Centre for Continuing Education

Enchanting and Mysterious China Course

History. See the future. It’s in the past.

The world as we know it today has been shaped by events of the past. Learn about history the smart way with History courses at the University of Sydney.

China and the mysterious Far East. The “far shores of Cathay” have fascinated the West for centuries. With a culture dating back five thousand years and a population of 1.3 billion people, China is increasingly making its presence felt in our daily lives. It is now a popular destination for travellers.

In this history course we will look at the historical, philosophical and practical factors that have shaped the world’s largest nation. We will embark upon four Chinese Journeys which will give participants a feel for what it is like to travel in China today.


At the completion of this history course participants should have a greater appreciation of Chinese culture and customs which will enhance their experience of any visit to China.



  • The Five Elements.
  • Indigenous beliefs, Qi.
  • Yin and Yang.
  • Feng Shui.
  • Discovery of Silk.
  • Early inventions.
  • The Dao.
  • Chinese Medicine.
  • Confucius.
  • The Dragon and Phoenix.
  • Tai Chi.
  • China Journey – Yangtze River.

Wood and Fire

  • The Art of War.
  • Qin Dynasty – Middle Kingdom.
  • Xi’an, Jade Emperor.
  • Terra Cotta Warriors.
  • Buddhism.
  • Han Dynasty, Han faces.
  • Tang Dynasty, 5 happinesses.
  • Silk road.
  • Journey to the West.
  • Chop sticks, rice, food.
  • Guilin, Li River, Longsheng.
  • Chengdu, pandas.
  • China’s population, Leshan Buddha.
  • I Ching.
  • China Journey: The Great Wall.


  • Yuan Dynasty.
  • Marco Polo, Hangzhou.
  • Ming Dynasty.
  • Jesuits in China.
  • Qing Dynasty.
  • Kunming, Western Hill.
  • Minorities, footbinding.
  • Stone Forest.
  • Foot massage, tea.
  • Dazu Cave sculptures.
  • Chinese zodiac.
  • Beijing.
  • China Journey: The Forbidden City.
  • Tiananmen Square Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs.


  • Opium Wars.
  • Taiping and Boxer Rebellions.
  • Republic of China.
  • People’s Republic of China.
  • Shanghai, wealth, trading.
  • Pearls, China quiz.
  • Irrigation Project.
  • Buddhist Temple.
  • Chinese Names and Faces.
  • Olympic Games.
  • China Journey: Suzhou Canals.

Course delivery

This Enchanting and Mysterious China course will be lecture based with group discussion

Course reading

The following are recommended, but not required:

  • The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck, Methuen 1931
  • The Three Daughters of Madame Liang, Pearl S. Buck, Methuen 1969
  • China – Eyewitness Travel Guide, Editors, Dorling Kingsley 2005
  • China – Renaissance of the Middle Kingdom, Chan, Art & Mooney, Odyssey Books 2006
  • Things Chinese , Du Feibao & Du Bai, China Travel&Tourism Press 2003
  • Imperial China (221 BC – 1294 AD), Hazel Mary Martell, Evans Brothers Limited 1998
  • China’s Tang Dynasty, Heather Millar, Marshall Cavendish 1996
  • Legacies – a Chinese Mosaic, Bette Bao Lord, Chapmans 1990
  • The Tao of Power, Lao Tzu – R. L. Wing, 1986
  • Mao’s Last Dancer, Li Cunxin
  • Wild Swans, Jung Chang
  • River Town, Peter Hessler
  • The River at the Centre of the World, Simon Winchester
  • Yangtze! Yangtze!, Dai Qing
  • The River Dragon has Come, Dai Qing
  • Video: Nanking
  • Video: Hero
  • Video: 55 Days at Peking
  • Video: The Last Emperor, Mark Peploe and Bernardo Bertolucci, 1987
  • Principles of Feng Shui, Simon Brown, Thorsons 1996
  • Feng Shui Made Easy, William Spear, Thorsons 1995
  • China World Library, Loren Fessler, Time-Life 1965
  • 1421 – The Year China Discovered America, Gavin Menzies, William Morrow 2003
  • China – the Culture, A Bobbie Kalman Book, Crabtree Publishing 2001
  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Modern China, Whitcomb and Benson 2003


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion

What others say.

  • Thoroughly enjoyed the content of the course. The tutor was excellent and despite being a full day course, maintained my interest from start to finish.