Reading China: from Mandarins to Revolutionists (MLM2010)

StaffDr Ting Guo - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The aim of the module is to provide you with a good basic knowledge of Chinese history and introduce you to some crucial aspects of Chinese culture and society. It examines the formation and development of Chinese civilization as well as China’s interactions with European civilization and its modernisation process since the late nineteenth century. You will have chances to read and appreciate aspects of Chinese culture and literature through English translations and have a glimpse of the life in Chinese society. Films and other multimedia materials are integrated and discussed in lectures and seminars. This module offers a background to more specialized study related to China, including Chinese history, literature, economics, law, policy, international business, and philosophy.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Acquire a good understanding of the main historical developments and trends in China up to the twentieth century
  • 2. Demonstrate familiarity with the basic aspects of Chinese philosophies and social structures
  • 3. Show the ability to analyze and discuss key aspects of Chinese culture

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Demonstrate a basic ability to analyze key readings and relate them to their historical context
  • 5. Use available learning aids, in a variety of media, to consolidate his/her own learning

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Through essay-writing, develop basic skills in research and construct clear and coherent argument.
  • 7. Work productively with others as a team and be able to present information and ideas orally and/or in writing clearly and appropriately
  • 8. Develop an awareness of and sensitivity to cultural diversity and equality

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Introduction:  China and becoming Chinese
  • The hundred schools: Confucianism and Taoism
  • The Chinese empire and Chinese scholar-officials
  • Chinese women and China’s modernisation
  • Chinese revolution in the Twentieth Century: The people and the land
  • The Transition: China as a Post-socialist development state

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 Teaching1010 x 1 hour lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching55 x 1 hour seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Conclusion
Guided Independent Study134Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Formative assignment500 words1-8Written
Presentation10 minutes1-5, 7-8 Written or oral

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
Essay1002500 words1-8Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-8Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • De Barry, William Theodore, Wing-Tsit Chan and Burton Watson. (2000). Sources of Chinese Tradition. New York: Columbia University Press. Vol.1& 2.
  • Ebrey, Patricia Buckley (1993) The Inner Quarters: Marriage and Lives of Chinese Women in the Sung Period. Berkley: University of California.
  • Gray, Jack. (2003). Rebellions and Revolutions: China from the 1800s to 2000 , Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Chang, K.C. (1983). Art, Myth and Ritual: The Path to Political Authority in Ancient China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.
  • Fei, Xiaotong. (1992/1948). From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese Society [乡å??中å?½] Hamilton and Wang Zheng (trans.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
  • Fung, Edmund S. K. (2010). The Intellectual Foundations of Chinese Modernity: Cultural and Political Thought in the Republican Era. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Latham, Kevin (2020) Routledge Handbook of Chinese Culture and Society. London: Routledge.
  • Mitter, Rana (2016) Modern China: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Perry, Elizabeth and Mark Selden (2010) Chinese society: change, conflict and resistance. London: Routledge.
  • Ropp, Paul S. (1990). Heritage of China: Contemporary Perspectives on Chinese Civilization. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
  • Twitchett, Denis and John K. Fairbank. (1979) The Cambridge History of China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Vol.1-15
  • Zang, Xiaowei (ed.) (2016) Understanding Chinese Society (2nd edition). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?


Origin date

November 2012

Last revision date


Key words search

China, culture, Chinese history