Lecture 1: Orientation
I. Why History?
- History as a discipline
- History as exploration
- More questions
II. Why China?
- The pragmatist’s argument
- The humanist’s argument
III. By the end of the course, students should be able to . . .
- identify some of the organizing themes in the history of later imperial China
- discuss the unity and diversity, changes and continuities, of Chinese society
- come to an understanding of the nature of historical knowledge
IV. Course Structure
- Web site
- Reading Notes
- Short essay
- Library Assignment
- Office hours
V. Approaches to Chinese History
- Dynastic cycles
- Early European perspectives (e.g., Hegel [1770–1831])
- Universal history
- Change within tradition
- China in the World
Lecture 2: Early China
I. Lands and Peoples
- Environment and History
- Physical Geography (river systems: Yellow, Yangzi, Pearl)
- Human Geography
- Ancient “China”—Xia (ca. 2200–1700 BCE) . . . Shang (ca. 1700–1100 BCE) . . . Zhou (ca. 1100–221 BCE)
- The First Empire—Qin (221–207 BCE) . . . Han (207 BCE–220 CE)
- Period of Disunion (220–589)
- The Second Empire—Sui (589–618) . . . Tang (618–907)
III. Major Themes
- Continuity and change
- Unity and diversity
- Structure and agency
- Power and Identity
- What is the difference between a primary and a secondary source?
- What are some of the sources historians use to reconstruct China's past? What are the benefits and pitfalls of such materials?
- How would you define "China" or "Chinese"?
External links to Maps:
Source: National Museum of Chinese History, ed., A Journey into China's Antiquity, vol. 1 (Beijing: Morning Glory Publishers, 1997), pp. 8–9.
Physical Map by Satellite
The Economist: What China Wants
Map of China: Languages
Map of China: Regions
"Lingering Melodies from the Xunyang River"
- Marks, Robert B. China: Its Environment and History. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012.
- Spence, Jonathan D. The Chan's Great Continent: China in Western Minds. New York: W. W. Norton, 1998.
- Tu, Wei-ming. The Living Tree: The Changing Meaning of Being Chinese Today. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991.
- Waley-Cohen, Joanna. The Sextants of Beijing: Global Currents in Chinese History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1999.