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
Part 1 covers the following subjects:
- Social Structure and Education in Late Imperial China
- Education and Social Mobility in Contemporary China
- Social Mobility and Wealth Distribution in China
- Wealth Distribution and Regime Change
No requirements. Everyone is welcome.
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.
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.