Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)

Module HIST44130: Qing Dynasty China: 1644 to the Opium War

Department: History

HIST44130: Qing Dynasty China: 1644 to the Opium War

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • This module is an introduction to the English language literature on the history of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). The aim is to acquire a general knowledge of the historiographical developments in the field and to reflect on methodology. Students will reflect on questions that are relevant to their own area of specialization and which they can apply unto their own work.


  • This module focuses on China in the early period of Qing rule (from 1644 to the early nineteenth century before the Opium War, also sometimes known as the “long eighteenth-century”). Each week, students will be asked to read carefully and critically one particular scholarly study. During class discussion, we shall attempt to assess the contribution: what it accomplishes, what sources it uses, and what limitations of method it faces. Some of the themes will include ethnicity, gender, law, foreign relations, state and society, and the history of frontiers. We will, for instance, examine how Qing historians have interpreted the nature of Manchu conquest and expansion in China in the eighteenth century and how the new ethnic approach has and is still changing the outlook of the field. We will, moreover, question how local studies contribute to our understanding of Qing social and political developments and of the relation between state and society.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • students will acquire an overview of historiographical debates amongst Qing historians.
  • students will acquire an advanced understanding of different methodologies in historians’ works, their strengths and limitations.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • subject specific skills for this module can be viewed at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/history.internal/local/PGModuleProformaMap/
Key Skills:
  • key skills for this module can be viewed at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/history.internal/local/PGModuleProformaMap/

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Student learning is facilitated by a range of teaching methods.
  • Seminars and Group Discussion require students to reflect on and discuss: their prior knowledge and experience; set reading of secondary and, where appropriate, primary readings; information provided during the session. They provide a forum in which to assess and comment critically on the findings of others, defend their conclusions in a reasoned setting, and advance their knowledge and understanding of the history of political ideas.
  • Structured reading requires students to focus on set materials integral to the knowledge and understanding of the module. It specifically enables the acquisition of detailed knowledge and skills which will be discussed in other areas of the teaching and learning experience.
  • Assessment is by means of a 5000 word essay which requires the acquisition and application of advanced knowledge and understanding of one of the themes covered in the module. Essays require a sustained and coherent argument in defence of a hypothesis, and must be presented in a clearly written and structured form, and with appropriate apparatus.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 8 weekly 2 hours 16
Discussion groups 2 two per term 2 hours 4
Structured reading and preparation 280

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 5000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

One or more short assignments delivered orally and discussed in a group context.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University