課程講師 何曉清 ((852) 3943 7128)
Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China. Some leaders make such a profound impression on their times, that they appear, figuratively at least, to “possess” their own country. Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), who ruled the country from 1949 until his death in 1976, was one such a figure. “The East is Red,” the 1942 song that became China’s unofficial national anthem during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960-70s, referred to Mao as “the people’s great savior,” though many people, in China and abroad, viewed him as a monster, on a par with Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.
This course focuses on the history of the PRC during the era of revolutionary transformation and profound upheaval (1949-1976) that was the hallmark of the reign of Chairman Mao Zedong. This course embraces multiple aspects of Chinese society during that period, including politics, economics, culture, art, education, foreign relations, etc. The goals, institutions, mechanisms of social control, and, not least, the enormous price paid by the Chinese people in the course of striving to achieve Mao’s utopian/dystopian vision of China will command our attention, stimulate our thinking, and provoke lively but mutually respectful discussion. One of the highlights of this course would be the opportunity to have conversations with authors of some of our readings.
This course aims to help students to develop skills to think, write, and speak critically and analytically about the past. We will work together as historians to evaluate historical evidence in primary and secondary sources, to think within historical contexts, to recognize the historical forces at work, to identify continuities and changes, and to understand the ethical dimension of historical interpretations as world citizens.
Final Project: 60%
Class Performance: 10%
A detailed list of weekly materials will be provided later
Each week’s materials will focus on one theme/topic. These themes/topics are chronologically arranged. In addition to reading required texts, we will watch selected films and documentaries relevant to the period we study. These visual materials aim to facilitate students’ understanding of history through vivid human experience, and to eventually cultivate students’personal moral engagement as well as historical consciousness and intellectual understanding of the world. After all, the history that we are exploring is not just about dates, names, and numbers, but timeless questions such as values and choices, conflict and love, loyalty and betrayal.
CLASS PARTICIPATION AND ACTIVITIES
This is a student-centered class. Students are expected to be actively engaged in class and to work with other students. Class activities include group discussions, reading and news presentations, lectures, and documentary screenings, and reenactment of historical scenes. I will keep my nine-year tradition of having class lunches/dinners with students who are interested in joining.
We will work together to create an environment for intellectual dialogues and to cultivate informed, responsible, and engaged citizens. Being empathetic and inclusive does not mean that we stay away from core issues; it does not absolve us from our responsibility to engage in critical thinking and honest intellectual debates. I also recognize that we human beings have our own individual differences and preferences in learning styles and strategies. I will keep that in mind and will work with each of you to bring the best out of your potential and talent.