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Course Syllabus
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Chinese 10: Chinese Civilization
Instructor: Dr. Jingyu Xue
Class Hours: W 3:45-6:55 pm, Room R219
Office Hours: before and after class, or by appointment
This course traces the development of Chinese civilization, one of the world’s oldest continuous civilizations, from Neolithic times down to the present. It covers the study of Chinese geography, philosophy, religion, political environment, social relations, family and gender roles, literature, art and drama. Classes will be a combination of lecture and discussion, and students are expected to participate in classroom discussion in order to better understand the rich heritage and full complexity of Chinese culture. This class will be taught entirely in English. No prior knowledge of Chinese language or culture is required.
All required readings will be posted on Canvas.
Recommended textbook:
Ebrey, Patricia. The Cambridge Illustrated History of China, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
After the completion of this course, students will be able to perform the following tasks:
Describe the major geographic features of China.
Describe the historical contributions of important people in Chinese history.
Explain at least two aspects of Chinese culture and aesthetic tradition.
Analyze various religious influences in China.
Compare/ contrast the differences between the Western and Chinese cultures in family, artistic, and philosophical values.
Attendance is mandatory and factored into your participation grade. A student who arrives more than 10 minutes late or leaves more than 10 minutes early will be marked as half-absence. More than 1 unexcused absence will adversely affect your participation grade (10 points out of 100 will be subtracted for each absence). Any student who is absent 3 times in a row will be dropped from the class. An appropriate document is required for all excused absences.
All required readings will be posted on Canvas. Students are expected to complete reading the assigned texts before coming to each class. It is very important to keep up with the weekly reading assignments and come to class with your textbooks and notes. By doing so, you will be better prepared to participate in class discussion
Active and informed participation in class discussion is required. The final grade can be raised or lowered a few points based on participation. Also, answers to all the exam questions will be addressed during class lectures and discussion. Please be sure to pay close attention and take careful notes. Please turn off all cell phones, pagers and other electronic devices during our class sessions.
Academic Honesty. All written assignments must be original work put in an individual student’s own words. They can never be copied from another student, and be sure to carefully paraphrase any information taken from books or internet sources, rather than directly copying them. All sources must be properly documented.
Homework assignments. Homework assignments will be posted on Canvas after each class. Please be sure to submit your homework on time. Half credit will be given to all late assignments.
Team presentation. Students will be divided into groups of 2-3, and each group will perform a 15-minute presentation on a specific topic on Chinese culture. A list of possible topics will be posted later in the semester. Students can use PowerPoint or any other preferred format of presentation (posters, real objects, video clips no more than 2-minute long, etc). The students who miss the delivery of assigned presentation topic will forfeit their team presentation points.
Written projects. There will be 2 written projects throughout the semester. Due dates and topics will be announced and posted on Canvas.
There will be one mid-term exam and one final exam on the dates indicated in the syllabus. The exams are not cumulative. There will be no make-ups for the exams. Only a medical excuse signed by a doctor will be accepted in order to take an exam late.

Homework and quizzes

Written Projects


Mid-term exam

Final exam

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE (subject to change during the semester):
2/19: Introduction to the course, Chinese geography and timeline
2/26: Philosophical Foundations I: Confucianism
Recommended reading: Chapter 2: Philosophical Foundations: The Eastern Zhou Period, p. 38-47
3/4: Philosophical Foundations II: Daoism
Recommended reading: Chapter 2: Philosophical Foundations: The Eastern Zhou Period, p. 47-59
3/11: Philosophical Foundations III: Legalism and the Creation of the Empire
Recommended reading: Chapter 3: The Creation of the Bureaucratic Empire, p. 60-85
3/18: Religion I: Buddhism
Recommended reading: Chapter 4: Buddhism, Aristocracy, and Alien Rulers: The Age of Division, p. 86-100
3/25: Religion II: Daoist Religion, Yijing Divination
Recommended reading: Chapter 4: Buddhism, Aristocracy, and Alien Rulers: The Age of Division, p. 100-107
4/1: Midterm Review
4/8: Midterm Exam
4/22: Family and Gender Roles
Recommended reading: Chapter 5: A Cosmopolitan Empire: The Tang Dynasty, p. 108-135
4/29: Fine Arts
Recommended reading: Chapter 6: Shifting South: The Song Dynasty, p. 136-163
5/6: Architecture and Fengshui
Recommended reading: Chapter 8: The Limits of Autocracy: The Ming Dynasty, p. 190-219
5/13: Chinese Food and Tea Culture
5/20: Theories and Practices of Chinese Medicine
Recommended reading: Chapter 9: Manchus and Imperialism: The Qing Dynasty, p. 220-261
5/27: Fashion and Clothing
6/3: Student Presentation (Cont.), Review for the final
6/10: Final Exam