AU: 4.0
Programme: HIST(HSS)

In order to understand past events, it is also important to understand why certain actors did what they did to influence the course of events. In other words, what did these actors think and how did they understand the world around them? Using an intellectual history framework, this course looks at the main themes and debates of twentieth-century China through the angle of some of its main thinkers, thereby paying attention to the specific contexts in which intellectuals put forward these ideas. Among others, we will look into socialism, liberalism, conservatism, and nationalism; the various debates we will study address the nature of Chinese modernity and its economic, political, and cultural tenets. Starting in the late nineteenth century, when exchange programs and contact with foreigners in China led intellectuals to question their existing worldviews, this course moves chronologically and thematically across the twentieth century. From the late 1800s, we move on to intellectuals of the important May Fourth era?including thinkers of various political persuasions?as well as Mao Zedong thought. In a final section, intellectual developments of modern China will be linked to contemporary outgrowths. We will briefly discuss liberal thinkers of the so-called ?second Enlightenment? period, the 1980s, after which the course will conclude with the rise of New Confucianism and debates between the New Left and liberal intellectuals during the 1990s.