Until the 19th century, China was the largest, wealthiest, and most technologically advanced country in the world. But the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were marred by almost continual political and military struggle. But even as imperialist attacks and internal conflict threatened China’s very existence, the Chinese showed great intellectual agility as they searched for solutions to end poverty, inequality, corruption, tyranny, and foreign aggression. China is now returning to its traditional prominence in international politics, economics, technology, and culture. This course examines the political, economic, and cultural transformations of the nineteenth and twentieth century to explain how this all happened and why China is where it is today.