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Modern Chinese History: Imperialism and Nationalism


Admission requirements

Successful completion of BA-1 Modern Chinese History required, and successful completion of BA-2 Modern Chinese History optional. Proficiency in modern Chinese preferred as reading assignments include Chinese language materials.


How did global forces interact with local actors in the making of modern China through the twentieth century? This question preoccupies most historians of modern China. From John Fairbank’s foundational study of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service to Ruth Rogarski’s analysis of the modern concept and practice of hygiene, historians of modern China have approached this question through a wide range of topics, archival materials, and analytical frameworks. In this course, we examine these varied approaches by reading representative writings on topics including territoriality, sovereignty, industrial development, medical anthropology, and gender. This course is also intended to guide students through the process of writing research papers on historical topics, with primary source documents. Toward this end, class readings provide the basis for formulating research questions and class assignments the steps involved in producing a research paper.

Course objectives

  • Deepen understanding of key themes in modern Chinese history;

  • Effectively read various genres of historical documents and scholarly literature;

  • Analyze how historians construct arguments with primary source documents;

  • Learn how to identify research problem, construct a research plan, conduct research, and write a research paper.


Timeslot for 2015-2016: Thursdays 9-11h, see also collegerooster

Mode of instruction


Course load

Non-Thesis students (140 hours total) – Weekly seminars: 2 hours per week; 24 hours total – Preparation for class: 4 hours per week; 48 hours total – Research proposal: 18 hours – Research paper: 50 hours

Thesis students (280 hours total) – Weekly seminars: 2 hours per week; 24 hours total – Preparation for class: 4 hours per week; 48 hours total – Bibliographical essay on research topic: 30 hours – Research proposal: 28 hours – Thesis: 150 hours

Assessment method

Non-Thesis students

  • Class assignments and participation: 40%

  • Research paper: 60%

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

Thesis students

  • Thesis: 100%


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

Registration Studeren à la carte via:
Registration Contractonderwijs via:


Dr. L.M. Teh