Standards of Modernity – China and Europe


Kelly R. Donoghue, Harbor School, Boston, Massachusetts


Student Activity
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


In this lesson, students will examine and analyze various technologies and ideas associated with "modernity" by the 19th century. Upon careful review and comparison of European and Chinese factors- students will engage in a debate regarding the following guiding question:

"What, by the 19th century, constituted modernity, and how do Europe and China compare in their fulfillment of that standard?"

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

Grade Level and Time Required

Grades 9-12; two class periods, with homework assignments