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China's Two Social Revolutions (ASIA90014)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeASIA90014
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject presents an overview of the patterns of social life in China and how these have changed since the revolution in 1949. The socialist transformations led by Mao Zedong after 1949 (the first social revolution) and the market and other reforms led by Deng Xiaoping after 1978 (the second) receive equal emphasis. Topics covered include political institutions, economic policies and work organizations, rural social life, urban life and urbanization, religion, family life, population, gender relations, schooling, and inequality patterns.

The course will be taught by Martin Whyte, a sociologist from Harvard University and Asia Scholar at the University of Melbourne who specializes in research on social change in post-1949 China. Prof. Whyte’s lectures will focus on both the origins and dynamics of social change in China as well as current issues and debates spawned by these changes.

Intended learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this subject should:

  • Gain an understanding of the origins of social change in contemporary China
  • Gain an understanding of social issues that arise from China’s rapid transition from a planned to a market economy and debates surrounding social change in China
  • Have an ability to apply research skills and critical methods to an enquiry
  • Develop skills in historical comparison through detailed consideration of how Chinese social life before the revolution, under socialism, and after market reforms compares and contrasts with social patterns in Western societies
  • Gain an ability to evaluate information from print and online media covering contemporary China.

Generic skills

Students who successfully complete this subject should be able to:

  • apply research skills and critical methods to a field of enquiry
  • demonstrate an ability to develop arguments and ideas effectively through seminar discussions
  • apply their analytical skills to conflicting online and historical material
  • show improvement in their writing skills through the final term paper.

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



  • Short research proposal paper of 1000 words on a specific research question, 35%, due Week 5.
  • A long term paper of 4000 words summarizing the findings and conclusions from the research on the specific question posed on the first paper, 65%, due during the examination period.
  • Hurdle requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 80% of classes in order to pass this subject and regular class participation is expected.

Dates & times

  • March
    Principal coordinatorMartin Whyte
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours24 contact hours: A 3 hour seminar per week taught over 8 weeks.
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period 6 March 2019 to 1 May 2019
    Last self-enrol date18 March 2019
    Census date29 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail17 May 2019
    Assessment period ends28 June 2019

    March contact information

Time commitment details

170 Hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Required and supplementary readings will be made available online through the LMS website for the subject.

  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

    Additional information for this subject

    Subject coordinator approval required

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 11 November 2018