Topics on Chinese Civilization

Topics on Chinese Civilization


JIANG Yonglin



Required Texts

  • Patricia Ebrey. Cambridge Illustrated History of China (1st or 2nd ed.)  [HC]
  • Patricia Ebrey, ed., Chinese Civilization: A Source Book [CC]
  • Anthony Yu, trans., The Monkey & the Monk (Monkey, by Wu Cheng’en)  


 Course Description

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to some of the major aspects of Chinese civilization from pre-history to 1800.  Central themes include: What is China?  How are the political communities organized?  What are the major features of their cultural achievements?  And what are the kinds of cultural interactions with other regions?    The course will be basically chronological combined with thematic, inter-disciplinary, and comparative approaches.  Active participation—asking questions, making comments, and exchanging ideas based on the assigned readings and other sources of information—is required.  


Goals of the Course

1. To introduce history as a "way of knowing" the world, and to teach about the methods historians use to understand the past.

2. To understand various values and practices of Chinese people in historical times. 

3. To become familiar with competing historical interpretations of major events and themes in Chinese civilization.

4. To understand relations and interactions between China and other countries, especially other East Asian countries, appreciating East Asia as a cultural zone.

5. To show how history helps understand the political, social, and cultural issues of the present.

6. To learn about ourselves from the Chinese experience; and to reveal how history helps us see our own role and function in relation to others, past and present.

7. To enhance skills in clear writing, analytical thinking, and critical reading; and to relate history to other fields of knowledge or disciplines.


Composition of final grade:

Attendance =10%
Participation =20%
Map assignment =5%
Presentation =10%
‘Presidential debate’ report =5%
Paper on the Monkey =25%
Final exam =25%
(Extra credit =up to 5 points)


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