Welcome to “HST271: Modern China”! My name is Tineke D’Haeseleer, and I am your instructor for this course. I have a doctorate in Chinese history from the University of Cambridge in the UK (that explains the British influence in my accent). I have taught at Muhlenberg for 3 years, but before then I had many different jobs in different countries, teaching and researching Chinese history. If you’d like to know more, you can ask me questions in the Cloud Lounge, a social website I set up just for my students this Fall semester. (I’ll tell you more about it later, but you can sign up already!)
In this course you will learn all about the history of Modern China, starting in 1600. That may seem like “ancient China” to you, but bear in mind that Chinese history is very long, and we start in what scholars generally call “late Imperial China” (and FYI: early Imperial China starts in 221BCE!)
At the end of the course, I hope that you will look at articles in newspapers about present-day China in a new light, because you’ll understand better what came before. For instance: there is a long tradition of intellectuals protesting against abuse of power; China was the powerhouse of the global economy until the late eighteenth century; contrary to many rumors, Chinese people were always interested in the wider world, and learned from other cultures, and traveled to and settled in other parts of the world, even if the government made it difficult; and Chinese people are as varied in ideas, opinions, and likes and dislikes as the citizens of any nation on earth – the government, and the communist party, which dominate our news cycle, are only one small part of the story of China.
In the next few videos I will explain more about the digital tools we use for the course, and why I chose this option; we will look at the main types of assignments; and you’ll get a tour of the websites and how everything is linked together through the power of the internet.
See you there!
Link to video 2 (transcript)