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Level 7

7AAH5017 On Contradictions: Themes in the Study of the Early People's Republic of China

Credit value: 20
Module convenor/tutor 2019/20: Dr Rebecca Scott
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour seminars (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 4,000-word essay
Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.
The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

How has new historiography challenged our understanding of China’s recent past? This module introduces students to the historiography of the ‘Mao Era’ (1949-1976). Based on different weekly themes, the module offers an overview of key issues in the study of PRC history. It encourages students to evaluate how access to new primary sources has changed what we know about mainland China’s contemporary history. Over the ten weeks, we will examine the formation of the rural-urban divide, the history of science, technology, and propaganda, the development of a planned economy and industrialisation, the role of law under socialism, the reconfiguration of China’s ethnic frontiers, and the international links of PRC state and society. An examination of recent historiography on the PRC will invite students to consider the ways in which historical methodology and analytical frameworks can contribute to understanding China today.

Provisional teaching plan

Week 1: What is ‘PRC History’?

Week 2: Politics and Party

Week 3: Reconfiguring the City

Week 4: Reconfiguring the Countryside

Week 5: Internationalisation and Internationalism

Week 6: Science and Engineering

Week 7: Propaganda and Public Opinion

Week 8: Frontiers and Ethnic Minorities

Week 9: Law and Constitutionalism

Week 10: Mao the Man, Mao the Icon, and Mao the Memory

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