Teachers’ Guide with Study Questions: China and Europe, 1500-2000


Bram Hubbell, The Friends Seminary, Brooklyn, New York


What do We Mean by "Modern"?
Rethinking the Industrial Revolution
(AP World History: 1450-1750 and 1750-1914 units)
China and Europe: the New Units of Analysis
China and Europe: 1500-1800
(AP World History: 1450-1750 unit)
China and Europe: 1780-1937
(AP World History: 1450-1750 and 1750-1914 units)
China Achieves a Modern State
(AP World History: 1914- present unit)
Conclusion: Issues for the 21st Century
Lesson Plan(PDF)

China and Europe, 1500-2000 and Beyond: What is "Modern"?

Teachers’ Guide with Study Questions: China and Europe, 1500-2000


Rethinking the rise of the West: The Great Divergence Debate

Rethinking the rise of the West: Global Commodities

Standards of Modernity – China and Europe

Parallels in England and the Yangzi Basin of China in the 1800s

What do we mean by "Modern"


In the second section Kenneth Pomeranz and Bin Wong focus on the concept of modernity. They begin by looking at the traditional European notion of modernity that emerged in the nineteenth century and its consequences for our understanding of the modern world.

Key Terms/Vocabulary

local culture
national culture
social welfare

Study Questions

  1. What is the traditional definition of modern; on what is it based?
  2. How does the development of a civil-service bureaucracy in China around 1000 affect our understanding of modernity?
  3. How does this traditional definition of "modern" affect the definition of "not modern"? How does it affect the traditional explanation of how places outside of Europe became modern?
  4. How do Pomeranz and Wong use the congruence of politics and culture in nineteenth century Europe as an example of conjunction? How does the use of thinking in terms of conjunction give us more flexibility in our definition of what it means to be modern?
  5. What has been the conventional way of interpreting the changes in nineteenth and twentieth century East Asia?
  6. What developments associated with modernity occurred in China before Europe? What is the importance of this?

Discussion Questions

  1. How does a non-European based notion of modernity affect our understanding of the world around us today?