Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session

Syllabus Archive

The following syllabi come from a variety of different terms. They illustrate the evolution of this course over time, and are intended to provide alternate views into the instruction of this course.

Spring 2009, Ian Chapman (PDF)

Fall 2004, Peter Perdue (PDF)


This subject examines the experiences of ordinary Chinese people as they lived through the tumultuous changes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We look at personal narratives, primary sources, films alongside a textbook to think about how individual and family lives connect with the broader processes of change in modern China. In the readings and discussions, you should focus on how major political events have an impact on the characters' daily lives, and how the decisions they make cause large-scale social transformation.

No knowledge of Chinese or of Chinese history is necessary to take this subject. Students who signed up under 21F.191 will be expected to complete one assignment based on Chinese language sources.


  • Regular attendance at all classes.
  • Active participation in discussions.
  • Eight response papers to readings, due Monday of the week of class [printed or by email].
  • Final term paper on a topic of your choice, 10-15 pages [Bibliography and topics to be supplied later].
  • There is one midterm exam, but no final exam.

Grade Determination

Response Papers 15%
Midterm 20%
Discussion 30%
Final Paper 35%

A Note on Plagiarism: Using someone else's work without acknowledgment is plagiarism. If you commit this crime, you will at the least get a failing grade on the paper, and at worst fail the course and be taken to the Committee on Discipline. Later, I will give you more detailed instructions how to cite sources and how to avoid unintentional plagiarism.