Category Archives: History

Week 12/13: Great Leap Forward & the Cultural Revolution

Unit THREE test will be Wednesday, December 4, 2013.
Final projects:
1. Discussion on The Pauper’s Co-Op from Through Chinese Eyes.
2. Review and return Unit Two Test
3. Introduce Cultural Revolution & Great Leap Forward project.
Recommended reading: Read: China to ease Longtime Policy of 1-Child Limit for Friday. Or there is another similar story at Washington Post. These are both great articles talking about how these decisions being made today connect with China’s recent past.
Ms. Lee will be teaching a lesson the propaganda posters used during the Cultural Revolution.
Wednesday & Thursday
LMC workdays. 
Friday is a classroom workday and current events. You and your group will have time to organize what you’ve found and decide sequencing for the presentation. You’ll also be sifting through some print resources.
Presentations will be Monday and Tuesday of next week. If you are absent for your group’s presentation, you will need to submit a 4 page paper, double-spaced detailing your group’s work with a particular emphasis on your own document.

Great Leap Forward (1958-1961)

Background (Secondary Sources)

  1. Communal living and working
  2. PRC under Mao timeline
  3. China’s Leap Forward to communism (Harvard lecture)
  4. Mao’s Great Famine documentary
  5. Tombstone: The Untold Story of Mao’s Great Famine review
  6. Mao’s Great Leap to Famine
  7. Alternative view to the Great Leap Forward from
  8. Chapters 1, 2, & 4 of this thesis offer an excellent detailed overview of the Leap.
  9. French & Chinese documentary on the Famine within the Great Leap Forward.
  10. Watch excerpt from PBS’s The People’s Century: Great Leap. It is shown in several segments on youtube. It contains information for both groups.
  11. Political Economy and the Great Leap Forward (Mt. Holyoke essay)
  12. People’s Century: Communism and the Great Leap Forward from China in Revolution: Great Leap Forward, 1958

Primary Sources

  1. Dali Lang’s account of the Great Leap Forward
  2. Propaganda Posters created
  3. Intellectual opinions from the Hundred Flowers Period
  4. How China Proceeds with the task of Industrialization
  5. The Question of Agricultural Cooperation
  6. Formerly top-secret US CIA document from 1960 explaining the Great Leap Forward
  7. More Chinese propaganda posters

Cultural Revolution (1966-1976)

Background  (Secondary Sources)
  1. Watch Overview of the Cultural Revolution (What was the role of youth?)
  2. PRC under Mao timeline
  3. Groups helping implement the Cultural Revolution: Group of 5 and the Cultural Revolution Group
  4. Read Mao and Me
  5. Morning Sun video from Harvard
  6. Cultural Revolution (BBC)
  7. University of Washington: Cultural Revolution
  8. Voices of the Cultural Revolution (those who supported it…)
  9. Watch excerpt from PBS’s The People’s Century: Great Leap. It is shown in several segments on youtube. It contains information for both groups.
  10. Introduction to the Cultural Revolution.
  11. Contemporary Reference:
    1. How Mao became a Hipster Icon
    2. In China, Feudal Answers for Modern Problems

Primary Sources

  1. Sixteen Points: Guidelines for the Great Proletariat revolution
  2. Morning Sun web resource with extensive primary sources
  3. Long Live the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (Peking Review, 1966)
  4. Student Attacks Against Teachers: The Revolution of 1966 (interviews from those who were in the Revolution)
  5. More Chinese propaganda posters
  6.  “The East is Red” is the melody is from an old North China folk song and the lyrics were attributed to a farmer, Li Youyuan. It was the de facto National Anthem during the Cultural Revolution.


Mao’s Legacy? Merry Mao-Mas!

Tibetan Book collection dodges the Cultural Revolution


Week 11: Mao’s PRC


1. Interview with woman with bound feet.

2. Discussion on Wild Swans. 

3. Listen to interview with the author of Wild Swans.


1. Painful Reminders of China’s Footbinding Survivors (

2. Lecture on the Confucian traditions involving women.

3. Tuesday Tunes. “The East is Red” is the song for Tuesday Tunes this week. The melody is from an old North China folk song and the lyrics were attributed to a farmer, Li Youyuan. It was the de facto National Anthem during the Cultural Revolution and was played over PA systems in every town and village at dawn and dusk. Students were required to sing the song in unison at the beginning of every school day. The official anthem, “The March of the Volunteers” was forbidden during the Cultural Revolution because its author, Tian Han, was imprisoned.

After Mao’s death and the rise of Deng Xiaoping, the song was rarely heard and is still seen as a embarrassing reminder of Mao’s cult of personality and of the Cultural Revolution.
The translated lyrics:
The east is red, the sun rises.
From China arises Mao Zedong.
He strives for the people’s happiness,
Hurrah, he is the people’s great savior!
(Repeat last two lines)Chairman Mao loves the people.
He is our guide
to building a new China
Hurrah, lead us forward!
(Repeat last two lines)The Communist Party is like the sun,
Wherever it shines, it is bright.
Wherever the Communist Party is,
Hurrah, there the people are liberated!
(Repeat last two lines)
1. Read Mao and Me.
2. Significant aspects of Mao’s reign. Review the timeline from the slides.
3. French & Chinese documentary on the Famine within the Great Leap Forward.
Begin The Mao Years from China in Revolution
2. Creating Mao’s propaganda posters.
No School

Week 10: China in Revolution

1. Current Events
2. Discussion on the New Culture Movement (Yi’s presentation/notes)

Tuesday & Wednesday:
Tuesday Tunes:  For Tuesday tunes this week we will listen to the National Anthem of The Republic of China. The text was written by several Kuomintang members and debuted on July 16, 1924 as the opening of a speech by Sun Yat-sen. After the success of the Northern Expedition, it became the Kuomingtang party anthem and the music was added by Ch’eng Mao-yun, who won a contest to compose the piece. It became the national anthem in 1943 and continues to be the national anthem of Taiwan.



China in Revolution. We’ll be finishing a documentary that traces the rise, unification between, and divergence of the Nationalist and Communist parties in China. We’ll be using the DVD of the film but it is available in segments on youtube here. Be thinking about these questions as you watch: b. How and why do the Communists rise to power rather than the Nationalists?
c. How do world events interfere with the Chinese civil war?


Field trip to UW Madison Bridge Symposium including a trip to the design gallery.

1. Debrief field trip.
2. Equality in Republican China-a look at gender relations during the civil war.

Week 8: After the Qing Dynasty Falls

Monday 10/21

1. Class Sort on the Chinese Reformers

2. Unit Two test will be on Tuesday, October 29, 2013. It will address the following three questions. You may bring in a ONE-SIDED 3×5 card with you in to the exam.

a. In chronological order trace the major social, scientific, and economic events of 5 Chinese dynasties, (excluding the Qing.) Discuss how their rise and falls were similar or different.

b. Discuss in detail 3 significant turning points that ultimately lead to the decline of the Qing dynasty. You must include and underline TWO quotes from readings done in class.

c. Discuss 3 reformers’ perspectives on what path China should take at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. You must include and underline TWO quotes from readings done in class.

Tuesday 10/22

1. Group research on assigned reformer:

Wednesday 10/23

1. Small group discussions on reformers

2. “Reverse Sort”

3. Current Events: 3-Eleanor, Vinoth, Anahi & Kelsey; 4-Jesse, Chris G.

Study for test on Tuesday 10/29

Week 7: Self Strengthening & The Fall of the Qing


1. Current Events.
2. Timeline processing: Innovations & Events
3. Uighurs in China Say Bias is Growing (
4. Review Kudos form for Unit Two.


1. Tuesday Tunes. MC Jin is a Chinese-American rapper born in Miami in 1982 in a household where the primary language was the Chinese dialect, Cantonese. He started out rapping primarily in English and the first Asian-American rapper to release an album on a major US record label.  When his career stalled, he released an album in Cantonese, “ABC”, which means “American-born Chinese”. This album led to him becoming a household name in Hong Kong.

2. Opium Wars role play.


The Kowtow Question discussion.


Beyond the First Opium War…the decline of the Qing.

Start here with an overview of the Qing’s decline  and/or China’s Qing Dynasty then go into specific research on your assigned issue.

  1. Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864) & Nien Rebellion (1851-1868)
    1. Taiping Economic Reforms
  2. Second Opium War (1856-1860)
    1. Treaties of Tientsin/Tianjin (1858)
    2. Frederick Bruce
    3. Dagu Forts
  3. Relations with Russia (1860)
    1. Lin Zexu and Wei Yuan “barbarians fight barbarians”
    2. Treaty of Aigun
  4. First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and here is another from Princeton U.
    1. Russo-Japanese war (1904-1905)
  5. Self-strengthening movement (1861-1895) & the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901)

Other terms to search: century of humiliation, decline of the Qing dynasty

Timeline of Modern China (for reference)


1. Current Events.

2. Finish processing From Preeminence to Decline

  • First Opium War/Treaty of Nanjing
  • Protestants in China
  • Taiping Rebellion
  • Sino-Japanese War
  • Boxer Rebellion
  • Russo-Japanese War

Related Sources:

Is China Ripe for a Revolution? ( remembering the Taiping Rebellion)

Week 6: Meet the Barbarians…


1. Discussion on the Singularity of China reading.
2. Vogue Dynasties

: Game day!

1. Thematic review of timeline:

a. trade and relations with foreigners
b. innovations

2. Semester reflection.

3. How did the Qing officials act? How does that compare to present day officials’ behavior?

Developmental Guidance.
Watch Engineering an Empire: China from the History Channel, 2010. Complete the viewing guide while watching.
1. Read and discuss The Kowtow Question and the Opium War. (in class) What about the use of the term “Oriental?”  Definition: of, from, or characteristic of East Asia.
2. Current events presentations.

Extra Resources

This week for Tuesday Tunes we are doing Jingju or Peking Opera. This is a theatrical tradition that goes back to the 18th century though its heyday was the 19th century. Jingju is known for its elaborate costumes and sparse stages. Often the stage setting consists of nothing more than a couple of chairs and a table. In the 18th and 19th centuries, acting troupes would travel from town to town performing thus basic stage settings were simply a matter of logistics.
The actors used four basic means of expression in Jingju: Speech, Singing, Acting and Fighting. Actors were admired not just for their speaking and sing but also for the beauty and grace in their movements. Characters typically belonged to four archetypes: Sheng (Man), Dan (women),Jing (painted face), and Chou (clown). Each archetypal role would have its specialty, such as the Dan, who would typically specialize in singing and acting with little emphasis on acrobatics.
Jingju changed during the Cultural Revolution. Mao deemed most operas subversive and wanted more working-class stories. He designated 8 operas as “Model Operas” and only these 8 operas were performed until the 1980s.

Week 5 Dynastic & Early History


1. Guidance Presentation (10 minutes)

2. Current Events from last Friday.

3. What are the basics of each of the major Chinese dynasties? Watch Crash Course: Dynasties.

HomeworkText mark-up on The Singularity of China due Monday, 10/7. Discussion based on the reading for Monday.


1. What is the Mandate of HeavenWhat is the Dynastic Cycle?

2. Create dynasty work groups. Look through textbooks to gather background information.

How do China’s dynastic periods compared to the events you learned last year in Western Civ? You and your partner(s) will be researching one of the major Chinese dynasties, and its corresponding time period in Western Civ. You’ll be identifying, among other things, a connection you can make to your dynasty and today. Each pair will be responsible for one part of the two-tiered class timeline.

Wednesday & Thursday (meet in LMC)

  1. Nation’s Online (really basic on most of the dynasties)
  2. Wikipedia’s entry on dynasties
  3. Columbia University’s Asia for Educators timeline and Primary Source listing
  4. Minneapolis Institute of Arts annotated timeline
  5. (be sure to check out the drop-down menu for each of the dynasties…)
  6. University of Washington timeline
  7. Travel China (a visually attractive, but detail-limited, timeline)

Information should be gathered, compiled, and organized during class these two days. As well, you should begin to narrow down and identify the best way to display the most important information onto the class timeline.

Here is the timeline template to use for organizing your data.

HomeworkText mark-up on The Singularity of China due Monday. Discussion based on the reading for Monday 10/7.

In case you have an extra moment..have a listen!

This week for Tunes, we’re going to listen to Jiangnan Sizhu, which  translates to “silk and bamboo music”. The name is due to its instrumentation consisting of stringed instruments (the strings were traditionally silk) and bamboo flutes. Traditional Chinese instruments are classified into 8 sound systems by the material from which the instruments are fashioned. This classification system is called Bayin. The 8 categories are: Stone(chimes), Earth(clay ocarinas), Skin(drums), Wood(clappers), Bamboo(flutes), Silk(strings), Metal(bells), and Gourd(hollowed out to create a mouth organ similar to a harmonica).
Jiangnan Sizhu is the tea house music of Southern China, specifically the Shanghai area. It was traditionally played by professional musicians at weddings and local operas but from the 20th century on, it was primarily played by amateurs, much like Irish Folk music at pubs.


1.  Finishing touches on the timeline and gallery walk.

2. Current Events