ASIA 417
The Treaty System and Treaty Ports of China, 1840-1945 Fall 2023
Division II
Cross-listed HIST 417
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

China in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was not colonized by a single Western power; instead several Western powers (and later Japan) exercised domination over China through a system of “unequal treaties” that granted them special privileges within Chinese territory. The years (1842-1943) in which these treaties were in effect is often called “The Century of Humiliation” by contemporary Chinese nationalists: a period of weakness that the rising Chinese nation still strives to overcome. The system imposed by these nineteenth century treaties, however, was a complex amalgam of legal, commercial, and residence privileges for foreigners in China that played a significant role in shaping the modern nation. One the most recognizable features of this system was the treaty port–an urban center designated as open to foreign residence, trade, and shipping. Extending from an initial five open ports to nearly fifty by the turn of the century, these ports became commercial and industrial centers that connected China to the global economy and created novel spaces of culture, labor, society, and politics. In this research seminar, we will use of several recent online collections of English-language primary source material to investigate the role of the treaty system and the treaty ports in modern Chinese history. The seminar will begin with an exploration of the historiography of the treaty system and “foreign presence” and culminate in an original research paper on a related topic of each student’s choice. Throughout, we will work on general and specific research methods.
The Class: Format: seminar; This is a research seminar. Our goal will be to produce a 20-30 page original research paper by the end of the semester. In addition to discussion of readings, considerable time in class will be spend on research methods.
Limit: 20
Expected: 10
Class#: 1912
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Active participation in class discussion and activities; several short papers (5-7 pages) leading to a final research paper (20-30 pages)
Prerequisites: no prerequisites
Enrollment Preferences: Senior History majors, History majors, Asian Studies concentrators
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
HIST 417 Division II ASIA 417 Division II
Attributes: HIST Group B Electives - Asia

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