In this course we will survey the historical factors that have shaped China's emergence as one of the dominant players on the global stage in the twenty-first century. We begin by exploring the history of the last imperial dynasty. Emphasis is placed on the historical diversity of Chinese society. After learning about the combination of domestic and external challenges that undermined the last dynasty and led to the overthrow of the imperial system, we look at the impact of the world wars, the civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists, and the establishment of the People's Republic. The course concludes with a section on the transition to "market socialism" and the legacy of the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations. Our sources include a combination of secondary scholarship by leading experts on Chinese history as well as primary historical and literary sources.