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Unit of study_

HSTY2642: Beyond The Great Wall: China's Frontiers

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

The relationship between China and neighbouring peoples such as the Mongols and Tibetans is one of the great themes in Chinese history. This unit explores Chinese ideas about the "barbarian", the relationship between nomadic and sedentary societies, and the influence of trade and migration on culture and religion in China. The unit will look at non-Chinese dynasties such as the Mongol Yuan and the Manchu Qing, and examine the place of the "ethnic minorities" in China's modern transformations.

Unit details and rules

Unit code HSTY2642
Academic unit History
Credit points 6
(12 Junior credit points of History) or (12 Junior credit points of Asian Studies)
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator David Brophy,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Tutorial quiz Quiz
5% - 250wd
Outcomes assessed: LO2
Participation Participation
10% - n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
Assignment Responses to readings
30% Multiple weeks 1500wd
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment Essay abstract and bibliography
10% Week 07
Due date: 16 Oct 2020 at 23:00
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Essay
45% Week 12
Due date: 20 Nov 2020 at 23:00
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Assessment summary

  • Quiz: Study a pre-circulated map of China and fill in blank map
  • Participation: Prepare for, and participate in, weekly tutorial discussions.
  • Essay abstract and bibliography: Write an abstract describing your proposed essay topic and the approach you will take, and compile an annotated biblioraphy. 
  • Essay: Write a 2500 word essay presenting original research in primary sources and engagement with secondary scholarship.
  • Responses to readings: For 3 of the weekly tutorials, write a 500 word response to the readings.

Successful completion of all assessment tasks is required to pass this unit of study. Please refer to the Canvas site for detailed information.

Assessment criteria

Result name Mark range Description
High distinction 85 - 100 Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.
Distinction 75 - 84 Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.
Credit 65 - 74 Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.

50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.
Fail 0 - 49 When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.
Absent fail

0 - 49

When you haven’t completed all assessment tasks or met the attendance requirements.


For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 02 Categories of Chinese and “Barbarian” Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 03 Identity and Difference in the Inter-Imperial Period Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 04 Did the Mongols Change China? Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 05 Islam in China Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 06 The Debate on the “New Qing History” Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 07 Late Qing Reform and Colonialism Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 08 Nationalisms on the Frontier Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 09 The Evolution of CCP Nationalities Policy Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 10 Affirmative Action or Internal Orientalism? Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 11 Human Rights, Counterterrorism, and the Uyghurs Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 12 Towards a “Second-Generation” Ethnic Policy? Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Communicate arguments and ideas in a clear and effective way, both in writing and through oral/visual presentation
  • LO2. Identify, summarise, and analyse the information and perspectives provided by historical sources
  • LO3. Critically engage and respond to a body of existing historical scholarship
  • LO4. Demonstrate an ability to identify and select relevant and intellectually sound resources for historical research
  • LO5. Be able to acquire and evaluate new knowledge through independent research on a prescribed essay topic

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered


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