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Understanding Republican China


Admission requirements

Successful completion of BA-1 Modern Chinese History or BAIS History: East Asia required. Proficiency in modern Chinese preferred as assignments could include Chinese language materials.


China during the Republican Period (1911-1949) experienced civil wars, foreign aggression, economic crises, and political instability. Amidst turmoil and destruction it also witnessed experimentation and creativity in the responses of both elites and commoners. In this course, we examine this multi-faceted period of modern Chinese history by reading representative historical scholarship and by developing original research projects. In order to guide students through the processes of writing literature reviews and conducting original research on historical topics, the course is divided into three parts. The first part covers the key themes and historical debates in historical scholarship on Republican China. The second part focuses on specific topics including (but not limited to) the Chinese Civil War, gender relations, urban culture, Japanese imperialism, and war refugees. In the third part, students engage in structured research for and writing of their individual research papers.

Course objectives

  • Deepen understanding of key themes in modern Chinese history;-

  • Effectively read various genres of primary source documents and secondary literature;

  • Synthesize issues, themes and debates in secondary literature;

  • Develop a research problem that is grounded in secondary literature;

  • Identify appropriate primary sources for addressing research problem;

  • Compose an argumentative paper based on secondary literature and primary sources.


See timetable

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Non-Thesis students (140 hours total)

  • Weekly seminars: 12 × 2 hours (24 hours total )

  • Class preparation (complete assignments and readings): 12 × 6 hours (72 hours total)

  • Research paper: 44 hours
    Thesis students (280 hours total)

  • Weekly seminars: 12 × 2 hours (24 hours total )

  • Class preparation (complete assignments and readings): 12 × 6 hours (72 hours total)

  • Thesis: 184 hours

Assessment method

Non-Thesis students:

Class assignments and participation: 50%
Research paper: 50%
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%

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


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

Reading list

See Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration (Contractonderwijs](


Dr. L.M. Teh