The Empress Cixi at around age 70 in a 1905 portrait by artist Hubert Vo.
You have been commissioned to produce an online exhibit about the Empress Dowager’s emphasis on moderate reform in the years between 1861-1898 (that is, between the beginning of the Tongzhi emperor’s reign and the quashing of the Hundred Days’ Reforms). As a renowned team of historians of modern China, you have been given a free hand to shape the narrative and contents of your exhibit.
Discussion stage questions (collaborative):
Execution process (team competition):
“The Qing empire” in Patricia Buckley Ebrey, The Cambridge Illustrated History of China, 2nd ed (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 223.
Consider the following passage written by Feng Guifen:
Books on mathematics, mechanics, optics, light, chemistry, and others all contain the ultimate principles of understanding things. Most of this information is unavailable to people in China. . . . I have heard that with their new methods the Westerners have found that the movements of the earth conform closely to those of the heavens. This can be of assistance in fixing the calendar. . . . I have heard that the Westerners’ method of clearing sand from harbors is very effective. . . . This can be of assistance to keep the water flowing. Also, for agricultural and sericultural tools, and things required for the various crafts, they mostly use mechanical wheels, which require little energy but accomplish much. . . . There are many intelligent people in China. Surely there are some who, having learned from the barbarians, can surpass them. . . .
Questions for discussion:
Remains of the Western palace structures (Xiyang lou 西洋楼) built in the eighteenth century with help of Jesuits Giuseppe Castiglione and Michel Benoist. Photo by Mr. Hall, February 2011.
Review Check for Understanding
Visual source analysis
Two young visitors to the Opium War Museum in Dongguan, Guangdong. Source: City Weekend.
Quick reflection on reading strategy:
Summary of events:
Sticky note exercise:
Views on opium
Exercise: “Who is responsible?”
Essential question: Imperialism
Analyzing Visual Sources
Examine the exchange
Xi Jinping visits the "The Road Toward Renewal" exhibition along with other members of the Chinese Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee, November 2012. Source: China.org.cn.
Check for understanding
Last class, we mentioned that we have a few themes we hope to tackle for the course. Today we are going to focus in mainly on China’s “fall and rise” by engaging with the two authors of the book, Orville Schell and John Delury.
To start, let’s take a closer look at profiles of the two authors:
As you look at these profiles, consider:
Each team will work with one of the following key terms identified in the passage from last night. Your goal is to understand what the term means in the context of contemporary China. As you browse through online search results, consider:
Homework: Assignment #102.
A few things to know:
Three goals together:
"How China sees the world" (Source: The Economist, March 2009).
Here are a few fun facts I can offer to answer the question:
Narrative of China’s modern history:
I was asked once to explain all of modern Chinese history—in an hour or less. I’d like to give you a truncated version to start out class and maybe enlist your help along the way.
My talk centered on a diagram: