Skip to main content

China's Revolutions, 1911-1949

A black and white picture of a group of men in military uniform
The first President of the Republic of China, Yuan Shikai (front row, third from left), was photographed with foreign dignitaries on October 10, 1913, in Beijing.

Why is China a one-party state today? How did the Chinese Communist Party seize power and establish absolute control over the nation? What political and social forces contended for power in China after the fall of its millennia-old monarchy? What is the conundrum regarding Taiwan? If you have ever pondered some of these questions, this seminar course is for you.

The course is designed to promote the study, analysis, and discussion of the period between the fall of China's last dynasty and the triumph of Communism. It was a time of bloody uprisings against an antiquated political order and desperate hopes for a new, modern nation. By examining a series of pivotal revolutions between 1911 and 1949, the course will illuminate China's historical trajectory within a turbulent global order, as well as its connection to the contemporary world.

Studying this period is crucial to understanding China's current political and economic system and its impact on other countries in the region. Course evaluation will include a book review (3–5 pages), a research proposal (2–3 pages), and a research/historiography paper (10-12 pages). Guidance will be provided on how to choose a topic for the research proposal and how to develop a thesis statement for the research paper.  

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.