course
History of Modern China II

Apr 2018

Professor Hamilton is the best, 10/10 would recommend. He preps his lectures in advance which makes them really engaging and crucial to your learning. I felt like my time spent in class was valuable. He really cares about his students, and if you reach out for help outside of class (related or unrelated to the course) he will do everything he can to help out. If you are interested in Modern Chinese History and are willing to put in the time, definitely take this course.

Dec 2014

Fantastic professor who bothered to learn everybody's name, which is rare in a lecture setting. Lectures were well organised and informative. The first third of the class overlaps with History of Modern China I, but unlike the other class, there is greater focus on reading primary and secondary sources in translation. The required postings can be a bit of drag, but the readings are generally interesting. I felt I learnt a lot about Chinese history in this class, though it seems to cut off just as Deng Xiaoping takes power so there's not a lot on post-Cultural Revolution China. Would take her other classes in a heartbeat.

Dec 2008

Great lecturer. Her lectures are very well-organized, and she tries very hard to get students involved (although few spoke up in my class). Always available to students, very friendly. Made sure to know everyone's name. The subject is also incredibly interesting, and the readings were few and great. It is true that she takes much (most) of her lecture from Spence's book... but she certainly makes it interesting! I would definitely take this class.

Aug 2004

Do not take this class with her! Do yourself a favor. You'll cry and seriously consider inflicting harm on yourself.

May 2004

Lean is not one of the best history professors I've had at Columbia, but she's certainly not the worst. I took this class because I wanted to learn modern Chinese history and at the end, I did, but probably not to the extent I wanted to learn it. I agree with one of the reviewers in that Lean does lecture verbatim off Spence's "Search for Modern China" textbook. That's not to say she doesn't know her material, because believe me, she does. The way she lectures is a bit frustrating; when not talking about gender (her specialization) she sort of fumbles and is repetitive. This is probably due to the fact that she's a fairly new lecturer; she'll get better with time. You're almost better off reading that text. The readings are selective and very well chosen. There is a lot of it, although you don't HAVE to read it as her exams are lecture-based. TAs do the grading, but grading is on the rough side. The exam questions are difficult and abstract and require to really think and form a convincing answer. Overall, Lean is intelligent, extremely well-read (not just in Chinese history) and responsive to questions in class. And even though she doesn't convey that she expects a LOT out of you, she does, as evidenced by her harsh grading standards.

May 2004

She sucks and this is how: she's very smart, she tries to make her lecutre intelligible, her method of teaching is very understandable, reasonable and relatively organized....in other words, she teaches as if the class is a bunch of high school students. with that said, her exams---OMG WTF!!!! her demands are unreasonable. if you know how to BS and come up with some crap that sounds like you have a pHD, or if you're lucky and you happen to say something she (or the TA) likes, then maybe this class isn't so bad. otherwise.... As for the content of the lecture - 1911-1949 - she regurgitates everything verbatim off jonathan spence's "search for modern china."

Apr 2003

Despite her young age, Prof. Lean is an incredibly knowledgeable and intelligent professor. She is a very critical thinker and encourages the class to question the texts they read. She is always happy to answer questions about the course material in class and is very accessible in general. At times her reading assignments may be a little bit excessive, but usually we don't get to all the readings on the assigned dates, meaning you have a bit of extra time to complete the readings. She is a tough professor though, and she expects class participation.