China Studies in Beijing


China Studies in Beijing

Fall quarter program at the Stanford Center at Peking University
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During the fall quarter of 2019, Stanford Sociology Professor Andrew Walder jointly with Prof. Yan Fei of Tsinghua University will offer a weekly seminar titled “Stanford-Tsinghua Seminar on Methods of Historical Social Science” at SCPKU.

The seminar admit up to 10 students from Tsinghua and Beida, to be selected by Yan Fei. The seminar will be open to any Stanford student in residence at the Center during this period.  Faculty from local universities will be invited to attend on an irregular basis.



This course is intended for Co-term, Master's or Ph.D. level students in Political Science, Sociology, History, and related fields, who are contemplating social science research on non-contemporary topics, especially if they are interested in research on China. The course focuses on methods of research, in particular, how to identify and exploit archival and published sources in a systematic fashion. Particular emphasis will be placed on methods of translating qualitative documentary materials into quantitative datasets or other digital formats. The course will begin with reading selected exemplary publications in the field, most of which are about political conflict in the United States and Europe, and then moves to consider recent efforts to apply these methods to China. We will review the range of Chinese sources that have been used in recent research projects, and others that might be potentially exploitable. Students will then be asked to develop a research proposal that identifies a topic, a potentially exploitable source of historical data, and a plan for research.

Method of Instruction

The course will primarily be conducted as a graduate seminar, with the instructor giving a brief presentation at the beginning of each section, and then leading a group discussion. In order to cover a large number of readings in a short period of time, individual students will be assigned readings in addition to those required for all, and make brief presentations that address issues relevant to the methodology of the research. Students will be expected to identify a topic and a source of relevant data by the end of the second week. During the third week, students will make presentations of their research proposals in progress, at which point they will receive comments from the instructor and other participants.

Faculty members from local universities who are working on relevant historical topics, along with graduate students who are members of their research teams, will also participate in the class and share their experiences and methods.

Learning Goals

The goal is to familiarize students with certain kinds of social science methodology that have been employed in studying a wide variety of historical topics, and take the first steps in mastering them and applying them in the Chinese context.

Schedule of Topics and Readings

Session 1 (Saturday, September 14). The “Cliometric Revolution”

  • Charles Tilly and Lynn H. Lees. 1975. “The People of June, 1848.” Pp. 170-209 in Roger Price, ed., Revolution and Reaction: 1848 and the Second French Republic. London: Croom Helm.
  • Edward Shorter and Charles Tilly. 1971. “The Shape of Strikes in France, 1830-1960.”  Comparative Studies in Society and History 13, 1: 60-86.
  • Abdul Qaiyum Lodhi and Charles Tilly. 1973. “Urbanization, Crime, and Collective Violence in 19th-Century France.” American Journal of Sociology 79, 2: 296-318.
  • David Snyder and Charles Tilly. 1972. “Hardship and Collective Violence in France, 1830 to 1960.” American Sociological Review 37, 5: 520-532.

Session 2 (Saturday, September 21). Chinese Dynastic Rebellion: Ming and Qing

  • James Tong. 1988. “Rational Outlaws: Rebels and Bandits in the Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644.” Pp 98-128 in Michael Taylor, ed., Rationality and Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Ho-fung Hung. 2009. “Cultural Strategies and the Political Economy of Protest in Mid-Qing China, 1740-1839.” Social Science History 33, 1: 75-115.

Session 3 (Saturday, October 12). Models of Social Diffusion

  • Carol Conell and Samuel Cohn. 1995. “Learning from Other People's Actions: Environmental Variation and Diffusion in French Coal Mining Strikes, 1890-1935.” American Journal of Sociology 101, 2: 366-403.
  • David Cunningham and Benjamin T. Philips. 2007. “Contexts for Mobilization: Spatial Settings and Klan Presence in North Carolina, 1964–1966.” American Journal of Sociology 113, 3: 781-814.
  • Stewart E. Tolnay, Glenn Deane, and E. M. Beck. 1996. “Vicarious Violence: Spatial Effects on Southern Lynchings, 1890-1919.” American Journal of Sociology 102, 3: 788-815.

Session 4 (Saturday, October 19). Sequential Analysis/Process Tracing

  • Mark Traugott. 1980. “Determinants of Political Orientation: Class and Organization in the Parisian Insurrection of June 1848.” American Journal of Sociology 86, 1: 32-49.
  • Yan, Fei. 2015. “Rival rebels: The political origins of Guangzhou’s mass factions in 1967.” Modern China 41, 2: 168–196.
  • Andrew G. Walder. 2006. “Ambiguity and Choice in Political Movements: The Origins of Beijing Red Guard Factionalism.” American Journal of Sociology 112, 3: 710-750.

Session 5 (Saturday, October 28). Econometric Modeling

  • Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, and James A. Robinson. 2001. “The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation.” American Economic Review 91,5: 1369-1401.
  • Daron Acemoglu, Tarek A. Hassan, and James A. Robinson. 2011. “Social Structure and Development: The Legacy of the Holocaust in Russia.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 126: 895-946.

Session 6 (Saturday, November 2). Network Analysis

  • Roger V. Gould. 1993. “Trade Cohesion, Class Unity, and Urban Insurrection: Artisanal Activism in the Paris Commune.” American Journal of Sociology, 98, 4: 721-754.
  • Roger V. Gould. 1996. “Patron-Client Ties, State Centralization, and the Whiskey Rebellion.” American Journal of Sociology 102, 2: 400-429.
  • Roger V. Gould. 2000. “Revenge as Sanction and Solidarity Display: An Analysis of Vendettas in Nineteenth-Century Corsica.” American Sociological Review 65, 5: 682-704.

Session 7 (Saturday, November 23). Conversion and Recruitment

  • Sun, Yanfei. 2017. "The Rise of Protestantism in Post-Mao China: State and Religion in Historical Perspective." American Journal of Sociology 122, 6: 1664–1725.
  • Xu, Xiaohong. 2013. “Belonging Before Believing: Group Ethos and Bloc Recruitment in the Making of Chinese Communism.” American Sociological Review, 78, 5: 773–796.

Session 8 (Saturday, November 30). Chinese Local Annals

  • Tanigawa, Shinichi. 2017. “The Policy of the Military “Supporting the Left” and the Spread of Factional Warfare in China’s Countryside: Shaanxi, 1967–1968.” Modern China, published online.
  • Andrew G. Walder, “Rebellion and Repression in China, 1966-1971.” Social Science History 38, 3/4 (Fall/Winter 2014), 513-539.
  • Andrew G. Walder and Qinglian Lu. 2017. “The Dynamics of Collapse in an Authoritarian Regime: China in 1967.” American Journal of Sociology 122, 4: 1144-1182.

Additional Sources for Further readings:

  • Daron Acemoglu, Davide Cantoni, Simon Johnson, and James A. Robinson. 2011. “The Consequences of Radical Reform: The French Revolution.” American Economic Review 101 (December): 3206-3387.
  • Michael Biggs. 2005. “Strikes as Forest Fires: Chicago and Paris in the Late Nineteenth Century.” American Journal of Sociology 110, 6: 1684-1714.
  • William Brustein. 1991. “The "Red Menace" and the Rise of Italian Fascism.” American Sociological Review 56, 5: 652-664.
  • William Brustein. 1988. “The Political Geography of Belgian Fascism: The Case of Rexism.”  American Sociological Review 53, 1: 69-80.
  • A. R. Gillis. 1989. “Crime and State Surveillance in Nineteenth-Century France.” American Journal of Sociology 95, 2: 307-341.Roger V. Gould. 1991.
  • “Multiple Networks and Mobilization in the Paris Commune, 1871.”  American Sociological Review 56 (December): 716-729.
  • Roger V. Gould. 2000. “Revenge as Sanction and Solidarity Display: An Analysis of Vendettas in Nineteenth-Century Corsica.” American Sociological Review 65, 5: 682-704.
  • Henning Hillmann. 2008. “Mediation in Multiple Networks: Elite Mobilization before the English Civil War.” American Sociological Review 73, 3: 426-454.
  • Henning Hillmann. 2008. “Localism and the Limits of Political Brokerage: Evidence from Revolutionary Vermont.” American Journal of Sociology 114, 2: 287-331.
  • Kane, Danielle, and June Mee Park. “The Puzzle ofKorean Christianity: Geopolitical Networks and Religious Conversion in Early Twentieth-Century East Asia.” American Journal of Sociology 115, 2: 365-404.
  • Hyojoung Kim and Steven Pfaff. 2012. “Structure and Dynamics of Religious Insurgency: Students and the Spread of the Reformation.” American Sociological Review 77, 2: 188- 215.
  • John Markoff. 1986. “Literacy and Revolt: Some Empirical Notes on 1789 in France.” American Journal of Sociology 92, 2: 323-349.
  • John Markoff and Gilbert Shapiro. 1985. “Consensus and Conflict at the Onset of Revolution: A Quantitative Study of France in 1789.” American Journal of Sociology 91, 1: 28-53.
  • John Markoff. 1997. “Peasants Help Destroy an Old Regime and Defy a New One: Some Lessons from (and for) the Study of Social Movements.” American Journal of Sociology 102, 4: 1113-114.
  • David Snyder and William R. Kelly. 1976. “Industrial Violence in Italy, 1878-1903.” American Journal of Sociology 82, 1: 131-162.
  • Arthur L. Stinchcombe. 1994. “Freedom and Oppression of Slaves in the Eighteenth-Century Caribbean.” American Sociological Review 59, 6: 911-929.


For more information, please contact SCPKU Program Manager, Leigh Wang.

Stanford Center at Peking University

The Stanford Center at Peking University (SCPKU) is located in Beijing's dynamic Haidian District on the Peking University campus. SCPKU brings academic and educational connections together between established scholars and young researchers from the U.S. to East Asia in order to foster a vibrant network of intellectual exchange and collaboration.

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China Studies in Beijing 2018

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