China in the World, 1500-1840 (HIH2185A)

StaffDr Hao Gao - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The aim of this module is to introduce China’s dynamic engagement with the wider world in the early processes of global interconnectedness. It will help you develop your skills in researching, interpreting, and analysing both primary and secondary material, and in reporting on your work. It provides you with an opportunity to explore a new area of history, and helps you to develop the depth of understanding you will require to study more specialised areas of history. It will also give you an opportunity to work in a team on a group presentation.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Be aware of the various developments in the history of China¬ís engagement with the world in the period 1500 to 1840.
  • 2. Make a close evaluation of the key political, economic, social and cultural trends within the period.
  • 3. Evaluate the main themes in the subject and to collate information upon, and evaluate in greater detail, those aspects of the module discussed in seminar and especially those topics selected by students for their coursework.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Analyse the key developments of the period.
  • 5. Collate data from a range of sources, both primary and secondary.
  • 6. Interpret primary sources.
  • 7. Trace long-term as well as short-term historical developments.
  • 8. Recognise and deploy historical terminology correctly.
  • 9. Assess different approaches to historical writing in areas of controversy.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. Work both independently and in a group, including participating in oral seminar discussions.
  • 11. Identify a topic, select, comprehend, and organise primary and secondary materials on that topic with little guidance.
  • 12. Produce to a deadline and in examination conditions a coherent argument.

Syllabus plan

Lecture topics will include: Ming China, Zheng He’s voyages, Matteo Ricci and Catholic missionaries in Ming China, the rise of the Qing, China and western technology under the Kangxi emperor, the Rites Controversy, population growth, environmental change, and rebellions, British missions in China, the East India Company in China, the Napier incident 1834 and the causes of the Opium War.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22 hoursLectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22 hoursSeminars; these will be led by the tutor. You will need to prepare for each seminar and present on a given topic in groups of 4 on 4 occasions.
Guided independent study22 hoursWeb-based activities located on ELE - preparation for seminars and presentations.
Guided independent study234 hoursReading and preparation for seminars and presentations.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan500 words1-12Verbal and Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay303000 Words1-12Verbal and Written
Exam502 Questions in 2 Hours1-12Written
Group Presentation2025 Minutes1-12Verbal and Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (3000 Words)1-12Referral/deferral period.
ExamExam (2 Questions in 2 Hours)1-12Referral/deferral period.
Group Presentation1,500 script as for individual presentation, equivalent to 10 minutes1-12Referral/deferral period.

Re-assessment notes

The re-assessment of the essay and exam are exactly the same, a 3,000 words essay (worth 30%) and a 2 hours exam (worth 50%). The group presentation will be replaced by a written script equivalent to 10 minutes of speech.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Elliott, Mark C., Emperor Qianlong: Son of Heaven, Man of the World (New York, 2009).

Gregory, John S., The West and China since 1500 (Basingstoke, 2003).

Mungello, D. E., The Great Encounter of China and the West, 1500-1800 (Oxford, 2006).

Naquin, Susan and Rawski, Evelyn S., Chinese Society in the Eighteenth Century (New Haven, CT, 1987).

Perdue, Peter C., China Marches the West: the Qing conquest of Central Eurasia (Cambridge, MA, 2005).

Pomeranz, Kenneth, The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the making of the modern world economy (Princeton, 2000).

Waley-Cohen, Joanna, The Sextants of Beijing: global currents in Chinese history (New York, 1999).

Wills, John E. Jr. (ed.), China and Maritime Europe, 1500-1800: trade, settlement, diplomacy, and missions (Cambridge, 2011).

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Last revision date


Key words search

China, global history, China in the world, imperial history, globalisation