Effective: Early Spring 8-Week 2018/2019

HIST 314: Modern China

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  Course Description

Chinese history since 1800. Course meets multicultural graduation requirement.

Prerequisite: Junior standing

Proctored Exams: Final



  • Schoppa, R. Keith. Revolution and Its Past: Identities and Change in Modern Chinese History. 3rd ed. Prentice Hall, Inc., 2011.
    • ISBN-978-0-205-72691-2
  • Moise, Edwin E. Modern China: A History. 3rd ed. Longman, Inc./Pearson Education, 2008.
    • ISBN-978-0-582-77277-9
  • Pa Chin, Li Fei-kan, and Sidney Shapiro. Family. Waveland Press, 1972.
    • ISBN-978-0-88133-373-2


  • Rampolla, Mary Lynn. A Pocket Guide to Writing History. 8th ed. Bedford/St. Martin, 2015.
    • ISBN-978-1-4567-9088-4
      • Note: This book is optional but recommended.

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.

  Course Overview

The course is primarily concerned with a historical analysis of 19th and 20th-century China. We will explore China’s ancient philosophical and political roots, as they enlighten our understanding of this period. One of the central historical themes of this era is imperial China’s response to the challenge Western imperialism. As China faces dismemberment, it must reconcile its Confucian culturalism with Western economic, political, and military modernization. 

While Western imperialism accelerated the collapse of dynastic China in the early 20th century, western philosophies of republicanism, communism, and capitalism introduce new alternatives that define China’s 20th century experience. But these philosophies will be thoroughly sinicized, as China adapts them to their particular circumstances, eventually paving the way for the rise of an economic, political, and military superpower.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Objectives

  • Understand important events in Chinese history since 1800.
  • Identify significant individuals who contributed to the development of recent Chinese history.
  • Identify major trends in recent Chinese history.

  Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Identify major political, economic and intellectual trends in nineteenth century China.
  • Explain the rise of nationalism in China, 1860—1949.
  • Define the achievements and shortcomings of Communist China from 1949 to the present.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (15) 150 15%
Papers (5) 300 30%
Book Review 100 10%
Map Quiz 50 5%
Midterm Exam 200 20%
Final Exam 200 20%
Total 1000 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Introduction -- Wednesday
Discussion 1 10
Discussion 2 10 Friday
Map Quiz 50
Plagiarism Tutorial and Quiz -- Sunday
Paper 1: Rule by “Others:” The Mongols and Manchus in Power 60

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 10 Wednesday
Discussion 4 10 Friday
Paper 2: The “God” of “God, Gold, and Glory:” The Role of European Christian missionaries in China from the 16th to the 19th Century 60 Sunday
Proctor Information N/A

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 10 Wednesday
Discussion 6 10 Friday
Paper 3: Is Modernizing the Ancient Possible? 60 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 10 Wednesday
Discussion 8 10 Friday
Midterm Exam 200 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 10 Wednesday
Discussion 10 10 Friday
Paper 4: The Sinicization of Communism 60 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 10 Wednesday
Discussion 12 10 Friday
Book Review 100 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 10 Wednesday
Discussion 14 10 Friday
Paper 5: “Lefting” the Revolution 60 Sunday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15 10 Friday
Optional Discussion Assignments -- Saturday
Final Exam 200
Total Points: 1000

  Assignment Overview


Discussion postings should be complete by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday and Friday of each week; you must also respond to at least one classmate’s post. These responses should be substantive and encourage additional responses from other students. Grading criteria for discussion postings is outlined under the Discussions Overview topic in the course Content area.


Papers will be graded according to how well you answer the question(s) posed, how well you support your position with evidence from the assigned readings, adherence to rules of grammar, punctuation, and spelling, and the proper citation of evidence. Papers should be a minimum of 400 words, double-spaced with one-inch margins. Papers should include a title sheet that identifies the student, the course, and the date. Be sure to cite your sources; this includes not only citing direct quotes, but ideas, information, and statistics that are not your own. Grading criteria for the papers is outlined under the Papers Overview topic in the course Content area.

For format details for the Chicago Manual of Style, see Rampolla’s Pocket Guide to Writing History, pp. 99—128 (under Textbooks, above), or use the “Quick Guide: Chicago Manual of Style” link under “Writing Help” in the Course Content section. There are also links to sites that will provide information on APA and MLA formatting guidelines. You may also want to use the links for Columbia College’s Writing Center and other helpful sites.

Book Review

You will write a review of Pa Chin’s Family, a historical novel based on the changes confronting China in the late 1910’s. The review should be a minimum of 1500 words, double-spaced with one-inch margins. The review will be graded according to the criteria explained in the assignment (see Week 6 of the Course Outline).

Map Quiz

The map quiz will be taken through the Quizzes area of the course. You will identify the main natural landforms of China, as well as political boundaries and cities.


You will take a midterm and a final exam. Each exam will consist of identification/definition questions and essay questions.

The Midterm Exam is an open-book test. You may use your notes and textbook. As such, I will expect more detailed identification/definition answers and more comprehensive essays from you. The Midterm Exam will be provided, in the Week 4 Content area, in a downloadable format (MS Word) and must be submitted to the Dropbox by the date and time specified. This exam will cover material from Weeks 1—4.

The Final Exam will be completed online. This is a 2-hour timed exam to be taken under the supervision of a proctor. The Final Exam is a closed-book exam and will cover material from Weeks 5—8 of the course.  You must complete your Final Exam by the 11:59pm CT on the last day of class (Saturday of Week 8), keeping in mind that you will need to coordinate your schedule with your proctor. You must find an appropriate proctor for the Final Exam. Please see the Proctor Policy in this syllabus for specific instructions and the deadline for submission.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Reading Assignments

Required Readings:
• Schoppa, p. xii; Chapters 1—2
• Moise, pp. 2—6; Chapter 1
• Link: “Religious Traditions of Ancient China”
• Link: “The Imperial Examination System”
• Link: “The Mongols in World History”
• Link: “The Yuan Dynasty”

Optional Readings:
• Link: “Footbinding”
• Link: “Chinese Script and Language”
• Link: “Chinese Philosophy”


Please post your introduction in the Discussions area, and include information such as the following: Where are you from? What do you do for a living? Why are you taking this course?  Children and family? Hobbies and interests? Future plans? What are your plans after Columbia?  Include as much information as you like.

Discussion 1

Please post your answer and response to at least one classmate by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. Describe the "Mandate of Heaven" and the "Dynastic Cycle." How are these concepts related? What is their significance in China's history?

Discussion 2

Please post your answer and response to at least one classmate by 11:59 p.m. Friday.


a. Discuss the differences between the philosophies of "Legalism" and "Confucianism." Are there also similarities in these philosophies? Is one philosophy more all-encompassing?

b. What are the key elements of both Buddhism and Daoism? How would you describe the significance of these faiths in early China?

Map Quiz

Please complete the Map Quiz, located in the Quizzes area by 11:59 p.m. Saturday.

Plagiarism Tutorial and Quiz

Please complete the Plagiarism Tutorial in course Content area and the Plagiarism Tutorial Quiz in the Quizzes area by the end of Week 1.

Paper 1: Rule by “Others:” The Mongols and Manchus in Power

Who were the Mongols and Manchus? Describe the key distinctions in the way these foreigners ruled and administered China. To what extent did each of these outsider dynasties become “sinicized” (adopting Chinese cultural, religious, or governmental practices)? In addition to your textbooks, you will want to utilize the links “The Mongols in World History” and “The Yuan Dynasty” in Week 1’s Reading and Assignments. Please submit your paper to the correct Dropbox folder by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

Reading Assignments

Required Readings:
• Schoppa, Chapter 3
• Moise, Chapter 2, pp. 29—33
• Link: “Matteo Ricci in China”
• Link: “The Opium Wars”

Optional Readings:
• Link: “Woman Missionaries in China”
• Link: “British East India Company in Asia”

Discussion 3

Please post your answer and response to at least one classmate by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. Why was China unable to defend itself in the Opium Wars? What were some of the specific components of the "Unequal Treaties?" How would you describe the overall geopolitical result of these treaties?

Discussion 4

Please post your answer and response to at least one classmate by 11:59 p.m. Friday. Was China's "opium problem" the result of European imperialism and aggression or did it result from internal difficulties in the Qing Dynasty? Make a case for each possibility.

Paper 2: The “God” of “God, Gold, and Glory:” The Role of European Christian missionaries in China from the 16th to the 19th Century

Describe and contrast the effort of the 16th Century Portuguese Jesuits led by Matteo Ricci and others with the work of the European and American missionaries of the 19th Century. One approach was clearly more effective in the context of China; why was this so? What impact did missionaries have on China’s relations with western powers, especially in the 19th Century? In the end, do you think the missionaries accomplished their goals? Please submit your paper to the correct Dropbox folder by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
Reading Assignments

Required Readings:
• Schoppa, Chapters 4—6
• Moise, Chapter 2, pp. 33—44
• Link: “The Taiping Rebellion”
• Link (Audio): “Boxer Rebellion (BBC Radio 4)”

Optional Readings:
• Link: “Sino-Japanese War”
• Link: “Kang Youwei”

Discussion 5

Please post your answer and response to at least one classmate by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.  Compare the goals of the Taiping and Boxer Rebellions. What were the similarities and differences in the goals of each movement? What motivated millions of Chinese to join these movements? If the QIng Dynasty is doomed, what are the reasons for the ultimate failure of these movements to collapse the dynasty?

Discussion 6

Please post your answer and response to at least one classmate by 11:59 p.m. Friday. What were the results of the Sino-Japanese War for China? Be sure to consider the internal political / philosophical implications. How did the Russo-Japanese war impact China?

Paper 3: Is Modernizing the Ancient Possible?

Describe the contrasting views of modernizers and conservatives (those opposed to reforms and modernization) as China tried to resist collapse during the decades surrounding the turn of the 20th Century. How did the goals of each group differ? What were the dangers or shortcomings of enacting EACH strategy? Also, assess reformer Kang Youwei’s observation that Meiji Japan was simultaneously China’s worst enemy and greatest friend during this era. Please submit your paper to the correct Dropbox folder by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

Reading Assignments

Required Readings:
• Schoppa, Chapters 7—9, 10 (pp. 181—191)
• Moise, Chapter 2, pp. 44—53
• Pa Chin’s Family (begin reading)
• Link: “Chinese Student Protests”

Optional Readings:
• Link: “Painting of the Qing Dynasty”
• Link: Video “Legacy of the May 4th Movement”

Discussion 7

Please post your answer and response to at least one classmate by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. Describe Sun Yat-sen’s philosophical underpinnings and the development of the Revolutionary Alliance. What were the key elements of his “Three Principles of the People”? How realistic or effective were these ideas in addressing the issues of China’s political and economic spheres?

Discussion 8

Please post your answer and response to at least one classmate by 11:59 p.m. Friday. Historians have traditionally argued that Yuan Shikai was China's "Last Conservative" who doomed the Republic and, therefore, is the ultimate villain of the Chinese Revolution. What was he really? Can you make an effective argument for Yuan as a reformer?

Midterm Exam

The Midterm Exam will be provided, in the Week 4 Content area, in a downloadable format (MS Word) this week. Please complete and submit to the Dropbox by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

Reading Assignments

Required Readings:
• Schoppa, Chapters 10—12
• Moise, Chapters 3—4
• Pa Chin’s Family (continue reading)
• Link: “Maoism and Classical Marxism”
• Link: “The End of the Long March”

Discussion 9

Please post your answer and response to at least one classmate by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. Explain the rise of Chiang Kai-shek. What were his sources of power? What were his philosophical motivations? Was he particularly well-suited to lead China during this time?

Discussion 10

Please post your answer and response to at least one classmate by 11:59 p.m. Friday. Explain the changes to the Chinese Communist Party’s philosophy, personnel, and tactics during the Long March. What is the long-term significance of the Long March?

Paper 4: The Sinicization of Communism

Who were the primary Western organizational and philosophical influences on the young Chinese Communist Party? In what essential ways did the Jiangxi Soviet era lead the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) away from its urban/intellectual base and toward Maoism? Briefly describe Maoism and its implications for the party and the nation. Please submit your paper to the correct Dropbox folder by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

Reading Assignments

Required Readings:
• Pa Chin’s Family
• Schoppa, Chapters 13—15
• Moise, Chapter 5
• Link: “Nanking Atrocities”
• Link: Video: “Japanese Propaganda in Manchukuo”

Optional Readings:
• Link: “The U.S. Dixie Mission Remembered”

Discussion 11

Please post your answer and response to at least one classmate by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. Why is it possible to argue that had it not been for the Japanese invasion of China, the GMD might well have defeated the CCP and still rule mainland China? Can you argue that Chiang Kai-shek and the GMD “snatched defeat from the jaws of victory?”

Discussion 12

Please post your answer and response to at least one classmate by 11:59 p.m. Friday. Discuss the victory of the Red Army in the Civil War. What were some of the Red Army’s specific tactics? What was the relationship of the Red Army to the peasants and the general population?

Book Review

Pa Chin’s Family: A critical review of this classic novel portraying the impact of tradition and modernism on one Chinese family. Please see detailed instructions in the course Content area under Week 6. Submit your Book Review to the correct Dropbox folder by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Reading Assignments

Required Readings:
• Schoppa, Chapters 16—18
• Moise, Chapters 6—8
• Link: “Mao’s Great Leap”
• Link: “The Morning Sun” (Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution)
• Link: “Student Attacks Against Teachers”

Optional Readings:
• Link: “Chinese Propaganda Posters” 1950’s—1960’s
• Link: “The Man Who Exposed Mao’s Secret Famine”
• Link: “Mao’s Groundwork for the Future”

Discussion 13

Please post your answer and response to at least one classmate by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. Discuss and explain the reasons the young PRC was so eager to become involved in the Korean War. What were the results of this conflict for China? How did China’s involvement in the Korean War impact its relations with the USSR? How did it impact the PRC’s relationship with the United States and the Western world?

Discussion 14

Please post your answer and response to at least one classmate by 11:59 p.m. Friday. Was the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution an ideological or a political struggle? Make an argument for both in this discussion.

Paper 5: “Lefting” the Revolution

In what important ways did the “Anti-Rightist” and “Hundred Flowers” campaigns set the tone for the Great Leap Forward? Were these campaigns economic, political, or ideological in nature? Discuss the implications of the struggle between Mao Zedong’s focus on political incentives and Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping's focus on material incentives regarding agricultural production goals. Please submit your paper to the correct Dropbox folder by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

Reading Assignments

Required Readings:
• Schoppa, Chapters 19—21, Epilogue
• Moise, Chapters 9—11
• Link: Wei Jingsheng: “The Fifth Modernization”
• Link: Wei Jingsheng: “Human Rights in China”
• Link: Video “Tiananmen Square Protests, 1989”

Optional Readings:
• Link: Video “Tank Man of Tiananmen Square”
• Link: Wei Jingsheng: “Letters from Prison”
• Link: “Deng’s Free Market Nightmare”

Discussion 15

Please post your answer and response to at least one classmate by 11:59 p.m. Friday.

a. When the Gang of Four were put on trial, what were their alleged crimes? Were they brought to justice? Or were there other motives in holding the trials?

b. Discuss the political implications and the practical results of Deng’s Four Modernizations.

Optional Discussion Assignments

During Week 8, two optional discussion topics are also available. Participation is not required, and no points are awarded for participation in these topics.

Optional Discussion 1: Since the introduction of the Four Modernizations, reformers and dissidents, such as Wei Jingsheng, have argued that a “Fifth Modernization”—democracy—would be necessary for China to accomplish the other four modernizations.  (For additional information, see Schoppa, beginning around p. 392.)

a. Considering the changes in China in the last 20 years, how valid is the viewpoint of Wei Jingsheng?
b. Has the lack of democracy hurt the progress of China?

Optional Discussion 2: In the last two decades, China and the West have differed over the issue of human rights.  In 1993 China and other Asian nations issued the Bangkok Declaration, presenting an alternative to the West’s prevailing concept of human rights.  (For additional information, see Schoppa, beginning on p. 440.)

a. What validity do you see in the Bangkok Declaration?
b. Is there a basis for these ideas in Confucianism?
c. In what ways could a savvy Chinese diplomat argue that US history of the last 50 years demonstrates the validity of the Bangkok Declaration? That is, how does the American experience UNDERMINE the West’s prevailing concept of human rights?

Final Exam

The exam will open on Saturday of Week 7. You must complete the Final Exam under the supervision of your proctor by 11:59 p.m. Saturday of Week 8. This is a closed-book exam, and you may not use any notes or portable media devices (flash drives, disks, etc.)

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.


Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Papers and Book Review turned in late will be penalized twenty percent (20%) of the total possible points for each calendar day. Non-submission of an assignment will result in a grade of “zero” for that task.

Exams will not be accepted if submitted late unless prior arrangements have been made. If authorization to turn in an exam after the deadline has been given, twenty percent (20%) of the total point amount will be deducted.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.