History of Chinese Civilization
This course surveys China’s long history from the earliest written records to the end of the 20th century. The first half of the semester focuses on the evolution of the country’s intellectual traditions, imperial institutions, and key cultural and religious beliefs and practices. We will also examine how the successive governments of the late imperial times dealt with the strains of a changing society and economy. The second half of the course will consider how China met the challenges of the 19th and 20th centuries, characterized by Western and Japanese colonialism and frequent, large-scale rebellions. We will conclude the class by discussing the government and society of the People’s Republic against the background of these challenges. Required reading for the class includes Patricia Ebrey’s The Cambridge Illustrated History of China and Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook and selected articles and book chapters. Final grades for the class will be based on mini-quizzes, exams, and one term paper. This course fulfills the College’s historical and non-Western perspective requirements. No previous knowledge of Chinese history is required.