Week 2: Conquest and consolidation (1)

August 31 – Sept. 6

Check you have done all the assignments for the end of Week 1! Then get started on this week.

Remember: Use the login name and password found on the Canvas SECRETS page for the PDFs hosted in the PDF vault (url starting with “docs.tdh.bergbuilds”)

Table of Contents

China is new territory (literally) to many of you. Here are some sites to help you find your way in space and time:

Background info

Space: Provinces of China

Fun online quiz How fast can you get all the provinces? Note that Taiwan is indicated but won’t be asked! Not graded, no need to submit, but you can brag about your score in the Cloud Lounge!

Training aids:

  • Color map of political divisions (PDF)
  • blank map to practice (PDF)
  • List of items to identify (PDF)
    • Note: items marked in green are small or not marked on the blank map; Tianjin isn’t on my list yet. It’s south of Beijing.

Time: Timelines, dynasties and beyond

Readings for the week

Everybody reads the Basic Set materials. Choose one of the three Exploration Packs.

Basic set

Big question for us to come to terms with this week is: What is modern? What is China? These appear to have clear and straightforward answers, but once you try to define these terms, they are more difficult to pin down.

  • Mitter, Rana. Modern China: A Very Short Introduction. Very Short Introductions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. (ebook Trexler)
    • “Chapter 1: What is modern China”
  • Spence, Jonathan D. The Search for Modern China. First ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999.
    • Excerpt from the preface to the first edition (PDF)
    • Note that this evaluation was dropped in the preface to the second and third edition.
  • How do both historians define “modern”? How does it matter for us, and our understanding of the history of China?

Basic set: Browse: Materials from previous years

These summaries help you get a basic understanding of the big outlines and events.

“Hot off the press” Carter, James. “The Untold Story of Wu Sangui, China’s Two-time Turncoat”. Supchina September 30. URL https://supchina.com/2020/09/30/the-untold-story-of-wu-sangui-chinas-two-time-turncoat/

Exploration Pack 1: Textbook

A bit of everything: late Ming culture and problems, economy, conquest, and ethnic differences between the ethnic Han and the Manchu conquerors.

  • Spence, Jonathan D. The Search for Modern China. Third ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2013.
    • Chapters 1, 2 and 3.
    • Documentary reader: 3.2: Shi Lang’s Memorial on the capture of Taiwan (PDF) (#Taiwan)

Exploration Pack 2: Conquest

Focus on the ethnic differences between the ethnic Han who were mainly subjects of the Ming, and the Manchu conquerors.

  • Lovell, Julia. The Great Wall: China against the World, 1000 BC-AD 2000. 1st paperback ed. New York: Grove Press, 2007. (PDF)
    • “Chapter Ten: The Great Fall of China”
  • Struve, Lynn A. Voices from the Ming-Qing Cataclysm: China in Tigers’ Jaws. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.(PDF)
    • Diary of a survivor of the Yangzhou massacre of 1645 when the Manchu conquered southern China.
    • ethnicity #primary-source
  • “Nurhaci’s Seven Grievances”. In The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection. Third edition. Edited by Janet Chen, Pei-Kai Cheng and Michael Lestz, with Jonathan Spence, 19-21. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 2014.(PDF)
    • Before the Qing invaded and conquered the Ming in 1644, they already had many confrontations and conflicts. Nurhaci lists here many of the ways in which he felt the Ming had fallen short of its commitments towards the northern peoples, including the Manchu.
    • ethnicity #primary-source
  • “Two edicts concerning hair”. In The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection. Third edition. Edited by Janet Chen, Pei-Kai Cheng and Michael Lestz, with Jonathan Spence, 19-21. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 2014.(PDF)
    • ethnicity #primary-source

Exploration Pack 3: Economy

In the late sixteenth century, the European exploitation of the silver mines in the New World gave the Europeans an entry ticket into the lucrative Asian trade markets. But the influx of cheap silver had significant unforeseen consequences for the Chinese economy. If you’re interested in world trade markets and their influence on domestic issues and economies, look through these materials to connect the dots. There is much much more material on this topic, should you be curious.

  • Von Glahn, Richard. The Economic History of China: From Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2016. (PDF)
  • “A Ming Official on the Decline and Fall of the Dynasty”. In The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection. Third edition. Edited by Janet Chen, Pei-Kai Cheng and Michael Lestz, with Jonathan Spence, 4-6. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 2014.(PDF)
    • economy #primary-source


Weekly blog post

5 points, due by Thursday, Sept. 3. 11.59pm EDT.

Write a blog post exploring themes or ideas based on your reading. You do not need to have all the answers. In fact, learning to ask good analytical or research questions is a skill you can develop during the semester. Remember the description of the assignment from the syllabus.

  • Length: approx. 400 words. excl. list of materials consulted.
  • Add the list of materials consulted at the end of the post, in Chicago notes and bibliography style.
    • TOP TIP: Just copy the bibliography information from the Reading list on this webpage.
  • Add the words “Week 2” in the title
  • Indicate which Exploration Pack you chose.
  • Consider including a relevant image. If you do, make sure to add a caption with the source/credit.
  • Post on your website, and add to the category hst271.

When you’re done, read this declaration carefully and then fill out the Canvas quiz to collect your points.

– I wrote a post of approximately 400 words in response to the readings.
– I included the bibliographic references for the materials I used for my post.
– I indicated which Exploration Pack I chose.
– If I included an image, I provided a caption and credit (source) for the image.
– I use the words Week 2 in the title, and added the post to category hst271

Peer feedback

3 points, due Monday Sept. 7 by 11.59pm ET.

You’re likely reading different texts from each other, so it is important that you read each other’s initial posts, to enhance your understanding of the materials.

Below you find links to four blog posts from your fellow students. If one of the websites is your own, or it is twice the same person’s, refresh the page, and you should get new sites. NOTE: there are a couple of posts as Google docs while we sort out Bergbuilds issues, please use the “Insert comment” function (or highlight section and right-click, then select “comment”)

  • Post 1:
  • Post 2:
  • Post 3:
  • Post 4:

Leave feedback, questions, thoughts, insights about the contents of the posts of your fellow students using Hypothes.is group HST271. You can ask for clarifications, point out similarities and differences with the material you covered, or with your interpretation. This should encourage you to nose around in the other materials you did not read in the first round.

Use the “Architect’s Model” of giving feedback, and engage with concrete issues. Go beyond “Yeah, I agree,” “I like” or “I think the same”, and instead explain why you have that reaction, or if you disagree, you can try to persuade the original poster of your idea or interpretation.

Remember that Hypothes.is allows for hyperlinks, e.g. to materials that support your argument, or you can include pictures (memes! [yes, there she is again]), videos etc. that help the original poster to learn more.

When you’ve commented on four posts, read this declaration carefully, and then fill out the Canvas quiz to collect your points.

– I commented on four fellow students’ initial posts on the readings from Week 2 using the group HST271.
– I made sure to leave substantial comments that move the discussion forward and help to create better insights, and go beyond a “nice” or “great”.
– I left comments that I would like to receive myself: thoughtful, helpful, kind, but also pointing out errors so they can be fixed.

Extra credit tasks

Missed a task earlier this week? Want to try out some new things? Just like playing games and scoring as many points as possible? Here are some extra credit tasks.
In later weeks, these will give you more opportunities to explore more functionality of our online tools, and get a small reward for it. You can only get credit for them before the end of the week!

EC 1: Add an “avatar” or picture to your Cloud Lounge profile

1 point, due by Sunday, Sept. 6, 11.59pm ET

If you look like a little grey head on the Cloud Lounge, please consider adding a splash of color: a picture of you, or of something that represents you, for instance your pet, or a location you like.

  1. Go to your profile: in the “Hamburger” menu or next to “Account” (top right), and click on “Profile” from the drop-down menu.
  2. Click on “Edit avatar”
  3. Click on “Choose file”, this will open a window where you navigate the files on your computer.
    • Top tip: if you have a favorite picture, place it in a top-level folder in your “Documents” folder on the “Desktop”, so you can find it easily.
    • Note: the max. file size is 150MB, you may have to reduce the file size. An internet search gives you many different options to do that.
  4. Select the right area, so we’re not looking up your nostrils (unless that’s the intention but… maybe not the most thoughtful?)
  5. Click save, and poke around on the site if it looks like you imagine: remember the corners are rounded off!

When you’re done, read this declaration carefully, and then fill out the Canvas quiz to collect your point.

– I uploaded a picture to my Cloud Lounge profile so I no longer look like a grey head.
– I checked it shows up on the site as I intended.

EC 2: Change the theme on your WordPress site

2 points, due by Sunday, Sept. 6,11:59pm ET

The standard theme for WordPress blogs at this moment is the so-called “Swedish Museum of Modern Art” or “Twenty-Twenty”.
Maybe you like it well enough.
But did you know there are thousands of free themes out there to make your blog look nice?
For instance, my course website runs on “Catch Starter”, the Daily Course Announcements site uses the theme “Noto Simple”.
Here’s how to have some fun with your site:

  1. Spend ± 30 mins. exploring different themes, and pick a new one that fits your personal taste better, and customize it. You can find more information in the videos linked on this help page (scroll down).
  2. Write a brief blog post explaining why you picked your new theme, and why you like it better, or how you customized it. If you stuck with the original Twenty-Twenty theme, remove extraneous links and information (so it looks nice), and then explain in the post why it’s still the best theme for you.
  3. In the title of the post, include the words WordPress Theme, add the tag extracredit (one word) and add the post to category hst271.

When you’re done, read this declaration carefully, and then fill out the Canvas quiz to collect your points.

– I explored different themes for WordPress and customized one for my site.
– I wrote a blog post explaining my choice of theme, and how I customized it.
– I included the words WordPress Theme in the title, added the tag extracredit (one word) to the post, and added the post to category hst271

Where to ask questions?

Remember that it is highly likely that you are not the only one with that question. Save me time, and help your fellow students by asking questions where others can see them. If you know the answer to a question, jump in! I can’t be everywhere all the time.

Missing link? Wrong information? Email me!