)


Admission requirements

Successful completion of BA-1 College Modern Chinese History.


This course surveys transformations in Chinese society in its transition from agrarianism to communist industrialism, with special focus on experiences of urban workers and their families at work and home, and in public. Specific topics examined include migration for work, the labor movement in the 1920s, everyday life of workers, gender relations, and the politicization of work under Nationalist and Communist regimes. Primary source documents, ranging from sociological surveys to documentary film, augment readings in secondary literature. Texts are not selected for their exhaustive coverage of a specific topic, but rather for their particular perspective on a topic. Class discussion of these readings, in conjunction with lectures, will guide students through distinguishing perspectives in historical documents and historians’ writings. Activities and assignments will help students develop their reading and writing skills, while consolidating their knowledge of modern Chinese history.

Course objectives

  • Identify key events, concepts and developments in the social history of Modern China;

  • Distinguish between interpretation and evidence in historical documents and writing;

  • Appraise different perspectives on historical questions;

  • Generate questions on historical events, concepts, and developments;

  • Compose and support interpretations on historical events, concepts, and developments.


See timetable

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load = 140 hours
Weekly seminars = 2 hours per week; 24 hours total
Preparation for class = 6 hours per week; 72 hours total
Two essays = 22 hours per essay; 44 hours total

Assessment method

Regular course assignments and active class participation = 30%
Two essays = 70%

The final grade consists of the weighted average of all course components. A resit for the second essay is allowed if a student scores a non-passing grade (5,49 or lower) on the first attempt.


Yes. Blackboard is used for posting complete reading list, class communications, and exam submission.

Reading list

See Blackboard.


Registration through uSis. Not registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the ‘Registrationprocedures for classes and examinations’ for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs



Dr. L.M. Teh