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History   >   China – The Making of Modern China

What is China?

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China – The Making of Modern China

In this course, Professor Kerry Brown (King’s College, London) provides a broad introduction to Chinese history from the 2nd millennium BC to the present day, with a focus on how China became the economic and political powerhouse it has done in the 21st century. In the first module, we think about how we might define ‘China’. Is it the geographical area? The people that live here? The culture? In the following four modules, we turn to four topics related to China in the 20th and 21st century. In the first, we think about why China has a Communist Party (with a focus on China’s relationship with Japan and the West between 1919-49). After that, we think about the figure of Mao Zedong. In the third, we ask how the Chinese economy has grown so dramatically between 1976 and the present day, before turning in the fourth to think about the nature of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. In the sixth module, we return once again to the evolution of the Chinese nation over the past 2,500 years in order to answer the question ‘How long is Chinese history?’

What is China?

In this module, we think about the question ‘What is China?’, focusing in particular on: (i) the unification of China in the 3rd century BC, and the succession of dynasties between then and now; (ii) the changes in the geographical area known as ‘China’ over the last 2,000 years; (iii) the changes in the ethnicity of the Chinese people over the last 2,000 years; (iv) the great antiquity of the Chinese written language; and (v) the mixture of religions and other belief systems in modern China, including Christianity, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Marxism-Leninism.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Brown, K. (2020, November 06). China – The Making of Modern China - What is China? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Brown, K. "China – The Making of Modern China – What is China?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 06 Nov 2020,


Prof. Kerry Brown

Prof. Kerry Brown

King's College London