The Life and Times of Mao Zedong: China in Revolution

Painting of Mao hanging on building

Class Dates

January 08, 2020 to February 05, 2020

Meeting Days

Wednesday, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.


Dunbar Pavilion



Course Instructor(s)

It is difficult to understand China today without understanding the China of Mao Zedong. Over the course of Mao’s lifetime China experienced imperial rule, warlordism, republicanism, and ultimately communism. The country experienced invasion, civil war, and famine. And through this all, Mao led an insurgent movement that allowed China to “stand on its own two legs.” Governing, however, was at least as challenging as making revolution. This challenge to Mao would be summed by the official assessment of Mao after his death: Mao was a great revolutionary leader, but made mistakes governing China. 

This course examines the grand sweep of 20th Century Chinese history through the lens of Mao’s life – a life that was complex and often contradictory, but one that ultimately left a lasting legacy for today’s China. The meaning of Mao and Maoism is contested by historians of modern China, but all would not argue with a Time Magazine assessment several years ago that he was among the 20th Century’s most significant historical figures. The course also will examine this historical legacy to surface the meaning of Mao in today’s China – a China that resonates with Maoist goals, namely a country of wealth and power, but differ significantly in the social and cultural means towards those ends.


Online registration for this course opens on Thursday, November 21, 2019, at 10 a.m.

Refunds are available and need to be requested before the second class meeting (January 12). To drop a class, please contact Kerstin Miller at 520-621-5111 or  A $25 administrative fee for each cancellation will apply.

Location & Parking

This class meets in the meeting room in the historic side of the Dunbar Pavilion at 325 W. 2nd Street, Tucson, Arizona 85705 .

Plenty of free parking is available in the parking lot adjacent to the Dunbar Pavilion. Please enter the parking lot from Main Street just south of West 2nd Street and park in the upper parking lot directly south of the Dunbar Pavilion.