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Home > History home > Prospective students > Undergraduate > The Clash of Powers and Cultures: Sino-American Relations during the Cold War
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The Clash of Powers and Cultures: Sino-American Relations during the Cold War


Value: two units


Dr Chi-kwan Mark


Taught through weekly two-hour seminars and supervisions of dissertation through a series of 1-to-1 meetings


Taught unit: Oral Assessment (10%); Best 2 Essays out of 3 (20%) and 3-hour Exam (70%); dissertation unit: 10,000-word dissertation (100%)

NB: Not to be taken in conjunction with HS2319 The Vietnam War and the Cold War in Southeast Asia

This course examines the ups and downs in Sino-American relations during the Cold War. It looks at how and why Communist China and the United States were transformed from hostile enemies in the 1950s and early 1960s into tacit allies by the late 1970s. Events to be covered include their direct and indirect confrontations over Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam; the role of the Soviet Union in their changing relationship; and their divergent policies towards such issues as Third World revolutions, nuclear weapons, and international trade. At a thematic level, the course will consider how ideology, personalities, domestic considerations, cultural stereotypes, and alliance politics influenced their respective policies and the dynamics of their interactions. Students are expected to approach the subject not only from the American perspective but also from the Chinese one, by exploring both Western and Chinese (translated into English) primary sources, such as diplomatic documents, memoirs, public speeches, newspapers, and political cartoons. By placing Sino-American relations in the wider domestic and international contexts, this course will enhance our understanding of how the two great powers – and two different cultures – shaped, and were shaped by, the global Cold War.




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