Contemporary China

HIST 270/3.0

Farmers transplanting rice. Photograph by Oliver Hulme. Historical Photographs of China, University of Bristol Library (OH02-22)


Contemporary China aims to place the dynamics of recent social and economic change in historical perspective. Proceeding both thematically and chronologically, it familiarizes students with the deep continuities of phenomena such as urbanization, environmental challenges, cultural expectations, and gender norms.

Please note: This course is typically offered in the fall term - every other year 

Learning Outcomes

After completing HIST 270, students will be able to:

  1. Identify trajectories of change in contemporary China.
  2. Summarize key points with an emphasis on distinctive aspects of Chinese experiences in the contemporary era.
  3. Analyze China’s present systems and challenges in global comparative perspective.  
  4. Interpret and anticipate trends of change in contemporary China.
  5. Analyze and integrate knowledge with a widening understanding of the world and the study of history.
  6. Collaborate effectively by communicating in a clear and concise manner and applying active listening skills to others’ perspectives.
  7. Apply critical thinking skills to a variety of written forms including peers’ responses to reflect and evaluate information being presented.


Winter 2025
Course Dates
Delivery Mode


10% - Discussion Forums
10% - Online Synchronous Seminars
10% - Quizzes (x10)
45% - Short Essays (x3)
25% - Take-Home Final Exam

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

Live Sessions

This course has required live sessions (synchronous seminars). Please consult the Timeline in the first week of class 

Textbook and Materials

All required and recommended materials will be available through OnQ.

Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments, and course activities, students can expect to spend on average, about 8 - 10 hours per week on the course.