The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of History Department of History
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HIST5610 China and the West

Semester 2 (2020-2021)

Lecture TimeFriday 6:30pm-8:15pm

VenueZoom Meeting
Zoom Meeting ID: 95245076057
(Password required. Email lecturer for details)


Lecturer PUK Wing Kin ((852) 3943 7062 /

Course Description

The study of history is at once a science, an art and a craft. Why? In what sense? This course answers this question with concrete case studies. Different types of historical archives will be selected, and ways with which these archives are interpreted will be demonstrated. Major themes of historical study will also be introduced. To be more specific, this course focuses on the complex process of interaction between China and the West in the 19th century.


Learning Outcomes

 By the end of the course, students will:
*   Have enhanced awareness and curiosity of professional historical knowledge and its relevance to today’s major issues or personal concerns;
*   Have enhanced judgment to distinguish narratives from facts;
*   Have enhanced ability to practice the craft, science and art of historical research;
*   Have enhanced reading, writing, and oral expression skills.


(To be constantly revised and updated)


Lecture 01 (15 Jan): Modern China and the Metaphors of Ship; Course Introduction

* J. L. Cranmer-Byng ed., An Embassy to China: Lord Macartney’s Journal, 1793-1794 (1962), in Patrick Tuck ed., Britain and the China Trade 1635-1842 (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), vol. VIII.

* Liu E劉鶚 (1857-1909), trans. Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang, The travels of Lao Can 老殘遊記 (Beijing: Chinese Literature, 1983), 16-22.


Lecture 02 (22 Jan): Western International Law
* Lin Xuezhong林學忠, Cong wanguo gongfa dao gongfa waijiao: wanqing guojifa de chuanru, quanshi yu yingyong 從萬國公法到公法外交:晚清國際法的傳入、詮釋與應用 [From international law to international law diplomacy: the introduction, interpretation and application of international law in late Qing] (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 2009).


Lecture 03 (29 Jan): Globalization, Imperialism and China: IMC
* Hans van de Ven, Breaking with the Past: the Maritime Customs Service and the Global Origins of Modernity in China (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014).


Lecture 04 (05 Feb): The Case of Alcock Convention

* J.J. O’Meara ed., British Parliamentary Papers—China, Vol. 35 Correspondence Respecting the Revision of the Treaty of Tientsin 1867-83 (Irish University Press Area Studies Series. Shannon: Irish University Press, 1971).

NO CLASS on 12 Feb: Public holiday – Lunar New Year


Lecture 05 (19 Feb): Commercial Revolution? Industrial Development?

* Yen-p’ing Hao, The Commercial Revolution in Nineteenth-Century China: The Rise of Sino-Western Mercantile Capitalism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986).


Lecture 06 (26 Feb): Late Qing Economy and Currency

* John Calvin Ferguson, “Notes on Chinese bankin system in Shanghai”, Journal of the North-China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 37 (1906), pp. 55-82.


Lecture 07 (05 Mar): Likin and the Blackburn Report

“F. S. A. Bourne’s Section”, Report of the Mission to China of the Blackburn Chamber of Commerce 1896-97 (Blackburn: The North-East Lancashire Press Co., 1898), 1-152.

* Stanley Wright, China’s Struggle for Tariff Autonomy 1843-1938 (Shanghai: Kelly & Walsh, 1938).


Lecture 08 (12 Mar): Nationalism
* Sun Yat-sen, trans. Pashal M. D’Elia, The Triple Demism of Sun Yat-sen (Wuchang: The Franciscan Press, 1931), 195-199.


Lecture 09 (19 Mar): Extraterritoriality


Lecture 10 (26 Mar): Semester Paper Workshop (I)

* Anthony Grafton, The Footnote: a Curious History (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997).



NO CLASS on 02 Apr: Public holiday – Easter


Lecture 11 (09 Apr): Semester Paper Workshop (II)


Lecture 12 (16 Apr): Semester Paper Workshop (III)


Lecture 13 (23 Apr): Semester Paper Workshop (IV) and Conclusion

Assessment & Assignments

Semester Paper: 90%

Tutorial: 10%


Semester Paper

* Minimum 5,000 English words including footnotes.

* No bibliography is needed.

* To be submitted to Veriguide on or before 30 April, 2021 (one week after the last lecture). 

* Delay of submission by one day leads to deduction of 10 marks, for instance, from 90 to 80, and so forth.

* Topic of the semester paper: Hankow: a Study based on the Maritime Customs Decennial Reports 1892-1901, 1902-1911, 1912-1921


* There will be about eight zoom tutorial sessions beginning on 2021.0.29 (29 January 2021 Friday), after the lecture, from 2030 to 2115. Students are expected to attend all of them and make one oral presentation of about 10 minutes. In every tutorial about 6 students shall be presenting.

* The material for oral presentation is: Maritime Customs Decennial Reports 1892-1901, 1902-1911, 1912-1921. Every student takes turn to present assigned pages of the Decennial Reports.

* These three Decennial Reports areexactly the crucial historical document for the semester paper. So there is synergy between tutorial and semester paper. Tutorial counts for 10% of the total mark (100). Ten percent might mean little, but is vital to the writing of the semester paper. So do please make an effort to attend all the tutorial sessions.

* Tutorial schedule:

Tutorial 1: 2021.01.29 Friday 2030-2115

Tutorial 2: 2021.02.05 Friday 2030-2115

Chinese New Year holiday 2021.02.12, no class!

Tutorial 3: 2021.02.19 Friday 2030-2115

Tutorial 4: 2021.02.26 Friday 2030-2115

Tutorial 5: 2021.03.05 Friday 2030-2115

Tutorial 6: 2021.03.12 Friday 2030-2115

Tutorial 7: 2021.03.19 Friday 2030-2115

Tutorial 8: 2021.03.26 Friday 2030-2115


Honesty in Academic Work

Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. Details may be found at

With each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware of these policies, regulations, guidelines and procedures.

  • In the case of group projects, all members of the group should be asked to sign the declaration, each of whom is responsible and liable to disciplinary actions, irrespective of whether he/she has signed the declaration and whether he/she has contributed, directly or indirectly, to the problematic contents.
  • For assignments in the form of a computer-generated document that is principally text-based and submitted via VeriGuide, the statement, in the form of a receipt, will be issued by the system upon students’ uploading of the soft copy of the assignment.

Assignments without the properly signed declaration will not be graded by teachers.

Only the final version of the assignment should be submitted via VeriGuide.

The submission of a piece of work, or a part of a piece of work, for more than one purpose (e.g. to satisfy the requirements in two different courses) without declaration to this effect shall be regarded as having committed undeclared multiple submissions. It is common and acceptable to reuse a turn of phrase or a sentence or two from one’s own work; but wholesale reuse is problematic. In any case, agreement from the course teacher(s) concerned should be obtained prior to the submission of the piece of work.

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