History of Chinese Civilization


This is an introductory course to Chinese history. The first half of the class deals with the formation of the country’s intellectual traditions, efforts of empire-building, and the characteristic orientation of Chinese society to family, locality, and education. We will also look at how the successive government of late imperial China dealt with the strains of a growing and changing society. The second half of the course will consider how China met and mastered the challenges of the 19th century, and what the particular challenges of the 20th century were. We will conclude the class by discussing the government and society of the People’s Republic of China against the background of these challenges. Required reading for the class includes Patricia Ebrey’s China: A Cultural, Social, and Political History, 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.

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
Department Contacts