Yunwei Song is an Associate Professor at History School of Renmin University of China in Beijing. She earned a PhD degree in history at Beijing University and has been a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan in the USA. Her research has focused on constitutional history. In her doctoral dissertation and first book (The Period of Dual Federalism in the US), she studied the relationship between federal government and state governments before the American Civil War. Her current academic interests are on the history of natural resources policy. Her second book The History of Natural Resources Policy in US was published in 2011. The author of many scholarly papers, Dr. Song has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in history in many countries, often approaching history comparatively with China as major focus.
We will start the “Modern History” of China with the Opium Wars of 1840 as this is a crucial period of change, and trace the historical development up to the present day. The lectures will address both chronological and thematic considerations so that it will be easier for students to follow. We will study the China situation in the developing world from 17th century to 19th century. We also will talk about the political reformation, democracy movement, economic development and social problems in the 20th century. The course is specifically designed for foreign students studying in TBC with the objective of enabling them to understand ongoing social, economic and political trends which have their roots in history.
We will basically have two hours of lectures each week, and then 45 minutes either for discussion or movies. (Excerpts from the three-part documentary “China: A century of Revolution” will be shown in the classroom.). When we have a seminar, you will be divided into several groups, and then you need to present your group’s conclusions. All the topics that will be discussed in the classes are listed in this syllabus. Students are encouraged to become actively involved in class discussions and to present your own understandings on historical issues.
Lectures, readings, written assignments and discussions are designed to help you develop the
• Think historically, read critically, and write and speak persuasively.
• Connect and integrate historical understandings of Modern China. Have a better understanding of present day China.
• Investigate and appreciate the complex, multi-causal origins of the events and outcomes of this period.
• Critically evaluate the validity of historical evidence from a variety of sources and come up with your own interpretations of source materials.
• Use primary and secondary sources to construct original, complex, and logical interpretations of the events and processes of this decade.