This is our catalog of courses. We will occasionally adjust the course listing to reflect the addition of new courses and the retirement of others. 

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Corruption and Communism: Modern China

Follow the compelling and often tragic story of how China developed into the nation it is today.

Total classes: 14

Prerequisite: None

Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade (Adjustments can be made to assignments in order to accommodate Middle School students.)

Suggested credit: One full semester Chinese History, Eastern History, or World History


The achievements and developments of China stand as a major reason why historians separate the history of Eastern and Western Civilization. China developed in ways not easily understood by the West, with a trajectory of both progress and regression, power and weakness which both invited the West’s interest while simultaneously rejecting their influence. This course seeks to explain why China has developed into the nation it is today, beginning with the 17th century and the late Ming Empire, up to the dictatorship of Mau Tse-Tung. In between we examine fascinating and significant events such as the Opium Wars, the Boxer Rebellion, and the Chinese Civil War of the 20th Century.


Week 1: Introduction and overview of syllabus and assignments

         Weeks 2-5: Passing the Torch: The transition from the old dynasty, 1600-1800

Week 2: The achievement and fall of the Ming: Leftovers from ancient China

Week 3: Manchu conquest: The rise of the Qing

Week 4: Consolidation: Intellectuals, Philosophers, and Chinese society

Week 5: China in the eighteenth century World

         Weeks 6-9: Reform, crises, and fragmentation: 1800-1912

Week 6: The Dynasty strains: The Opium Wars, and Nain Rebellion

Week 7: Reform movements

Week 8: More Crises: The Boxer Rebellion, and anti-Western sentiment 

Week 9: The fall of the Qing Dynasty

         Weeks 10-14: China and Communism: 1912-1989

Week 10: Experiment in Democracy, and Marxist stirrings

Week 11: The emergence of Communism in China

Week 12: China during World War II

Week 13: The dictatorship of Mao Tse-Tong

Week 14: Epilogue: China into the present

Materials and Homework

Course Materials: All course materials will be provided FREE by the instructor.

Homework: Writing is an integral part of demonstrating both the assimilation of knowledge and the articulation thereof. Therefore, students will be guided through the process of writing a short (3-5 page, double-spaced) review of a book of their choice relevant to the subject matter. 

NOTE: Middle School students taking this course may instead write a 1-2 page book report

Also, students will have one to two short (5-10 minute), ungraded review quizzes based on classroom lectures and discussions.

Important Dates

Class Dates: Wednesdays, January 10 to April 24, 2024. No class Feb. 14 or Mar. 27.

Starting Time: 5:30 PM Eastern (4:30 Central; 3:30 Mountain; 2:30 Pacific)

Duration per class: 55 minutes

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