About this Course
The purpose of this course is to summarize new directions in Chinese history and social science produced by the creation and analysis of big historical datasets based on newly opened Chinese archival holdings, and to organize this knowledge in a framework that encourages learning about China in comparative perspective. Our course demonstrates how a new scholarship of discovery is redefining what is singular about modern China and modern Chinese history. Current understandings of human history and social theory are based largely on Western experience or on non-Western experience seen through a Western lens. This course offers alternative perspectives derived from Chinese experience over the last three centuries. We present specific case studies of this new scholarship of discovery divided into two stand-alone parts, which means that students can take any part without prior or subsequent attendance of the other part. Part 1 (https://www.coursera.org/learn/understanding-china-history-part-1) focuses on comparative inequality and opportunity and addresses two related questions ‘Who rises to the top?’ and ‘Who gets what?’. Part 2 (this course) turns to an arguably even more important question ‘Who are we?’ as seen through the framework of comparative population behavior - mortality, marriage, and reproduction – and their interaction with economic conditions and human values. We do so because mortality and reproduction are fundamental and universal, because they differ historically just as radically between China and the West as patterns of inequality and opportunity, and because these differences demonstrate the mutability of human behavior and values. Course Overview video: https://youtu.be/dzUPRyJ4ETk
Globe

100% online course

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Clock

Approx. 6 hours to complete

Suggested: 4 weeks of study, 2-3 hours/week
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English
Globe

100% online course

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Clock

Approx. 6 hours to complete

Suggested: 4 weeks of study, 2-3 hours/week
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Orientation and Module 1: Who Are We and Who Survives

Before you start with the content for Module 1, please review the Assignments and Grading page and introduce yourself to other learners who will be studying this course with you....
Reading
7 videos (Total 47 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video7 videos
1.2: Big Data and the Scholarship of Discovery10m
1.3: Big Data, New Facts and Classic Social Theory7m
1.4: New Data and Eurasian Comparisons6m
2.1: Who Survives: Life Under Pressure8m
2.2: Mortality: Geographic and Socioeconomic Comparisons5m
2.3: Mortality and Who We Are4m
Reading2 readings
Assignments and Grading10m
Module 1 Suggested Reading10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Quiz 120m

2

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Module 2: Who Reproduces and Who Marries

...
Reading
8 videos (Total 49 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video8 videos
3.2: Reproduction and Conscious Choice4m
3.3: Reproduction and Adoption6m
3.4: Reproduction: Geographic and Socioeconomic Comparisons6m
4.1: Who Marries: Similarity in Difference4m
4.2: Universal Female and Restricted Male Marriage5m
4.3: Alternative Marriage Forms9m
4.4: Marriage and Socioeconomic Comparisons4m
Reading1 readings
Module 2 Suggested Reading10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Quiz 220m

3

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Module 3: Who Cares and Course Conclusion

In this module, James and his post-graduate student Hao DONG will co-deliver the lectures....
Reading
5 videos (Total 35 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video5 videos
5.2: Effects of Living with Kin (by Hao DONG)4m
5.3: Family System in Comparative Perspective (by Hao DONG)9m
5.4: Kin Influence Across East Asian Family Systems (by Hao DONG)6m
6.1: Conclusion: The Salient Legacy of China’s Past7m
Reading1 readings
Module 3 Suggested Reading10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Quiz 310m

4

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Final Exam and Farewell

Now is time to test your understanding on the entire course. Take the final exam and complete the post-course survey. Your valuable feedback will certainly help us improve future iterations of the course....
Reading
2 readings, 2 quizzes
Reading2 readings
A Farewell Message from Professor James Lee10m
Rate this course10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Final Exam40m
Post-course Survey36m
4.3

Top Reviews

By JBMay 23rd 2018

Brilliant course. High quality information, comprehensive bibliography and interesting tests. Visionary, complex and controversial. Not to be missed if you are interested in China.

By JQNov 19th 2017

NICE COURSE WITH SOME INTERESTING INFORMATION. THANKS FOR ORGANIZING THIS COURSE.

Instructor

Avatar

James Z. Lee

Dean and Chair Professor of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences

About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

HKUST - A dynamic, international research university, in relentless pursuit of excellence, leading the advance of science and technology, and educating the new generation of front-runners for Asia and the world....

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • If you pay for this course, you will have access to all of the features and content you need to earn a Course Certificate. If you complete the course successfully, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. Note that the Course Certificate does not represent official academic credit from the partner institution offering the course.

  • Yes! Coursera provides financial aid to learners who would like to complete a course but cannot afford the course fee. To apply for aid, select "Learn more and apply" in the Financial Aid section below the "Enroll" button. You'll be prompted to complete a simple application; no other paperwork is required.

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