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HIST 2465 Democracy and Modern China


HIST 2465 Democracy and Modern China (HA-AS, non-US)

Tuesday and Thursday: 1:25-2:40pm

Dr. John Barwick

Chinese political culture has long been characterized by authoritarianism, from the time of the old imperial order up until the present Communist era. Yet from the end of the nineteenth century to the present, China has also been profoundly influenced by notions of democracy, as evident in both the realms of political discourse and of political practice.  This course explores the many fascinating forms that the Chinese engagement with democracy has taken, ranging from early efforts to transform the Qing dynasty into a constitutional monarchy to the establishment of a republic through the efforts of Sun Yatsen; from “Mr. Democracy” of the May Fourth era to the “New Democracy” of Mao Zedong in the 1940s; and from popular movements for democratic change under Communist rule such as the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 to forms of democratic governance in the special cases of Hong Kong and Taiwan. The aim is to reflect on and discuss how democracy as a political concept has been understood and used in the Chinese context, and in this way to better grasp the nature of China’s political culture and ongoing political evolution.

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