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HIST3252 China in the Cold War – Part 2 (Themes)

Module Overview

After having explored the political chronology of China’s role in the Cold War in the first semester, we will turn to central themes in the second semester. Among the topics we will talk about are China’s policies regarding the atomic bomb and the arms race; its quest for a leadership role in what Mao Zedong called the ‘Third World’ and how this affects China-Africa relations today; the impact of the Cold War on Chinese literature, on foreigners living in China and on foreign academic perceptions of China. We will also discuss theoretical frameworks that we should consider when approaching the topic of the Cold War in China.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To demonstrate general knowledge and understanding of important themes pertaining to China’s role in the Cold War. To analyse China's role in the nuclear arms race. To discuss the role youth and cultural exchange played for China. To explore the role of literature in China's relationship to other Eastern Bloc countries.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Discuss themes related to Chinese foreign politics in the Cold War period
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analyse relevant primary sources
  • Apply theories of the Cold War to the study of China’s role in it
  • Discuss important cultural and political aspects of the Cold War in their global dimensions
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Communicate arguments effectively in writing.


Topics to be covered may typically include: The atomic bomb Youth exchange Maoism abroad Literature and literary prizes in the Eastern Bloc

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Two weekly, two-hour seminars Student-led presentations on primary sources Individual essay tutorials

Independent Study252
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Major and Mitter, eds., Across the Blocs: Cold War Cultural and Social History (London: Frank Cass, 2004).. 

Cook, Mao’s Little Red Book: A Global History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014).. 

(2000). New Bottles for New Wine: A Pericentric Framework for the Study of the Cold War. Diplomatic History. ,24 , pp. 567–91.

(2017). The Case of Youth Exchanges and Interactions Between the PRC and Italy in the 1950s. Modern Asian Studies. ,51 , pp. 194–226.



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 50%
Exam  (3 hours) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 50%
Exam  (3 hours) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 50%
Exam  (3 hours) 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules


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