Understanding China, 1700-2000: A Data Analytic Approach, Part 1

James Z. Lee, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

The purpose of this course is to summarize new directions in Chinese history and social science produced by the creation and analysis of big historical datasets based on newly opened Chinese archival holdings, and to organize this knowledge in a framework that encourages learning about China in comparative perspective.

Our course demonstrates how a new scholarship of discovery is redefining what is singular about modern China and modern Chinese history. Current understandings of human history and social theory are based largely on Western experience or on non-Western experience seen through a Western lens. This course offers alternative perspectives derived from Chinese experience over the last three centuries. We present specific case studies of this new scholarship of discovery divided into two stand-alone parts, which means that students can take any Part without prior or subsequent attendance of the other Part.

Part One focuses on comparative inequality and opportunity and addresses two related questions ‘Who rises to the top?’ and ‘Who gets what?’. Please note that Part One was previously named ‘A New History for a New China, 1700-2000: New Data and New Methods, Part 1’.

Part Two turns to an arguably even more important question ‘Who are we?’ as seen through the framework of comparative population behavior - mortality, marriage, and reproduction – and their interaction with economic conditions and human values. We do so because mortality and reproduction are fundamental and universal, because they differ historically just as radically between China and the West as patterns of inequality and opportunity, and because these differences demonstrate the mutability of human behavior and values.


Part 1 covers the following subjects:

  1. Social Structure and Education in Late Imperial China
  2. Education and Social Mobility in Contemporary China
  3. Social Mobility and Wealth Distribution in China
  4. Wealth Distribution and Regime Change

Recommended Background

No requirements. Everyone is welcome.

Suggested Readings

All students should read:

  • HO, Ping-ti. 1962/1967. The Ladder of Success in Imperial China; Aspects of Social Mobility, 1368-1911. Columbia University Press, 1-52, 92-125.
  • RUBENSTEIN, William D. 2009. “The social origins and career patterns of Oxford and Cambridge matriculants, 1840–1900.” Historical Research, vol. 82, no. 218 (November 2009): 715-730.
  • SMITH, Robert J. 1982. The ecole normale supérieure and the Third Republic. Suny Press, Table 4, p.34.
  • WEBER, Max. 1946. ‘The Chinese Literati.’ In From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Oxford University Press: 416-444, 462-467.
  • BOURDIEU, Pierre. 1996. The State Nobility: Elite Schools in the Field of Power. Polity Press: 9-29, 263-299.
  • KARABEL, Jerome. 2005. The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Houghton Mifflin: 1-10 
  • CHEN, Shuang. 2014. Social Formation under State Domination: State Categories and Wealth Stratification in Northeast China, 1815-1913. Book Manuscript: 1-31.
  • LINDERT, Peter H. 1991. ‘Toward a Comparative History of Income and Wealth Inequality.’ in Income Distribution in Historical Perspective. Cambridge University Press: 212-231.
  • PIKETTY, Thomas. 2014. ‘Introduction’ and ‘Merit and Inheritance in the Long Run’ In Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Harvard University Press: 1-35, 377-429
  • NOELLERT, Matthew. 2014. “New Perspectives on Communist Land Reform: Evidence from Shuangcheng County in Northeast China, 1946-1948.” HKUST Humanities PhD Dissertation. 
  • HINTON, William. 1966. Fanshen: A Documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village. Monthly Review Press: 147-156, 332-366.

Course Format

For each subject, we present a 45-60 minute lecture, which incorporates recent, often on-going, research on these issues, and suggest 50 to 100 pages of relevant reading followed by peer mentored online discussions of the lecture and assigned reading.
  • 2015年9月22日, 5 星期
  • 2013年7月22日, 4 星期
  • 免费:
  • 收费:
  • 证书:
  • MOOC:
  • 视频讲座:
  • 音频讲座:
  • Email-课程:
  • 语言: 英语 Gb



请注册, 为了写反馈

17-547f02 Government and Politics of China
This course analyzes contemporary Chinese politics, both pre-Communist and Communist...
Arch_262x136 80000901_1X: History of Chinese Architecture — Part 1
This course explores China's rich and varied architectural history. (In Mandarin...
Stschina2-course-logo Science, Technology, and Society in China II: History of S&T in Chinese Society
This course is the second in a trilogy of short courses. In this part, we apply...
Chinese_arch_part2262x136 80000901_2x: History of Chinese Architecture: Part 2
Architecture from the 13th century to the early 20th century in China, mainly...
17-556s03 Political Economy of Development
This course examines theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding the...
Regular_657162be-a68b-47d5-a240-d51e86ec0098 Environmental Challenges: Scarcity and Conflict in the Natural Environment
War and conflict can severely disrupt the governance of the environment. What...
Regular_4cb1c93f-cf66-4158-bb2f-87aefdad8dea Object-oriented Programming in Python: Create Your Own Adventure Game
Learn object-oriented programming principles by creating your own text-based...
Regular_c69f8165-4d20-4ddd-8cee-3eae4752c2ff Inspiring Young People in STEM: Communication Skills for STEM Ambassadors
Improve your communication skills when delivering practical activities in STEM...
Regular_e2418f16-de8e-4023-9764-d90ba0e94e55 Teaching Phonics in Early Childhood
Learn what phonics is and how to teach it in the early years
Regular_70c77876-fd52-44b9-b737-b52b7a3c61d2 Introduction to Intercultural Studies: The Branding of Culture
Learn how products move across borders and how branding problematically draws...
Success-from-the-start-2 First Year Teaching (Secondary Grades) - Success from the Start
Success with your students starts on Day 1. Learn from NTC's 25 years developing...
New-york-city-78181 Understanding 9/11: Why Did al Qai’da Attack America?
This course will explore the forces that led to the 9/11 attacks and the policies...
Small-icon.hover Aboriginal Worldviews and Education
This course will explore indigenous ways of knowing and how this knowledge can...
Ac-logo Analytic Combinatorics
Analytic Combinatorics teaches a calculus that enables precise quantitative...
Talk_bubble_fin2 Accountable Talk®: Conversation that Works
Designed for teachers and learners in every setting - in school and out, in...

© 2013-2019