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Module LXC-2200:
Contemporary Chinese Studies

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Shasha Wang

Overall aims and purpose

This module teaches foundational knowledge of contemporary Chinese history, politics and society, and introduces disciplinary approaches to the study of contemporary China, particularly in history, politics, economy and international relations. This is to prepare students for the challenges and exploit the opportunities created by China’s rise as a regional and global player.

Course content

This module teaches foundational knowledge of contemporary Chinese history, politics and society, and introduces disciplinary approaches to the study of contemporary China, particularly in history, politics, economy and international relations. The module will include topics such as the historical context of contemporary China’s re-emergence, the causes and consequences of the Cultural Revolution, China’s economy in transition since reform and opening.

The module will be mainly taught in English with some inclusion of Chinese and reading materials in Chinese.

Assessment Criteria


A- & above: Detailed comprehension of the given topic; highly focussed answer and well structure; logically presented and defended arguments; excellent presentation with very accurate communication.


C- - B+: Solid comprehension of the given topic; focussed answers with good structure; arguments presented coherently; good presentation with accurate communication.


D- - D+: Satisfactory comprehension of the given topic; answer focusing on question but also with some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure; arguments presented but lack coherence; some weaknesses in presentation and accuracy.

Learning outcomes

  1. interpret and evaluate some of the key aspects of contemporary China;

  2. critique different perceptions and viewpoints of contemporary China, and construct coherent and substantiated arguments;

  3. understand the political and economic implications of the vast changes and rise of China in the recent years.

  4. demonstrate a good understanding of contemporary China in terms of history and politics;

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Essay 2 50
ESSAY Essay 1 30

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

reading time, preparing and taking assessments


1-hour lecture/seminar each week.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Extract and synthesise key information from written and/or spoken sources in English / Welsh and/or the target language. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
  • The ability to organise and present ideas within the framework of a structured and reasoned argument in written and/or oral assignments and class discussions. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
  • Critical skills in the close reading, description, reasoning and analysis of primary and secondary sources in the target language and/or English or Welsh (incl. filmic, literary and other sources). (Benchmark statement 5.13, 5.14, 5.15)
  • Competence in the planning and execution of essays, presentations and other written and project work; bibliographic skills, including the accurate citation of sources and consistent use of conventions and appropriate style in the presentation of scholarly work. (Benchmark statement 5.10, 5.14, 5.15)
  • The ability to gather information, analyse, interpret and discuss different viewpoints and to place these in a wider socio-cultural and/or geo-historical and political and/or socio-linguistic context and to revise and re-evaluate judgements in light of those of the course leader, certain individuals or groups studied and/or fellow students. (Benchmark statement 5.13, 5.15 and 5.16)
  • The ability to write and think under pressure and meet deadlines. (Benchmark statement 5.15)
  • The ability to write effective notes and access and manage course materials including electronic resources / information provided on online learning platforms and library resources. (Benchmark statement 5.15, 5.16)
  • The ability to work creatively and flexibly both independently and/or as part of a team. (Benchmark statement 5.15).
  • The ability and willingness to engage with and appreciate other cultures and to articulate to others (in written and verbal form) the contribution that the culture has made at a regional and global level. (Benchmark statement 5.7)
  • The ability to comprehend, critically engage with and apply relevant theoretical concepts to materials being studied. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
  • The ability to engage in analytical, evaluative and original thinking. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
  • The ability to organise and present ideas and arguments in presentations, classroom discussions and debates. (Benchmark statement 5.14, 5.16)


Resource implications for students


Talis Reading list

Reading list

There is no recommended textbook but the following (including the Talis reading list) can be used as references:

Fenby, Jonathan, The Penguin History of Modern China: The Fall and Rise of a Great Power, 1850 to the Present, 2nd edn.

Gries, Peter Hays and Stanley Rosen, State and Society in 21st Century China: Crisis, Contention and Legitimation

Hsu, Immanuel C. Y. , The Rise of Modern China

Jeffries, Ian, China: A Guide to Economic and Political Developments

Lai, Hongyi and Lu Yiyi, China’s Soft Power and International Relations

Meisner, Maurice, Mao’s China and After: A History of the People’s Republic

Wang, Zheng, Never Forget National Humiliation: Historical Memory in Chinese Politics and Foreign Relations

Zhu, Zhiqun, China’s New Diplomacy

Courses including this module