Introduction to Chinese Contemporary History

CCP Leaders (Mao, Deng, Jiang, Hu), Lauri Paltemaa

All terms

Application period: Read more about the application process!

Students from University of Turku can apply direct via Peppi. 

Course study period:

  • Spring 2024, starts 8.1.2024
  • Summer 2024, 20.5-31.7.2024

Level: Advanced

Language: English

Amount of credits: 5 cr

Time: Students can start taking the course once they receive information about acceptance. The set study period extends to the end of that study term

Organizer: Centre for East Asian Studies, University of Turku

Instructor: Professor Lauri Paltemaa

Goals: Students will learn in-depth the course of contemporary Chinese history (c. 1949 to present), its major events, personages, policies and contradictions as well as questions of its historiography. As transferable skills students will learn how to assimilate and understand large amounts of new information through following online lectures and reading research literature, as well as academic English listening and writing skills.

Contents: The course introduces students to Chinese contemporary history from the revolution to the present. The central theme in the course is to follow the folding and unfolding of the Communist experiment in China and the emergence of a new aspiring economic and political superpower by the early 21st century. Questions such as the nature of the communist revolution, Mao Zedong and his legacy, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping and the reform era policies as well as developments in more recent past are discussed and analyzed during the course from the historical point of view. The course is essential for those who want to gain deeper understanding of the great social, economic and political transformation of China in contemporary history.

Taken as:  

  • Online lectures (18 h) available throughout the year AND
  • Literature:
    • Paltemaa, Lauri and Juha Vuori: Kiinan kansantasavallan historia (2012) OR
    • MacFarquhar, Roderick: The Politics of China (2011):
  • Home exams with essay type questions (arranged once a month, you only need to pass the exam once) worth of 5 ECTS

This course does not have a fixed schedule. When you have watched the lectures and read the obligatory materials you can take the exam. A home exam is arranged once a month.

Grading: On a scale of 1–5

Target Group: All students who wish to gain introductory knowledge on Contemporary Chinese history.

Application process:

Students who hold a valid study right at University Network’s member university can take this course for free. This includes both degree students and exchange students.

Other students can apply to the course as external self-paying students of the University of Turku OR via the Open University at the University of Turku.

This course does not have enrollment limits.

Go to application instructions by clicking here.

Once your application has been processed, you will receive a  message about the decision. This will come a few weeks after the application period has ended. If you are accepted to the course, you will receive a welcoming email on the first day of the course, and gain access to the course site in the Moodle. The welcome email comes to the address you have given in the application form. It may go to the spam or offers-folder of your email (at least Gmail tends to do it), so check those folders too.

Photo: Lauri Paltemaa, Asianet Material Bank