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Course Review: SW12.7x China Part 7

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Provider: Harvard at EdX [course page]
Lecturer: Peter K. Bol, William C. Kirby + others
Subject: Humanities / History + Politics + Religion
Delivery: intake-based asynchronous study
Recommended Load: 2-4 hrs/week over 5 weeks
Completion Date: 10/10/2014

Description: Part 7 of the ChinaX mini-MOOC series discusses the fall of the Qing Dynasty.

Strengths: This course discusses some of the internal and external factors that led to the end of the Qing Dynasty. Though the rejection of the Manchus as long-time foreign invaders does play some part, we see how the role of foreign trade and religion played a huge part in creating strife in the nation. The Qing are forced, if somewhat unsuccessfully, to combat these elements that have weakened the country from within via the likes of the Opium trade. We also see the dramatic role that religion plays, with 30 million dying due to the Taiping Rebellion. I had heard of the latter as well, but I didn’t know the role that Christian proselytising played in the establishment of a cult that caused deaths of so many. This course leads into part 8 of the series which discusses the contest between various political ideologies that led to a version of Communism gaining control over China.

Weaknesses: I was really beginning to dig those Queues…

Conclusion: This instalment of the ChinaX series filled in some gaps in my knowledge of important moments in Chinese history. The role of religion also mirror, to some degree, the establishment of cults and denominations in the west. It also shows the role that racism can play in destroying a nation from within. I recommend this course to anyone looking to make sense of modern Chinese history and for those curious about what led up to modern events. I also recommend folks also check out the following offerings at EdX: MIT and Harvard collaboration Visualising Japan; and University of Tokyo’s (UTokyo) two-part MOOC series Visualising Post-War Japan.


Author: keikomushi

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