The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of History Department of History
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HIST5507 Special Topics in Public History: Regional History of Jiangnan: From Tradition to Modernity

Summer Semester (2022-2023)

Lecture TimeSaturday, 10:30 - 13:15

VenueLT8, Yasumoto International Academic Park(YIA LT8)


Lecturer SATO Yoshifumi (

Teaching Assistant ZHU Lizhen (

Course Description

This course explores the regional history of China, with focus on Jiangnan. After defining the macro framework of Jiangnan, the course will be divided into two parts, with 1949 as the watershed.

The first part (Ming to 1949) examines the various political systems Jiangnan experienced: Ming-Qing dynastic rule, late Qing constitutional polity, and republican model. These macro political reforms left their imprints on the social structure through the subcounty-level administrative and educational systems. As the nation-state is expanding, what impacts (or the lack of them) are brought forth to the regional society? How do the new intellectuals, trained by modern education system, perceive the regional society? In villages, where the state cannot penetrate, how are things run? I will answer these questions in terms of local culture. The second part explores Jiangnan after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Starting with the land reform, the state fundamentally transformed the old social order and penetrated into the regional society to an unprecedented level. What impacts were brought forth to the village-level society? How does the state organize the local society? Since the reform in 1978, as the orthodox policies of the state are on the wane, the folk culture of Jiangnan experiences “restoration”. Since the 21st century, some of these folk culture activities are even defined as UNESCO “nonmaterial cultural heritage”. How should these phenomenon be perceived? I will answer these questions in terms of historical studies.

By the end of the course, students will:
(1) have acquired the crucial concept and methodology of regional social history;
(2) have enhanced their understanding and reflection of the study of regional social history;
(3) have appreciated the values of ethnography and anthropology on the study of regional social history;
(4) have enhanced their understanding of contemporary China in the context of long-term historical changes.


第 1 週 緒論/區域史研究的意義
Week 01 Introduction: the Significance of Regional History Research
趙世瑜,《小歴史与大歴史:區域社會史的理念、方法与實踐》(北京:三聯, 2006)。
劉志偉、孫歌,《在歷史中尋找中國:關於區域史研究認識的對話》(上海:東 方出版中心,2016)。
G. William Skinner ed., The City in late imperial China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1977).
Lloyd E Eastman, Family, fields, and ancestors: constancy and change in China’s social and economic history, 1550-1949 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988).
森正夫,《森正夫明清史論集第 3 巻:地域社会·研究方法》(東京:汲古書院,2006)。

第 2 週 江南開發史:作爲水域社會的江南社會
Week 02 History of the development of Jiangnan: the Society of Jiangnan as a Littoral Society
謝湜,《高郷與低郷:11-16 世紀江南區域歴史地理研究》(北京:三聯,2015)。

第 3 週 江南的民間信仰
Week 03 The Folk Beliefs in Jiangnan
David Johnson, Andrew J. Nathan, Evelyn S. Rawski eds., Popular Culture in Late Imperial China (Berkeley: University of California Press,
福武直,《中国農村社会の構造》(福武直著作集第 9 巻,東京:東京大学出版會,1976)。

第 4 週 士人的郷土意識與其“邊緣化”
Week 04 The Local Elite’s Sense of Hometown and its “Marginalization”
森正夫,《森正夫明清史論集第 3 巻:地域社会·研究方法》(東京:汲古書院,2006)。

第 5 週 作爲田野的江南社會
Week 05 Jiangnan Society as a Field for Research
Prasenjit Duara, Culture, Power, and the State: Rural North China, 1900-1942 (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1988).
Sato Yoshifumi, “Oral History and the Study of Local Social History in China: The Case of Rural Society in the Taihu Lake Basin Area”, Cahiers d’Extreme-Asie 30 (2022), in print.

第 6 週 江南農村的“敘述”與口述史
Week 06 “Narrative” and Oral History in the Rural Villages of Jiangnan
魏宏運、三谷孝、張思,《20 世纪華北農村調查記錄》(北京:社会科学文献出版社, 2012),4 卷。
佐藤仁史, 〈被切斷的記憶:從一位「富農」的敘述看近代江南的農村社會〉,《東呉歴史学報》,第 36 期(2016),頁 7-37。
Thomas David DuBois, and Jan Kiely, eds., Fieldwork in Modern Chinese History: A Research Guide (London: Routledge, 2019).

Assessment & Assignments

Two Tutorial Reports: 1,000 Chinese characters (500 x 2), 30%
One Semester Paper:3,800-4,200 Chinese characters, 70%
*Topic of semester paper to be announced.

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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