What you'll learn

  • How the rise of the Chinese Communist Party came about.

  • What changed under the People’s Republic under Mao Zedong.

  • What China’s reopening and reform in the 1970s meant for the country.

  • About the cultural, intellectual, political, economic changes in this period.

Course description

How did the Communists conquer China? What role does culture play? What are the successes and failures of the Chinese Communist Party after seizing power in 1949? What constitutes liberation?

This course will help you answer these important questions as you explore the profound cultural, intellectual, political and economic changes of this period. You’ll learn how Communist China fits in with a larger socialist world order and how historical interpretations of this period reinforce or challenge the official narrative in China today.

Join us to develop your own approach and gain a critical understanding of the rise of the Communist Party, Sino-Soviet relations, the Cultural Revolution, and, ultimately, the reopening of China.


Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University

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