The China Dream: Intellectual Discourses of Modernity from the late Qing Dynasty to the Present

Module code: 917V1B
Level 7 (Masters)
30 credits in spring semester
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Essay

The origin and development of the 'China Dream' is one of the most debated topics in modern and contemporary Chinese history, politics, and economics.

This module offers a unique perspective to better understand the 'China dream' through the lens of Chinese intellectual history. More specifically, we will analyse and discuss the major historiographical debates surrounding the following four topics:

  • the Chinese intellectual foundations, and the impact of Western ideas
  • the relationship between intellectuals and the State in modern China
  • the role of intellectuals and the relevant intellectual debates in the post-Mao era
  • the emergence of the 'China Dream' from a historical perspective.

Module learning outcomes

  • Understand the role and the ideas of the most prominent Chinese intellectuals (from Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao to the present - Wang Hui, Xi Jilin)
  • Become familiar with the terminology and the interpretive paradigms that these intellectuals employ, thanks to a close reading of the crucial documents
  • Evaluate the contribution of the scholars examined to a dialogue on the role of critical thinking within China as well as globally
  • Identify, evaluate, and assess primary sources that contribute to our understanding of the relation between the intellectuals, the society and the State in China
  • Better understand modern and contemporary China, in line with the growing interest of China's position in the world