China: Traditions and Transformations

Peter K. Bol, PhD, Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University

William C. Kirby, PhD, T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, and Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor

Modern China presents a dual image: a society transforming itself through economic development and social revolution; and the world’s largest and oldest bureaucratic state, coping with longstanding problems of economic and political management.

Both images bear the indelible imprint of China’s historical experience, of its patterns of philosophy and religion, and of its social and political thought.

In this free Chinese studies online course, these themes are discussed to understand China in the modern world and as a great world civilization that developed along lines different from those of the Mediterranean.

Take the course

This course is offered through edX for free. You can also take the course through Harvard Extension School for credit and apply it towards a degree.

The Chinese studies lecture videos

The recorded lectures are from the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences course Historical Study A-13, which was offered as HIST E-1825, an online course at Harvard Extension School.

Watch the lectures as streaming video or audio. Each lecture is 50 minutes.

Introduction: Traditions and Transformations