Pre-Modern Northeast Asia

Purpose of Course  showclose

This course will introduce you to the history of East Asia from the early Yellow River civilizations to the Qing Dynasty in the late eighteenth century.  You will learn about the major political, economic, and social changes that took place in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam during this period.  The course will be structured chronologically.  Each unit will include representative primary-source documents that illustrate important overarching political, economic, and social themes, such as the development of a coherent Chinese identity, Chinese imperial aspirations in Vietnam, Korea, and Japan, the expansion of Western influence and trade networks, the Mongol invasions, and the role of Confucianism and Buddhism in East Asian culture.  By the end of the course, you will understand how East Asia transformed from fragmented and warring societies into consolidated imperial states that sought to separate themselves from Western religion and commerce.  The course will present a variety of resources that will discuss the social, political, cultural, technological, and materials aspects of East Asian society.

Course Information  showclose

Welcome to HIST241. Below, please find general information on the course and its requirements.
 
Course Designer: Andrew D. A. Bozanic
 
Primary Resources: This course is composed of a range of different free, online materials.  However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:
Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials.  Note that the course is structured chronologically.  You will also need to complete:
  • The Final Exam 
Note that you will only receive an official grade on your final exam.  However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the readings, web media, and lectures in each unit.
 
In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam.  Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.

Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of 88.5 hours to complete.  Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit.  These should help you plan your timeaccordingly.  It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself.  For example, Unit 1 should take you 7 hours.  Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete Subunits 1.1.1 and 1.1.2 (a total of 2.25 hours) on Monday night; Subunits 1.1.3, 1.1.4, and 1.2.1 (a total of 2.75 hours) on Tuesday night; etc.

Tips/Suggestions: It may help to take notes as you work through the materials in this course.  Pay particular attention to the learning outcomes at the beginning of each unit, and make sure that your notes also reflect these important objectives.  Your notes will be useful as a review and study guide for the Final Exam.  

Learning Outcomes  showclose

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Compare the philosophical schools of thought that influenced the political and religious development of East Asia to the eighteenth century.
  • Identify the common educational and cultural sources that have served as the foundation of multiple Chinese political dynasties.
  • Compare the development of societies in China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan since 1500 B.C.E.
  • Differentiate between decentralized and centralized authority in the political history of China, Japan, and Korea by comparing governing bodies that range from clans to kingdoms to dynastic empires.
  • Describe the interactions between Europeans and rulers in China and Japan and the eventual isolationist policies that develop in East Asia.
  • Identify the key technological innovations in East Asian societies that transformed the political systems and social hierarchy of the region.
  • Analyze and contextualize a selection of East Asian literary and artistic works including objects of material culture. 

Course Requirements  showclose

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.)

√    Be competent in the English language.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

√    Have completed all the courses listed in “The Core Program” of the history discipline, including HIST101, HIST102, HIST103, and HIST104.

Unit Outline show close


Expand All Resources Collapse All Resources
  • Unit 1: Yellow River Civilizations  

    The first Chinese civilizations emerged along the Yellow River—the second longest river in China—by the second millennium B.C.E.  Despite its nickname of “China’s Sorrow,” agricultural societies, drawn by the river’s fertile soil, developed sophisticated irrigation techniques.  The Yangshao culture emerged around 2500 B.C.E. and was dependent upon hunting, fishing, and some agriculture.  But the Longshan/Xia culture, which developed in 2000 B.C.E., became a more sedentary agricultural community of large, walled villages.  These societies formed the basis for the emergence of the Shang in 1500 B.C.E., a feudal society that became the basis of Chinese civilization—they expanded irrigation systems, monopolized the use of bronze, and developed a system of writing.  It was not long, however, before the power of the Shang declined, and the Zhou (1029-258 B.C.E.), a Turkic people once ruled by the Shang, rose to power.  The Zhou seized new territory in the Yangtze River valley and established authority by forging alliances with regional nobles.

    In this unit, we will study how the earliest civilizations bordering the Yellow River gave way to the Shang, a complex society ruled by all-powerful kings.  From the Shang period, we will explore the artifacts known as oracle bones, the earliest evidence of writing in China. We will examine the overthrow of the Shang by the Zhou, an event that marked the beginning of dynastic-style rule in China that would last until the twentieth century. By studying the Zhou, we will examine the concept of the “Mandate of Heaven,” the importance of controlling metallurgy, and the writing of works that come to be known as the Zhou Dynasty Classics. 

    Unit 1 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 1 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 1.1 The Shang Era  
    • Reading: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: “Chapter 2: Classical China”

      Link: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: Chapter 2: Classical China” (HTML)

      Instructions: Please click on the link titled “Classical China,” and read the sections “Pre-Historic China” and “The Shang Dynasty” to get a sense of the earliest societies that formed along the banks of the Yellow River in China.  Click on any embedded hyperlinks to explore associated content.  The Shang set the stage for dynastic rule in the region and utilized bronze metallurgy for both military and economic purposes as it expanded its control over the region.  Note that this reading will cover the material you need to know for Subunits 1.1.1 and 1.1.2.  This reading should take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

      The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

      Submit Materials

  • 1.1.1 Precursors: The Yangshao, Longshan, and Xia  
    • Lecture: iTunes U: Bristol Community College History of Modern East Asia: Professor Maureen Melvin Sowa’s “Archaic China”

      Link: iTunes U: Bristol Community College History of Modern East Asia: Professor Maureen Melvin Sowa’s “Archaic China” (iTunes U)
       
      Instructions: Please scroll down the webpage to the “Archaic China” lecture, and select the “View in iTunes” link to launch the lecture.  Please listen to the entire 27-minute lecture from Professor Maureen Melvin Sowa.  This lecture will address the basic social structure of early Chinese and East Asian societies.  She places the importance of family and kinship groups within the larger social and political systems of East Asia and explores the earliest beginnings of Chinese society.  How does Professor Sowa relate the geography of China to the development of Archaic or Neolithic societies in the region?  You should dedicate approximately 45 minutes for listening to this lecture, taking notes, and answering this study question.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.1.2 Shang Society  
    • Lecture: iTunes: The China History Podcast: Lazlo Montgomery’s “015 The Shang Dynasty”

      Link: iTunes: The China History Podcast: Lazlo Montgomery’s “015 The Shang Dynasty” (iTunes)
       
      Instructions: Please scroll down the webpage to the “CHP-015 The Shang Dynasty” lecture, and select the “View in iTunes” link to launch the lecture.  Please listen to the entire 31-minute lecture from Lazlo Montgomery, an amateur historian who hosts the “China History Podcast” series.  This lecture will address the basic social structure of the Shang Dynasty and will touch on cultural, technological, and political aspects of Shang society.  Of particular note is his discussion of the origins of Chinese writing and the use of oracle bones.  Mr. Montgomery examines how these bones were used and the discovery of large stores of Shang artifacts in the 20th century.  The reading assigned beneath subunit 1.1 also covers this subunit.   Focus specifically on the section entitled “The Shang Dynasty.”
       
      You should dedicate approximately 45 minutes to listening to the lecture and taking notes. 

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.
       

  • 1.1.3 Shang Culture  
    • Reading: Fordham University’s East Asian History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Sima Qian’s Records of the Grand Historian

      Link: Fordham University’s East Asian History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Sima Qian’s Records of the Grand Historian (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the entire document.  This document, written during the Han dynasty, recounts China’s history since the Yellow Emperor’s reign in 2600 B.C.E.  Its author, Sima Qian, was one of many in his family who served as the hereditary historians of the Han emperor.  This work—Qian’s greatest—was the first systematic Chinese historical text and had a profound impact on later Chinese historians and poets.  This excerpt contains two biographical sketches that serve as both stories of prominent people and as lessons on the culture in which they lived.  Attempt to answer the questions on the webpage.  This reading and these questions should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 1.2 Rise of the Zhou  
    • Reading: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: “Chapter 2: Classical China”

      Link: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: “Chapter 2: Classical China” (HTML)

      Instructions: Please click on the link on the left-hand side titled “The Zhou Dynasty,” and read the section to understand how the Zhou rose to power and contributed a cultural legacy of texts that remained an important aspect of Chinese society into the modern era.  Through the establishment of the concept of the Mandate of Heaven, the Zhou justified their overthrow of the Shang and established a pattern for future dynasties to follow.  The downfall of the Zhou led to a period of intermittent fighting in China known as the Warring States Period. During this moment of political and social instability, intellectuals debated human nature ultimately giving rise to profound and dynamic schools of thought.  Make sure to click on any embedded hyperlinks to enhance your knowledge on associated content.  Note that this reading will cover the material you need to know for Subunits 1.2.1 through 1.2.4.  This reading will take you approximately 1 hour to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 1.2.1 Zhou Feudalism  
    • Lecture: iTunes: The China History Podcast: Lazlo Montgomery’s “059 The Duke of Zhou”

      Link: iTunes: The China History Podcast: Lazlo Montgomery’s “059 The Duke of Zhou” (iTunes)
       
      Instructions: Please scroll down the webpage to the “CHP-059 The Duke of Zhou” lecture, and select the “View in iTunes” link to launch the lecture.  Please listen to the entire 19-minute lecture from Lazlo Montgomery, an amateur historian who hosts the “China History Podcast” series.  This lecture will address the cultural and social significance of the Duke of Zhou (Ji Dan), one of the pre-eminent advisors and strategists of the early Zhou Dynasty.  Through his writings, the basic elements of Zhou government can be examined as well as rituals, dream interpretations, and early Chinese music.  The podcast also does a good job illustrating the feudal structure of Zhou society.  The reading assigned beneath subunit 1.2 also covers this subunit.  Focus specifically on the section entitled “The Zhou Dynasty.”  Listening to this lecture and taking notes should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.2.2 Social Changes  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 1.2.  Focus specifically on the section entitled “The Zhou Dynasty.” 

  • 1.2.3 “Mandate of Heaven”  
  • 1.2.4 The Fall of the Zhou and the Warring States Period  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 1.2.  Focus specifically on the last four paragraphs of the section entitled “The Zhou Dynasty.” 

  • 1.2.5 Cultural Implications of the Zhou Dynasty  
    • Reading: Carson-Newman College: Dr. Kip Wheeler’s Chinese Poetry and the Shih Ching/Book of Songs and version of the poem “King Wen is on High”

      Link: Carson-Newman College: Dr. Kip Wheeler’s Chinese Poetryand the Shih Ching/Book of Songs and version of the poem “King Wen is on High” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Written during the Zhou period and compiled sometime after 600 B.C.E., this is the earliest recorded collection of Chinese poetry and the most important of the Zhou dynasty texts.  Scholars believe that many of the poems were originally songs.  These poems (311 in all) describe ordinary people living during the Zhou period, the social and political issues of the day, the Zhou court, and the venerated founders of the Zhou state.  Most of the poems are short and imagistic—many were often read as allegories.  Read the background context from the first link to understand the impact of the Shih Ching on Chinese poetry.  Then, click on the second link to read the poem “King Wen is on High.”  Think about how this poem relates to the concepts of the veneration of ancestors and the Mandate of Heaven. You should spend approximately 1 hour reading both texts and studying the poem.
       
      Terms of Use: The above articles are hosted with permission by Dr. L. Kip Wheeler for non-profit, educational, and student use.  You can find the original versions here (HTML)

    • Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Department of Asian Art’s “Shang and Zhou Dynasties: The Bronze Age of China”

      Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Department of Asian Art’s “Shang and Zhou Dynasties: The Bronze Age of China” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above, read the entire page and view the slideshow to examine Bronze Age objects from China.  You may click on each object in the slideshow to learn more information about that object.  Bronze artifacts from the Zhou and Shang periods demonstrate the organization of early society in China.  From ritual instruments to weapons, this website showcases some of the earliest recorded material culture from China.  You should spend approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes reading the main text, viewing the slideshow, and reading the associated content for the objects in the slideshow.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

  • Unit 2: Consolidation in China: The Qin and the Han  

    The power of the Zhou dynasty began to falter in the third century B.C.E.  Rather than consolidating their power into a central authority, the Zhou had used regional alliances to maintain their influence.  But when these alliances weakened, so did the Zhou.  The breakdown of the Zhou Empire permitted both the establishment of many small kingdoms ruled by former vassals and invasions by nomadic peoples who lived on the Chinese border.  However, this period of internal warfare known as the Warring States Period stimulated intellectual ferment and drove Chinese philosophers, such as Lao-Tzu and Confucius, to question the spiritual and ethical meaning of the political turmoil.  The establishment of the brief Qin Empire in 221 B.C.E. seemed to promise a return to political order.  Emperor Shi Huangdi not only used brutal techniques and legalist doctrine to consolidate his power, but he also built the beginnings of the Great Wall of China, standardized a system of weights and measures, conducted a census of his people, and expanded his empire.  Qin tyranny, however, produced resistance, especially among the conscripted peasants and farmers whose labors built the empire and the dynasty collapsed in 207 B.C.E.  The Han dynasty (which replaced the Qin dynasty) ruled for nearly four centuries (with a brief interruption) by achieving political unity through the creation of a large civil bureaucracy that set a precedent for future dynastic rule in China.  After the collapse of the Han Dynasty, China splintered into multiple kingdoms for several centuries.  This period of the Three Kindgoms, though fragmented politically, would ultimately be the cultural inspiration for future Chinese scholars and authors.

    In this unit, we will examine how political and social disorder of the Zhou dynasty later resulted in the centralization of Han dynastic power and the emergence of a distinct Chinese identity.

    Unit 2 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 2 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 2.1 Philosophy and Political Turmoil  
    • Reading: Carson-Newman College: Dr. Kip Wheeler’s Confucius and Confucianism

      Link: Carson-Newman College: Dr. Kip Wheeler’s Confucius and Confucianism (PDF)

      Instructions: Please click on the link titled “Confucius and Confucianism,” and read the entire page to get a sense of the life and philosophy of Confucius.  This material will also provide background for other Confucian scholars, including Mencius.  Note that this reading will cover the material you need to know for sub-Subunits 2.1.1 and 2.1.2.  You should spend approximately 30 minutes reading and studying this resource.
       
      Terms of Use: The above articles are hosted with permission by Dr. L. Kip Wheeler for non-profit, educational, and student use.  You can find the original versions here (HTML)

  • 2.1.1 Confucian Thought and Ideals  
    • Lecture: iTunes U: Suffolk University: Dr. Ronald Suleski’s “Confucius and Confucianism”

      Link: iTunes U: Suffolk University: Dr. Ronald Suleski’s “Confucius and Confucianism” (iTunes U)
       
      Instructions: Scroll down to the title “Confucius and Confucianism,” and select the “View in iTunes” link for this lecture.  Please start the lecture at 8 minutes in.  Listen to Dr. Ronald Suleski discuss the historical background of Confucius and how his writings have impacted Chinese society for over 2000 years.  Dr. Suleski places Confucian beliefs within the context of Chinese culture and examines the philosophers who followed in the footsteps of Confucius and operated within the Confucian framework.  Listening to this lecture and taking notes should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: Fordham University’s East Asian History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Confucius’ “Selections from the Analects”

      Link: Fordham University’s East Asian History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Confucius’ “Selections from the Analects” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above to access excerpts from Confucius’ Analects, and read through all the selections on Jen, Junzi, Li, Yüeh, Learning and Teaching, Government, and Rectifying the NamesThis document describes the teachings and philosophy of Confucius, the Chinese social thinker who lived during the Warring States Period.  Written around 500 BCE, his Analects, focused on the basic Confucian tenets of propriety (li), righteousness/benevolence (ren), and loyalty and filial piety (xiao), as well as it had an enormous impact on Chinese philosophy and moral values.  As you read, think about the time in which Confucius wrote and the political and social instability of the era.  You should spend approximately 1 hour reading, taking-notes on, and studying this resource.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 2.1.2 Heirs of Confucius  
    • Reading: Fordham University’s East Asian History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Xunzi’s Selections from Xunzi (c. 213 BCE)

      Link: Fordham University’s East Asian History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Xunzi’s Selections from Xunzi (c. 213 BCE) (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read all of the selections from Xunzi (c. 298-238 B.C.E.), who had a career as government administrator unlike Confucius and Mencius.  Believing that humans were inherently greedy, he called for the government to harshly discipline society and rigidly emphasized the Confucian principle of li or “propriety.”  Similar to other thinkers of the period, his followers collected his writings and beliefs after his death into the works presented here, meaning that Xunzi himself may not have written these passages.  
       
      The reading assigned beneath subunit 2.1, specifically the section entitled “Mencius,” also covers the heirs of Confucius.  Mencius and Xunzi offered contrasting ideas about the motivations and essential nature of individuals while operating within the Confucian framework.  The lecture from Dr. Ronald Suleski in Subunit 2.1.1 also discusses the heirs of Confucius.  You may want to review these readings and lectures in conjunction with the reading from Xunzi in order to gain a broader comparative perspective on the work of Confucian scholars.
       
      You should dedicate approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to reading the main text for this subunit, taking notes, and re-reading the lectures suggested above.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.1.3 Daoist/Taoist Alternatives  
    • Reading: Carson-Newman College: Dr. Kip Wheeler’s The Tao and Taoism

      Link: Carson-Newman College: Dr. Kip Wheeler’s The Tao and Taoism (PDF)

      Instructions: Please read the page titled “The Tao and Taoism” to understand the early scholars and basic tenets of Daoism/Taoism.  This material will discuss the religious and mystical aspects of Daoism as well as its influence on later Chinese dynasties.  Click on any embedded hyperlinks to explore associated content.  Studying this resource and taking notes should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.

      Terms of Use: The above articles are hosted with permission by Dr. L. Kip Wheeler for non-profit, educational, and student use.  You can find the original versions here (HTML)

    • Reading: Fordham University’s East Asian History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Lao-Tzu, Dao De Jing/TaoTe Ching: Selections

      Link: Fordham University’s East Asian History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Dao De Jing/TaoTe Ching: Selections (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above to access the text, and carefully read all of the selections from the Dao De Jing, one of the foundational texts of Daoism.  If necessary, it may help to re-read the text to better understand the material.  This text was supposedly written by Lao-tzu—meaning “Old Master”—the keeper of the Imperial library during the Zhou dynasty.  Regardless of whether or not Lao-tzu was an actual person, his writings form the basis of Daoist philosophy.  The Tao-Te Ching, “the classic of the way of virtue,” is comprised of 81 short poems detailing the Tao, or “the way.”  According the Lao-tzu, the Tao is nameless, goes beyond distinctions, and even transcends language.
       
      Think about its philosophy in connection with the readings presented in Subunit 2.1.2, in particular with The Analects.  Compare how Daoism and Confucian thought developed in the midst of political and social turmoil and how Daoism both reacted and situated itself in opposition to Confucian principles.  

      You should dedicate approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to studying the text and comparing the text to Confucian thought.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.2 Triumph of the Qin  
  • 2.2.1 Transformations  
    • Reading: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: “Chapter 2: Classical China”

      Link: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: “Chapter 2: Classical China” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link titled “The Qin Dynasty” on the left- hand side of the page to learn about the rise of the powerful Qin Dynasty under Shi Huangdi, who used the Legalist school of thought to bring about an end to the Warring States Period.  Note that this reading will cover the material you need to know for Subunits 2.2.2 through 2.2.4.  Some of the hyperlinks in the text are broken, but most links provide images and additional resources for exploring the rise and fall of the Qin Dynasty.  Reading this text, taking notes, and exploring any embedded hyperlinks should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

  • 2.2.2 Legalism  
    • Reading: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: “Chapter 5: Legalism”

      Link: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese HistoryChapter 5: Legalism” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read all of the sections in this chapter in order to understand the Legalist school of thought.  Pay attention to the writings of Han Feizi, and describe how Qin Shihuang used Legalists tenets to unite China in the wake of the Warring States Period.  Some of the hyperlinks in the text are broken, but most links provide images and additional resources for exploring.  This reading should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 2.2.3 Shi Huangdi, Emperor of China  
  • 2.2.4 Collapse of a Tyrannical Regime  

    Note: This topic is covered by the material assigned below subunit 2.2.1. Focus on the last three paragraphs of the section entitled “The Qin Dynasty” to understand how the harsh legalist policies of the dynasty ultimately led to its downfall.

  • 2.3 The Han Dynasty and Foundations of China’s Classical Age  
    • Reading: The Ohio State University: Professor Mark Bender’s Module 2: Histories of East Asia: “Chinese History: Early Feudal Era: Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD)”

      Link: The Ohio State University: Professor Mark Bender’s Module 2: Histories of East Asia: “Chinese History: Early Feudal Era: Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD)” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above to access the Ohio State University website.  Then, in the table of contents on the left side of the webpage, click on the link entitled “Chinese History,” then click on “Early Feudal Era,” and finally click on “Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD).  Read this section on the Han Dynasty in its entirety.  The Han Dynasty, started by Liu Bang, brought about resurgence in Confucian principles in the wake of the harsh Legalist rule of the Qin.  The Han built on some of the fundamental Chinese social and cultural concepts developed by previous dynasties, especially the Zhou.  With the growth of foreign trade during this dynasty, the Chinese shaped their own theoretical worldview based on Confucian principles.  The Chinese viewed foreign tribes and peoples as uncivilized barbarians.  In contrast, Chinese culture was seen as the aspiration for all peoples.  Initially, the Chinese would bribe more powerful tribes, but over time, as dynasties became more powerful, the emperor would use military means and a tribute system to subordinate foreign tribes.  Please note that this resource covers the topics outlined in Subunits 2.3.1-2.3.3.  This reading should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.
       

    • Lecture: iTunes U: Harrisburg Area Community College: Dr. Richard Moss’s “Week 9 –The Han Dynasty”

      Link: iTunes U: Harrisburg Area Community College: Dr. Richard Moss’s “Week 9 –The Han Dynasty” (iTunes U)
       
      Instructions: Scroll down to the lecture titled “Week 9 – The Han Dynasty,” and click on the “View in iTunes” link to launch the lecture.  Please listen to this entire 25-minute lecture from Dr. Richard Moss to understand the political structure of the Han dynasty in comparison with that of other governmental structures in world history.  This global comparative perspective helps to place the rise of the Han in the context of world political history, with a special emphasis on the similarities between the Roman Empire and the Han Dynasty. The lecture also discusses how the Han adopted ideas and philosophies from their predecessors, the Qin.  Listening to this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 45 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 2.3.1 Trade Routes of the Silk Road  
    • Lecture: iTunes: The China History Podcast: Lazlo Montgomery’s “047 Adventurer Zhang Qian”

      Link: iTunes: The China History Podcast: Lazlo Montgomery’s “047 Adventurer Zhang Qian” (iTunes)
       
      Instructions: Please scroll down the webpage to the “CHP-047 Adventurer Zhang Qian” lecture, and select the “View in iTunes” link to launch the lecture.  Please listen to the entire 28-minute lecture from Lazlo Montgomery, an amateur historian who hosts the “China History Podcast” series.  This lecture discusses the exploits of Zhang Qian, an envoy of emperor Han Wudi who embarked on a 13-year journey from the capital of Chang’an to the western borderlands of the Xiongnu and Yuezhi.  His trek represents the beginnings of the Silk Road as many merchants would follow in his footsteps to the frontier of Han territory, ultimately helping to create new networks of commerce and transportation in Eurasia.  His missions to the “barbarian” peoples on the borders of the Han Dynasty reflect the larger focus on the expanding role of foreign relations in China.  By sending Zhang to make contact with these peoples, the emperor could incorporate them into the Chinese world order.  Listening to this lecture and taking notes should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Lecture: iTunes U: Harrisburg Area Community College: Dr. Richard Moss’s “Week 8 – The Silk Road”

      Link: iTunes U: Harrisburg Area Community College: Dr. Richard Moss’s “Week 8 – The Silk Road” (iTunes U)
       
      Instructions: Scroll down to the lecture titled “Week 8 – The Silk Road,” and click on the “View in iTunes” link to launch the lecture.  Please listen to this entire 15-minute lecture from Dr. Richard Moss to explore one of the major economic and commercial aspects of the Han Dynasty: the Silk Road, so-named for the valuable Chinese commodity of silk.  Using a comparative perspective, this podcast explores the rise of caravan cities, the goods exchanged along the way, and the connections established by the trade routes of the Silk Road, ultimately connecting China and Eurasia. Listening to this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 2.3.2 Interlude of Wang Mang (9 CE - 23 CE)  

    Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 2.3.  Focus specifically on the sixth through eighth paragraphs to examine the brief rule of the usurper Wang Mang, whose failed reform policies brought the Han Dynasty back into power.

  • 2.3.3 The Later Han, Imperial Collapse, and the Three Kingdoms  
    • Lecture: iTunes: The China History Podcast: Lazlo Montgomery’s “022 The Three Kingdoms, the Jin Dynasty and the Sixteen Kingdoms”

      Link: iTunes: The China History Podcast: Lazlo Montgomery’s “022 The Three Kingdoms, the Jin Dynasty and the Sixteen Kingdoms” (iTunes)
       
      Instructions: Please scroll down the webpage to the “CHP-022 The Three Kingdoms, the Jin Dynasty and the Sixteen Kingdoms” lecture, and select the “View in iTunes” link to launch the lecture.  Please listen to the entire 35-minute lecture from Lazlo Montgomery, an amateur historian who hosts the “China History Podcast” series.  This lecture discusses the history of the Three Kingdoms Period and the 13th-century Chinese novel that is based on this time of warfare and disunity in China.  Listening to this lecture and taking notes should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: The Ohio State University: Professor Mark Bender’s Module 2: Histories of East Asia: “Chinese History: Period of Disunion and Alien Empires (220-581 AD)”

      Link: The Ohio State University: Professor Mark Bender’s Module 2: Histories of East Asia: “Chinese History: Period of Disunion and Alien Empires (220-581 AD)” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above to access the Ohio State University website.  Then, in the table of contents on the left side of the webpage, click on the link entitled “Chinese History,” then click on “Early Feudal Era,” and finally click on “Period of Disunion and Alien Empires (220-581 AD).”  Read this entire section on the late Han Dynasty to examine how internal and external forces worked to bring an end to Han rule in China and led to a power vacuum in the region.  In the wake of the collapse of the Middle Kingdom, smaller areas of political power arose, most notably the Three Kingdoms (Wu, Wei, and Shu).  This topic is also covered by the reading assigned below subunit 2.3.  Focus specifically on the last (or ninth) paragraph of the section.  This reading should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 2.4 Han Society and Culture  
  • 2.4.1 Class and Gender Roles in Han Society  
  • 2.4.2 The Arts and Material Culture of the Han  
    • Lecture: The Saylor Foundation’s “Han Art and Material Culture”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Han Art and Material Culture” (PPT)
                 
      Instructions: Examine the images in the PowerPoint file and read the summaries of the different art and architectural forms, noting the types of materials used, the forms of the pieces and the ways in which they are decorated. As you study this lecture, consider the following questions:
       
      1. What, if any, differences can you identify between the pieces shown in the images here and those you examined in subunit 1.2.5?
       
      2. What purpose did funerary art serve and what information about Han society can we learn from it?
       
      3. Why are the tomb models so useful in teaching us about Han architecture?

      Make sure to also read the notes below the slides. If you find reading these notes in the PowerPoint difficult, you may also view them here (PDF).

      Reading the text, examining the images and answering the questions should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.  It has been adapted from content from Wikipedia and Boundless.  Further information can be found in the comments of the PowerPoint.

  • Unit 3: China's Golden Age: The Sui, Tang, and Song Dynasties  

    After the fall of the Han dynasty in 589 C.E., China descended into political and cultural turmoil.  The bureaucracy collapsed and a “foreign” religion—Buddhism— replaced Confucianism as the primary force in cultural life.  The scholar-gentry lost power to landed families.  Decline was evident in technology, in the economy, and in the cities.  But beginning in the latter sixth century, three successive dynasties restored the Chinese bureaucracy and economy.  As you will see in this unit, the Sui, Tang and Song reinvigorated the Chinese political system, engineered massive public works projects, distributed land in an equitable manner and revived the Confucian order.  These influential dynasties ushered in China’s “golden age,” an era of technological, artistic, and literary flourishing that ultimately formed connections with the cultures and societies of Europe.

    Unit 3 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 3 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 3.1 The Sui Dynasty  
    • Reading: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: “Chapter 8: The Middle Dynasties”

      Link: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: “Chapter 8: The Middle Dynasties” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link entitled “The Sui & Tang Dynasties” on the left-hand side of the webpage, and read the section in order to understand the technological and cultural changes that took place under the Sui and Tang Dynasties.  Note that this reading will cover the material you need to know for Subunits 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.2.1, and 3.2.2.  Some of the embedded hyperlinks in the text are broken, but most links provide images and additional resources for exploring.  Reading and taking notes should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 3.1.1 The Return of Centralized Dynastic Control  
    • Lecture: iTunes: The China History Podcast: Lazlo Montgomery’s “024 The Sui Dynasty”

      Link: iTunes: The China History Podcast: Lazlo Montgomery’s “024 The Sui Dynasty” (iTunes)
       
      Instructions: Please scroll down the webpage to the “CHP-024 The Sui Dynasty” lecture, and select the “View in iTunes” link to launch the lecture.  Please listen to the entire 21-minute lecture from Lazlo Montgomery, an amateur historian who hosts the “China History Podcast” series.  This lecture will address the brief, but significant reign of the Sui Dynasty and will touch on religious (namely Buddhist), cultural, technological, and political aspects of Sui society.  The rise of the Sui Dynasty brought about an expansion in China’s canal system, culminating with one of, if not the most impressive accomplishment of the era, the building of the Grand Canal.  This transportation innovation greatly improved the flow of goods and people and remained a vital artery to Chinese commerce until the 19th century.  This topic is also covered by the first paragraph of the reading assigned below subunit 3.1.
       
      Listening to this lecture and taking notes should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above. 

  • 3.1.2 Sui Excess and Collapse  

    Note: This topic is covered by the second paragraph of the reading assigned below subunit 3.1.  The early successes of the Sui soon became overshadowed by the military failures and strife of conscripted peasants.  Think about the following questions as you read.  In what ways did the Sui emperors lose the “Mandate of Heaven?”  How can we view the Grand Canal as both a success for the Tang and a cause for its eventual downfall? 

  • 3.2 Emergence of the Tang Dynasty  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 3.1.  Focus specifically on the section entitled, “The Sui & Tang Dynasties,” (from the third paragraph to the end of the section) and “The Rise of the Scholar-Gentry Class.”  The implementation of the equal-field system and the expansion of the imperial civil service exams brought about a cultural an economic boom during the Tang Dynasty.  With its system of roads and an international capital at Chang’an, the Tang built on the triumphs of the Sui and ushered in a golden era of Chinese culture.

  • 3.2.1 Cultural Importance of the Examination System  
    • Lecture: iTunes U: University of Louisville’s Survey of Asian Art: “Tang-1”

      Link: iTunes U: University of Louisville’s Survey of Asian Art: “Tang-1” (iTunes U)
       
      Instructions: Scroll down to the title “Tang-1,” and select the “View in iTunes” link to launch the lecture.  Please watch this entire 34-minute podcast on the Tang Dynasty painting to gain a better understanding of how the examination system and the bureaucracy of the Tang influenced its cultural artifacts.  From scroll paintings to ceramics to calligraphy, this lecture will discuss aspects of the economy, military, and political administration of the Tang Dynasty.  The imperial civil service examination system created a large class of trustworthy and highly educated bureaucrats capable of coordinating the affairs of the state.  Viewing this lecture and taking notes should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 3.2.2 The Growth of Buddhism in China  
    • Reading: University of Washington’s Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization History: Professor Patricia Buckley Ebrey’s “Buddhism”

      Link: University of Washington’s Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization History: Professor Patricia Buckley Ebrey’s “Buddhism” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read this entire webpage, and click on the sections “Images,” “Temples,” and “Practice,” (and the subsequent units within those sections) to gain an understanding of the role of Buddhism in China beginning with the Han Dynasty.  During the Tang and Song Dynasties, Buddhism became a dramatic force in Chinese culture.  Be sure to think about the questions provided on the webpage and how the religion of Buddhism fits with established cultural practices in Chinese society that we have explored so far in the course.  This reading and questions should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 3.3 The Song Dynasty  
    • Reading: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: “Chapter 8: The Middle Dynasties”

      Link: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: “Chapter 8: The Middle Dynasties” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link entitled “The Song Dynasty” on the left-hand side of the screen, and read the section to gain a background understanding of the massive changes that took place during the Song Dynasty.  Note that this reading will cover the material you need to know for Subunits 3.3.1 through 3.3.4.  Some of the embedded hyperlinks in the text are broken, but most links provide images and additional resources for exploring.  This reading should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 3.3.1 Partial Restoration  

    Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 3.3.  After a period of about 60 years without one clear, dynastic rule, the Song came to power and built upon the foundations laid by the Han, Sui, and Tang.  A relatively weak dynasty militarily, the Song Dynasty witnessed an even greater expansion of the civil service examination system that marked a pronounced shift towards governance based on merit rather than familial connections. 

  • 3.3.2 Revival of Confucian Thought  
    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Patricia Ebrey and Conrad Schirokauer’s The Song Confucian Revival: “Neo-Confucianism”

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Patricia Ebrey and Conrad Schirokauer’s The Song Confucian Revival: “Neo-Confucianism” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the section entitled “Neo-Confucianism” and all of the information in the yellow box on the left-hand side of the screen.  Click on the links in the yellow box to read associated content.  This reading will connect the use of Confucian texts during the Han Dynasty with the revival of their use in the Song period.  In what ways did Confucian scholars adapt and respond to the rise of Buddhism in China? This reading and question should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 3.3.3 Attempts at Reform  
    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Patricia Ebrey and Conrad Schirokauer’s The Song Confucian Revival: “Scholar-Officials of the Song and the Examination System”

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Patricia Ebrey and Conrad Schirokauer’s The Song Confucian Revival: “Scholar-Officials of the Song and the Examination System” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read this entire page in order to examine the expansion of the scholar-gentry class and the imperial civil service examination system under the Song Dynasty.  Be sure to also read the information and click on the hyperlinks in the yellow box at the bottom of the webpage entitled, “More about Scholar-Officials and the Civil Service Examinations” to expand your knowledge on the broader cultural implications of Confucianism and the exams in Song society.  In this section, you will explore how the Song used Han (and Tang) ideas and expanded the series of civil service exams in order to train a new class of bureaucrats as Confucian scholars capable of handling the growing governmental demands of the state.  This subunit builds upon the discussion of the examination system put in place by the Tang Dynasty as covered in subunit 3.2.  The reading assigned beneath subunit 3.3, specifically the section entitled “Rise of the Scholar-Gentry Class,” also covers this topic.  
       
      You should dedicate approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to reading the text on the webpage, exploring embedded hyperlinks, and taking notes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page. 

  • 3.3.4 The Rivals of the Song and the Flight to the South  
  • 3.4 Culture and Society during the Golden Age  
  • 3.4.1 Population Rise  
    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Patricia Ebrey and Conrad Schirokauer’s The Song Economic Revolution: “Population Boom”

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Patricia Ebrey and Conrad Schirokauer’s The Song Economic Revolution: “Population Boom” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read this entire page to explore growth in population during the Song Dynasty.  Be sure to click on the link “Get a closer look at the street life around the city gate...” to view close-up images of the depiction of a Song city gate.  You can zoom in to see different members of Song society from a tax collector to workers to the exterior of an archery shop.  Keep these ideas in mind as you read the next two subunits on commercial expansion and urbanization during the Song Dynasty.  You should spend approximately 30 minutes reading the text and studying the interactive map of the city gate.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page. 

  • 3.4.2 Commercial Expansion and International Trade  
    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Patricia Ebrey and Conrad Schirokauer’s The Song Economic Revolution: “Commercialization” and “From Copper Coins to Paper Notes”

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Patricia Ebrey and Conrad Schirokauer’s The Song Economic Revolution: “Commercialization” (HTML) and “From Copper Coins to Paper Notes” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read both of these pages to explore the Song Dynasty’s innovations in currency and commercialization.  With new commodities and growing urban areas, Chinese merchants sought innovative ways to pay for the sale of goods, including paper money.  Be sure to also read the information in the yellow box on the left-hand side of the “Commercialization” screen entitled, “Market Activity during the Song” to examine how Song merchants operated through local and state networks both in urban areas and the countryside.  Keep these ideas in mind as you read the next two subunits on urbanization and agriculture during the Song Dynasty.  You may also choose to click on the links at the bottom of the “Commercialization” page under the heading “More about Marco Polo” to explore the life of the Venetian merchant who visited China during the 13th century.  We will explore more of Polo’s writings later in the course as well.  You should dedicate approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to reading these webpages and exploring any embedded hyperlinks to read about associated content.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page. 

    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Patricia Ebrey and Conrad Schirokauer’s Song Engagement with the Outside World: “International Trade, Overland and Maritime and According to Marco Polo”

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Patricia Ebrey and Conrad Schirokauer’s Song Engagement with the Outside World: “International Trade, Overland and Maritime and According to Marco Polo” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read all of the sections on this page to understand the impact of foreign trade on the economy of the Song Dynasty.  Click on any embedded hyperlinks of interest to learn more about associated content.  What types of commodities moved over land and sea during the period?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of overland travel as compared to maritime trade?  Keep these ideas in mind as you read the next two subunits on urbanization and agriculture during the Song Dynasty.  This reading and these questions should take you approximately  1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page. 

  • 3.4.3 Urban Environments  
    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Patricia Ebrey and Conrad Schirokauer’s The Cities of the Song: “A New Kind of City Emerges” and “Hangzhou and the Urban Elite”

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Patricia Ebrey and Conrad Schirokauer’s The Cities of the Song: “A New Kind of City Emerges” (HTML) and “Hangzhou and the Urban Elite” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read both of these pages to explore the new urban environments created during the Song Dynasty.  By examining the lives of people from all classes, ranging from the poor to the elite, you can better understand the rapid urban expansion that took place during the period of the Song.  Be sure to also read the information in the yellow box on the left-hand side of the “A New Kind of City Emerges” screen entitled, “Kaifeng, Prosperous Capital of the Northern Song” to examine a brief description of the environment of the ancient city.  How do these descriptions compare with your own experiences navigating through large cities in our modern world?  How did the flow of goods from the Silk Roads affect the rise of cities during the Song?  This reading and these questions should take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page. 

  • 3.4.4 Expanding Agrarian Production  
    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Patricia Ebrey and Conrad Schirokauer’s Technological Advances during the Song: “Rice Cultivation”

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Patricia Ebrey and Conrad Schirokauer’s Technological Advances during the Song: “Rice Cultivation” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the section entitled “Rice Cultivation” and “A Labor-Intensive Crop” to learn about the agricultural changes that occurred during the Song Dynasty with regards to growing rice.  Be sure to also read the information in the yellow box on the left-hand side of the screen entitled, “New Varieties of Rice” to examine the early-ripening rice from Vietnam and how it impacted Chinese agriculture.  Please also click on the links at the bottom of the page to read more about rice cultivation in China and to see photographic images of archaeological sites.  Reading this main text and exploring the embedded hyperlinks for further information should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page. 

  • 3.4.5 The Family, Women, and Children  

    Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 3.3.2.  Look specifically at the sections entitled, “The Centrality of the Family in Confucian Teaching,” “The Status of Women,” and “Children.”  Be sure to view each of the images of women and children displayed on the page.  How do these depictions relate to the characteristics of family life during the Song Dynasty as detailed on the website?  

  • 3.4.6 Scholarship and Art  
    • Lecture: iTunes U: University of Louisville’s Survey of Asian Art: “Song Dynasties”

      Link: iTunes U: University of Louisville’s Survey of Asian Art: “Song Dynasties” (iTunes U)
       
      Instructions: Scroll down to the title ‘Song Dynasties,” and click on the “View in iTunes” link to launch the lecture.  Please watch this entire 42-minute podcast on the flourishing of arts that takes place during the Song Dynasty.  Think about how the Song bureaucracy helps to propel the rise of calligraphy, landscape painting, and ceramics.  How does the art of the period change when the Song Imperial Court flees to the South?  Viewing this lecture, taking notes, and answering the question above should take you approximately 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators’ “Great Tang Poets: Li Bo, the "Outsider" Poet (701-762)” and Li Po’s “Drinking Alone by Moonlight”

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: “Great Tang Poets: Li Bo, the "Outsider" Poet (701-762)” (Adobe Flash) and Li Po’s “Drinking Alone by Moonlight” (Adobe Flash)
       
      Instructions: Please click on both of the links above to learn about the poetry of Li Po/Li Bo.  Watch the brief 2-minute videos concerning the poet and his work, which includes commentary by Professor Paul Rouzer.  Li Po wrote extensively during the Tang era, compiling perhaps as many as 1000 poems.  However, Confucian thinkers of the Tang and Song eras criticized Po for his Daoist beliefs.  Nevertheless, his poetry influenced future generations of Western artists, including Gustav Mahler and Ezra Pound.  You should spend approximately 15 minutes with this reading and these brief video lectures.
                 
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on  the linked page.

    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Patricia Ebrey and Conrad Schirokauer’s The Song Confucian Revival: “The Three Perfections and Su Shi”

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Patricia Ebrey and Conrad Schirokauer’s The Song Confucian Revival: “The Three Perfections and Su Shi” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read this entire page in order to examine the cultural pursuits of the scholar-gentry class and most notably the arts of poetry writing, calligraphy, and painting, collectively known as the “Three Perfections.”  This reading also highlights the poetry and calligraphy of the scholar-official Su Shi.  Be sure to also read the information in the yellow box on the left-hand side of the screen entitled, “More about Northern Song Painting and Calligraphy,” where you can click on a link that will further explore artistic works from the collection of the National Palace Museum.  Reading, note-taking, and exploring embedded hyperlinks should take approximately 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page. 

  • Unit 4: Japan  

    Countries on China’s borders, including Japan, were deeply influenced by their powerful neighbor.  Not only did China attempt to expand its power into these regions, but these areas also attempted to emulate many aspects of Chinese society. 

    In Japan, the influence of Chinese civilization was most evident during the Imperial Age.  Between the seventh and ninth centuries, bureaucratic reforms borrowed heavily from those initiated in China.  In addition, intellectuals and aristocrats embraced Chinese literary, artistic, and religious traditions.  Many Japanese, heavily influenced by Chinese Buddhism, integrated it into their indigenous Shinto belief system.  But as imperial Japan weakened and the provincial aristocracy gained power, Chinese customs were increasingly disregarded.  The rise of Heian aristocracy led to a “flowering” of art and literature, along with a departure from the Chinese writing system. This unit will analyze the early development of Japanese social, political and cultural systems.

    Unit 4 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 4 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 4.1 Early Japan  
    • Reading: The Ohio State University: Professor Mark Bender’s Module 2: Histories of East Asia: “Japanese History”

      Link: The Ohio State University: Professor Mark Bender’s Module 2: Histories of East Asia: “Japanese History” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above to access the Ohio State University website, and then click on the link entitled “Japanese History” on the left-hand side of the page.  Read the sections entitled “Introduction,” “Prehistory,” and “Early Kingdoms and Classical Age” in order to examine the social, political, and cultural development of Japanese civilization.  Please note that this resource covers the topics outlined in Subunits 4.1.1 and 4.1.2, as well as subunit 4.2 and inclusive Subunits 4.2.1-4.2.4.  Keep this background context in mind while reading excerpts from the Kojiki (the Japanese Creation Myth) in Subunit 4.2.2.  This reading should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 4.1.1 Jomon and Yayoi  
  • 4.1.2 The Tombs Periods and the Yamato Kings  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 4.1.  Focus specifically on the sub-section entitled “Early Kingdoms and Classical Age – Tomb Period.”

  • 4.2 Imperial Japan  
  • 4.2.1 Taika Reforms  

    Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 4.1.  Focus specifically on the sub-section entitled “Early Kingdoms and Classical Age - Age of Reform.”

  • 4.2.2 Nara  
  • 4.2.3 Heian Court Life and Culture  
    • Reading: Princeton University Art Museum’s Asian Art Collection: “Classic Court Culture: Media of Reception and Identity: Heian Period (794-1185)”

      Link: Princeton University Art Museum’s Asian Art Collection: “Classic Court Culture: Media of Reception and Identity: Heian Period (794-1185)” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read all sections of this page in order to examine the aristocratic, religious, and cultural developments of the Heian Period in Japan.  Be sure to click on the icon at the top of the page titled “Selections from the Collection.”  In this collection, view the several religious objects from the period including a decorative Buddhist sutra, an item that would have been made by members of the aristocracy that functioned as both a gift and a religious act.  Click on each item to get a more detailed understanding of its contextual background.   You should dedicate approximately 1 hour to reading this text and viewing and studying the images in the collection.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

    • Reading: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Medieval Japanese History: “Chapter 8: Heian Period Literature”

      Link: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Medieval Japanese History: “Chapter 8: Heian Period Literature” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read this entire chapter, which contains numerous excerpts from Japanese Heian literature including poetry, music, and a section of the famous novel Tale of the Genji.  Click on any embedded hyperlinks to explore associated content.  Think about the previous reading on Heian aristocrats as you go through this chapter.  How did aristocratic and religious life in the Heian court affect the growth of literature during this period?  Do these stories and poems represent the lives of all Japanese people or just those living in Heian-kyo?  Why did this period produce an abundance of artist and literary works?  This reading and these questions should take you approximately 3 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page. 

    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Murasaki Shikibu’s Tale of the Genji

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Murasaki Shikibu’s Tale of the Genji (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read this brief chapter from the Tale of the Genji, which is generally attributed as being the first novel.  Use the study questions at the bottom of the page to examine how this prominent piece of literature is demonstrative of the aristocratic life of the Heian court.  This reading and these questions should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 4.2.4 Decline of Imperial Power  
  • 4.2.5 Rise of the Provincial Warrior Elite  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath Subunit 4.2.4.  Focus specifically on the section entitled “The Kamakura Period.”

  • 4.2.6 Mappo, Buddhism, and Religion in Early Japan  
    • Reading: Columbia University’s East Asian Curriculum Project: Kamo no Chomei’s “H?j?ki (An Account of My Hut)”

      Link: Columbia University’s East Asian Curriculum Project: Kamo no Chomei’s “H?j?ki (An Account of My Hut)” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read this excerpt from a classic work of the Kamakura period in Japan.  Compare the Buddhist notion of “mappo” or the ending of a cosmic cycle with all of the disasters that befall the author.  The work, with its powerful opening lines, is still taught today in Japanese schools.  Take a moment to think about why they might resonate so strongly not only with the Japanese but also with people from all over the world.  Try to answer the exercises at the bottom of the page to test your knowledge. This reading should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 4.3 Feudal Japan  
  • 4.3.1 Cultural Impact of the Samurai  
    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators’ The Tale of the Heike

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators’ The Tale of the Heike (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read these excerpts from The Tale of the Heike, and review the discussion questions at the bottom of the page.  One of the most popular war epics in Japanese history, The Tale of the Heike, is a re-telling of the actual conflict between the Taira (Heike) and Minamoto (Genji) clans in the Genpei War of the 12th century.  Though a work of fiction based in part on real people and events, the story vividly describes the samurai warrior culture of Japan during the period.  As you read these passages, think about the ways in which the characters viewed death and honor.  How might they differ from contemporary stigmas associated with suicide?  Reading this text, taking notes, and answering the discussion questions in this set of instructions and on the webpage should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
                 
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 4.3.2 Ashikaga/Muromachi Period and the Origins of Japan’s Unification  
    • Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Department of Asian Art’s “Muromachi Period (1392-1573)”

      Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Department of Asian Art’s “Muromachi Period (1392-1573)” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read this entire webpage to explore the politically unstable Muromachi or Ashikaga Period that led to the Onin war and the eventual unification of Japan.  View the slideshow in order to examine some of the material culture of the period including sculpture, weaponry, clothing, scrollwork, and painting.  Click on each individual item in the slideshow for more detail about the object.  Reading this main text and viewing the slideshow should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Note that this topic is also covered by the reading by Mark Bendler assigned beneath subunit 4.3.  Focus specifically on the sub-section entitled “Feudal Era in Japan – Ashikaga Period.”  It is also discussed in the essay from Ethan Segal, specifically the sections beginning with “Kamakura’s Demise and the Muromachi Bakufu.”
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Unit 5: Korea and Vietnam  

    Similarly to Japan, the earliest developing societies in Korea and Vietnam also felt the direct influence of their Chinese neighbors.

    Korea was more profoundly affected by Chinese civilization than any other region.  Although Korea developed its own distinct cultural and political identity, its earliest kingdom, the Choson, was conquered by the Han dynasty in 109 B.C.E.  After the fall of the Han, Korea adopted many aspects of Chinese culture—including Buddhist and Chinese writing—through the process of Sinification.  The growth of the three kingdoms of Koguryo, Paekche, and Shilla during the first 1000 years of the Common Era eventually led to two unified dynasties: the Shilla and the Koryo.  These dynasties established a growing culture and increasingly complex political structure on the peninsula that assimilated and rejected aspects of the neighboring societies in Japan and China.

    The fertile, rice-growing region of southeast Asia—Vietnam—attracted Chinese interest.  The Viet people, however, maintained a separate society while also voluntarily embracing some aspects of Chinese civilization.  After the Qin dynasty raided Vietnam around 220 B.C.E., commerce increased between the Viets and the Chinese.  However, the Viet people continued to maintain a distinct ethnicity and language from the Chinese.

    In this unit, you will examine the complex relationship between Chinese culture and the early Vietnamese and Korean societies.

    Unit 5 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 5 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 5.1 Korea  
    • Reading: The Ohio State University: Professor Mark Bender’s Module 2: Histories of East Asia: “Korean History”

      Link: The Ohio State University: Professor Mark Bender’s Module 2: Histories of East Asia: “Korean History” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above to access the Ohio State University webpage, and then click on the link entitled “Korean History” on the left-hand side of the page.  Read the sections entitled “Introduction,” “Prehistory and Early Kingdoms,” “Unified Shilla and Koryo Dynasty,” and “The Last Dynasty,” in order to examine the social, political, and cultural development of Korean civilization.  Compare how the development of Korean kingdoms and dynasties with that of the Han, Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties in China.  How did the Chinese form a lasting connection with Korean society?  Examine how the Korean relationship with the Mongols was both beneficial and detrimental to their livelihood on the peninsula.  Please note that this reading covers the topics outlined in Subunits 5.1.1 through 5.1.5.  This reading and these questions should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 5.1.1 Prehistory and the Three Kingdoms: Koguryo, Paekche and Shilla  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 5.1.  Focus specifically on the section entitled “Prehistory and Early Kingdoms.”

  • 5.1.2 The Unified Shilla and Koryo Dynasties  
    • Lecture: iTunes U: Asian Art Museum: Dr. Robert Mowry’s “Ceramics of the Goreyo/Koryo and Joseon/Choson Dynasties”

      Link: iTunes U: Asian Art Museum: Dr. Robert Mowry’s “Ceramics of the Goreyo/Koryo and Joseon/Choson Dynasties” (iTunes U)
       
      Instructions: Scroll down to the title “Ceramics of the Goreyo…,” and select “View in iTunes” to launch the lecture.  Please watch the entire one hour video lecture by Dr. Robert Mowry from Harvard University as he discusses the development of metal and ceramic arts in Korea during the Koryo and Choson Dynasties.  This lecture will enable students to contextualize the artistic objects and to get a sense of the material world of Korea circa 918 CE to 1910 CE.  Listening to this lecture and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 5.1.3 Chinese Influence on Korean Culture  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 5.1.  Focus specifically on the section entitled “Unified Shilla and Koryo Dynasty” to examine how these Korean dynasties modeled their governmental systems (and examination systems in the case of the Koryo) on those of their Chinese neighbors.

  • 5.1.4 Koryo Collapse and Dynastic Renewal  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 5.1.  Focus specifically on the section entitled “The Last Dynasty.”

  • 5.1.5 Buddhism in Korea  
  • 5.2 Vietnam  
  • 5.2.1 Life in the Red and Mekong River Deltas  
  • 5.2.2 Han Conquest, Resistance, and Rebellion  
  • 5.2.3 Independence from China  
    • Reading: Michigan State University: Asian Studies Center’s Windows on Asia: Vietnam-History: “Vietnamese Independence (950 - 1859)”

      Link: Michigan State University: Asian Studies Center’s Windows on Asia: Vietnam-History: “Vietnamese Independence (950-1859)” (HTML)
                 
      Instructions: Please read this entire section concerning the establishment of a series of distinct Vietnamese dynasties.  While these kingdoms still felt the influence (both culturally and militarily) of their Chinese neighbors, the Vietnamese successfully defended themselves from attacks by the Khmer and Cham.  The section ends with the introduction of the French in Vietnam, an outside influence that was both beneficial and detrimental to Vietnamese independence.  Stop when you get to the section “French Colonization (1874- 1954).”  This reading should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 5.2.4 Vietnamese Culture  
  • Unit 6: The Yuan Dynasty  

     The Mongols—nomads of central Asia—dominated world history during the thirteenth century.  The Mongols invaded many postclassical empires and built an extensive cultural and commercial network.  Led by Chinggis Khan and his successors, the Mongols brought China, Persia, Tibet, Asia Minor, and southern Russia under their control.  Though the Mongols are often portrayed as barbarians and destructive warriors, most of the peoples they conquered lived in relative peace, enjoyed religious tolerance, and had a unified law code.  The Mongol empire also opened trade routes and communication between different regions in Asia.
               
    In the mid-1200s, Kubilai Khan, the grandson of Chinggis Khan, invaded China and conquered the Song dynasty.  Known as the House of Yuan, Kubilai Khan’s regime attempted to preserve a distinction between Mongol and Chinese culture.  Chinese were forbidden from learning the Mongol writing system, intermarriage was prohibited between Mongols and Chinese, and Chinese religious customs and civil service examinations were largely ignored.  However, Kubilai Khan styled a Chinese-influenced court in Tatu (Beijing).


    In this unit, you will consider how the Mongols tolerated many aspects of Chinese culture while still preserving their own authority.  You will also study how China—essentially an occupied territory—was affected by foreign domination.

    Unit 6 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 6 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 6.1 The Rise of the Yuan  
  • 6.1.1 The Defeat of the Song  
    • Lecture: iTunes U: University of Louisville’s Survey of Asian Art: “Yuan Dynasty Painting”

      Link: iTunes U: University of Louisville’s Survey of Asian Art: “Yuan Dynasty Painting” (iTunes U)
       
      Instructions: Scroll down to the title “Yuan Dynasty Painting,” and select the “View in iTunes” link to launch the video.  Please watch this entire 14-minute podcast to explore some of the artists who depicted life during the fall of the Song Dynasty and rise of the Yuan Dynasty.  This lecture combines both historical context and visual examples of Chinese painting of the period.  After you view this podcast, write a brief paragraph about the ways in which the Chinese and Mongol cultures were represented through the medium of painting during this volatile moment in history.  Viewing this lecture, taking notes, and writing the paragraph should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 6.1.2 Absolute Monarchy and Centralized Government  
    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators’ The Mongols in China: “What Was the Mongols’ Influence on China?” “Khubilai Khan in China” and “Life in China under Mongol Rule”

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators’ The Mongols in China: “What Was the Mongols’ Influence on China?” (HTML) “Khubilai Khan in China” (HTML) and “Life in China under Mongol Rule” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the section “What Was the Mongols’ Influence on China?” “Khubilai Khan” and all the subsections under “Life in China under Mongol Rule,” including “For Peasants,” “For Artisans,” “For Merchants,” “Legal Codes,” “Civilian Life,” “Religion,” and “Culture.”  These sections will describe the rise of the Yuan Dynasty and the political rule of Khubilai Khan (also spelled Kublai Khan), whose court played home to the Polo family and witnessed a time of economic and social prosperity.  Think about the Chinese social and political institutions that the Mongols adopted and which ones they repudiated with the establishment of the Yuan Dynasty.  The other individual sections demonstrate the everyday lives and institutions that shaped Yuan Dynasty China. Please follow the additional links at the bottom of each subsection to gain further insights into Mongol culture and the legacy of the Yuan Dynasty.  This reading and note-taking should take approximately 2 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 6.1.3 Cross-cultural Encounters  
    • Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Marco Polo “On the Tartars”

      Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Marco Polo “On the Tartars” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the following chapters written by the Venetian merchant Marco Polo, who traveled and lived in China during the Yuan dynasty.  Keep in mind that Polo refers to the Mongols as the “Tartars.”  Though his stories are often exaggerated (and to some degree have questionable authenticity), they do offer the viewpoint of an outsider.  His works would inspire many others to follow in his footsteps and travel to the East (and eventually to the West) in order to seek out the people, places, and goods described in his writings.  This reading and note-taking should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 6.2 The Later Yuan and Reasons for Collapse  
    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators’ The Mongols in China: Beginnings of Mongol Collapse: “Military Successes and Failures” and “Public Works Failures”

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators’ The Mongols in China: Beginnings of Mongol Collapse: “Military Successes and Failures” (HTML) and “Public Works Failures” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the two sections “Military Successes and Failures” and “Public Works Failures” to examine the decline of the Yuan Dynasty, resulting from failed military excursions and the difficulty of maintaining political and social order in such a vast territory.  Be sure to look at the “Related Reading” and “Related Web Link” sections to view primary source materials from the period depicting Mongol art and artifacts of the period.  The archaeology article on the Kamikaze legacy is relevant to both the history of China and Japan.  This main reading and the related readings and web links should take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.
                 
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • Unit 7: East Asia in a New Global  

    When Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer, discovered trading routes to Asia in the fifteenth century, it revolutionized the European world.  However, the Chinese and Japanese were only marginally affected by European contact.  While Europeans were keen to procure Asian goods—paper, silk, cotton textiles, glass, gunpowder—the peoples of China, Japan, and Korea had little interest in Europeans or their trade goods.

    As strong maritime powers, the Portuguese, Dutch, and English exerted control over much of the trading network that stretched from the Middle East to East Asia.  However, while Europeans were able to control the seas, they made few gains on land.  The state and military prowess of China and Japan presented formidable challenges to Europeans.  Even in southeast Asia, where weaker states were more vulnerable to European influence, European tribute systems and missionary efforts had only a limited impact upon native peoples.

    In this unit, you will consider how Europeans came to dominate the Asian trading network between 1500 and 1700.  However, you will also see that East Asian peoples were only marginally affected by this phenomenon—Europeans had few ideas, goods, or religious beliefs that East Asian peoples wanted to embrace.

    Unit 7 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 7 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 7.1 Portuguese and the Age of Discovery  
    • Reading: Smithsonian Institution: Freer & Sackler Galleries’ Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries Online Exhibit, “The Age of Discovery”

      Link: Smithsonian Institution: Freer & Sackler Galleries’ Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries Online Exhibit,
      “The Age of Discovery” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the links on the left-hand side of the screen entitled “Introduction,” “World Views,” and “Lisbon & the Voyages.”  Read each section in its entirety to understand how the small kingdom Portugal became one of the most influential powers in Europe thanks to its voyages of exploration and control of the sea trade in the Indian Ocean Basin and beyond.  Click on each of the images presented on each page to view maps, paintings, and other depictions of Portuguese life during the period.  You should spend approximately 30 minutes reading the text and examining the images.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 7.1.1 Vasco da Gama and the Estado da India  
  • 7.1.2 A Chinese Desire for Silver, Not Manufactured Goods  
    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators’ “The Silver Trade, Part 1”

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators’ “The Silver Trade, Part 1”(HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read this entire page (up to, but not including the section “Silver turns to Opium”) to understand the trade relationship between China and the European powers to the west.  Traditionally, scholars viewed China as being disinterested in European goods, but instead it was silver, a precious metal that could be used for currency, that the Chinese sought through its global trade networks.  Also, watch the video “The Chinese Demand for Silver,” and view the interactive graphic “The Silver Flow” located on the page.  This reading should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 7.2 The World of Asian Trade 7.2 The World of Asian Trade  
  • 7.2.1 The Impact of Arab Traders  
  • 7.2.2 Trade in the Indian Ocean Basin  
  • 7.2.3 From Porcelain to Paper to Silk: Prized Commodities from China  
    • Web Media: Columbia University: Asia for Educators’ “Timeline of Chinese Inventions” and “China’s Gifts to the West”

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators’ “Timeline of Chinese Inventions” (HTML) and “China's Gifts to the West” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please review this timeline and article to get a sense of the range of technological innovations and commodities produced by the Chinese that became a vital part of the trade overland (the Silk Road) and at sea (the Indian Ocean Basin).  The timeline covers a wide expanse of dates from 1300 BCE to 1700 CE and gives a brief comparative look at when some of the same innovations appeared in the West.  Then, read the article “China’s Gifts to the West,” which addresses several of these commodities and innovations (such as silk, paper and porcelain) in greater detail.  As you read, consider the following questions: How did these items affect the trade routes of the Silk Road and the Indian Ocean Basin?  In what ways did European kingdoms and empires benefit from the establishment of trading networks with the East?  This reading and these questions should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

    • Reading: Fordham University’s East Asian History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Matteo Ricci’s “The Art of Printing”

      Link: Fordham University’s East Asian History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Matteo Ricci’s “The Art of Printing” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read this 16th century C.E. excerpt from the diary of a Jesuit missionary, Matteo (or Matthew) Ricci.  The entry discusses the history Chinese printing and the processes by which the Chinese produce printed materials.  This reading should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

    • Reading: Smithsonian Institution: Freer & Sackler Galleries’ Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries Online Exhibit, “Merchants and Missionaries in China”

      Link: Smithsonian Institution: Freer & Sackler Galleries’ Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries Online Exhibit, “Merchants and Missionaries in China” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the links on the left-hand side of the screen entitled “Introduction,” “Macau,” “South China,” and “Beijing.”  Read each section in its entirety to the different trading centers and commodities sought after by the Portuguese in China.  Be sure to click on the images in each section to examine some of the objects of material culture that would have been traded in this region.  Reading the text and exploring the images should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 7.2.4 Spices  
  • 7.3 Other European Empires in the Asian Trade  
  • 7.3.1 The Dutch in Asia  
  • 7.3.2 The British in Asia  
    • Reading: University of Wisconsin: Professor J. P. Sommerville’s “Elizabeth I: Exploration and Foreign Policy”

      Link: University of Wisconsin: Professor J. P. Sommerville’s “Elizabeth I: Exploration and Foreign Policy” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the sections entitled “Exploration” and “Trade” to explore the English interest in Asian commodities during the 16th century reign of Queen Elizabeth I.  Many terms and names appear in hypertext.  By clicking on them, you can find out more information about the prominent individuals and terms associated with the English involvement in Asian trade.  You should dedicate approximately 1 hour to read the main text and explore the associated content by clicking on any embedded hyperlinks.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

    • Reading: Columbia University’s FATHOM Archive: Anthony Farrington’s Trading Places: The East India Company and Asia, “Sessions 1, 4, and 5”

      Link: Columbia University’s FATHOM Archive: Anthony Farrington’s Trading Places: The East India Company and Asia, “Session 1,”  “Session 4,” and “Session 5” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the entire introduction and then click on the links at the bottom of the page to read Sessions 1 (The Beginnings of the English East India Company), 4 (Trading Tea and Porcelain with China), and 5 (The Impact of the East India Company).  These readings will examine the impact of the British East Asia Company on trade in Asia from the 17th to 19th centuries.  Each session is adapted from Anthony Farrington’s exhibit and book on the English East India Company.  The sessions also feature detailed maps and images from the period that help to convey the scenery and commodities associated with the British trade in Asia.  Write a paragraph or two about how the British approach to Asian trade compares to those of the Portuguese and Dutch empires.  Reading, note-taking, and writing this paragraph should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 7.4 Missionary Efforts  
    • Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of John of Monte Corvino’s “Report from China” 1305

      Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of John of Monte Corvino’s “Report from China, 1305"
       
      Instructions: Please read this entire letter from John of Monte Corvino, a Franciscan priest and missionary who set up a religious community in Khanbaliq (or Cambaliech as he refers to it), the Mongol (Tartar) capital built by Khubilai Khan.  Compare this account of a European interacting with the Mongols with Marco Polo’s account.  How do they differ?  How did the Mongol people respond to John’s efforts?  This reading and these questions should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • Unit 8: Splendid Isolation: Ming China and Japan  

    Squeezed between two “foreign” dynasties—the Yuan and the Qing—the Ming dynasty attempted to place Chinese governance back in Chinese hands.  Oppressed by the rule of the Mongols, the Ming rose to power when Zhu Yuanzhang, a military commander of peasant origins, led a revolt against the Mongols.  He declared himself emperor Hongwu in 1368 and sought to expel all Mongols and their influences.  After establishing himself at the capital in Nanjing, Hongwu worked to remedy what he saw as the defects of the Mongol system.  He styled himself as an absolutist ruler and consolidated his authority over the nobility.  He also reintroduced the civil service examination system and assumed control of much of the administration of his empire.  However, although commercial exchange between Ming China and European states increased exponentially during this time, Hongwu and his successors believed that isolationism, rather than exploration and expansion, would best preserve China.

    And in Japan, feudalism persisted between the 1300s and 1700s.  During this period, powerful regional families called daimyo and Japanese warlords known as shogun dominated the state.  While conflict between the daimyos ushered in the era known as the “Warring States Period” in the latter fifteenth century, Japan became united politically and militarily by1600 under the leadership of Tokugawa.  Like China, Japan adopted a policy of isolationism despite persistent European ploys for commercial goods and Christian conversion.

    In this unit, you will study how both Ming China and feudal Japan remained largely isolated from the European world, concentrating instead in internal development and domestic conflicts.

    Unit 8 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 8 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 8.1 The Rise of the Ming Dynasty  
  • 8.1.1 Zhu Yuanzhang and the Defeat of the Yuan  

    Note: This topic is covered by Mark Bender’s reading assigned below subunit 8.1. Please focus on the first paragraph.

  • 8.1.2 Scholar-Gentry Revival  

    Note: This topic is covered by Mark Bender’s reading assigned below subunit 8.1.  Please focus on the second paragraph.

  • 8.1.3 Ming Culture  
    • Lecture: iTunes U: Oxford University: Craig Clunas’ “Painting as Visual and Material Culture in Ming China”

      Link: iTunes U: Oxford University: Craig Clunas’ “Painting as Visual and Material Culture in Ming China” (iTunes U)
       
      Instructions: Scroll down to the title “Painting as Visual and Material…,” and select the “View in iTunes” link to launch the lecture.  Please listen to the entire 52-minute lecture from Oxford University Professor of the History of Art Craig Clunas in order to examine some of the cultural aspects of 16th century Ming China, namely the visual arts.  Professor Clunas situates painting in the social and economic context of the Ming Dynasty.  Think about how the skills required for painting and writing in calligraphy related to a person’s social status during the period and how this connects to the Song Dynasty notion of the “Three Perfections.”  Listening to this lecture and taking-notes should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: University of Washington’s Visual Sourcebook of Chinese CivilizationHistory: Professor Patricia Buckley Ebrey’s “Gardens”

      Link: University of Washington’s Visual Sourcebook of Chinese CivilizationHistory: Professor Patricia Buckley Ebrey’s “Gardens” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and explore the series of pages, complete with text and images that examine Chinese garden design, a significant cultural aspect of Ming Dynasty China.  Read the text on the initial webpage, and then click on the links for “Origin” through “Tour,” reviewing the information on each webpage.  This resource will explore the origin, design, and social uses of outdoor landscapes.  Be sure to answer the study questions that are woven into the text as they will help to focus your understanding of why garden design was such an integral aspect of Ming culture.  You should dedicate approximately 2 hours to studying the information on this website.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 8.1.4 Zhenghe Expeditions and Commercial Prosperity  
    • Reading: PBS NOVA: Evan Hadingham’s “Ancient Chinese Explorers”

      Link: PBS NOVA: Evan Hadingham’s “Ancient Chinese Explorers” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the entire article in order to examine the era of cross-cultural trade and Chinese sea power in the Indian Ocean basin during the Ming Dynasty.  Of particular note are the exploits of the eunuch admiral Zhenghe (or Zheng He), who sailed on numerous trading missions to distant ports in Africa and India aboard ships that dwarfed the European watercraft of the time.  This reading should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Note that this topic is also covered by the reading assigned below subunit 8.1.  Please focus on the third and fourth paragraphs of the subunit 8.1 reading as these detail the explorations of Zheng He and the agricultural advances of the Ming Dynasty.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Dr. Sue Gronewald’s “The Ming Voyages”

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: Dr. Sue Gronewald’s “The Ming Voyages” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read this entire essay on the voyages of exploration that took place during the Ming Dynasty.  Please read over and try to answer the discussion questions at the end to gain a sense of your understanding of the material presented in this subunit.  Reading, note-taking, and answering questions should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 8.1.5 European Contact and Isolationist Policy  

    Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 8.1.  Please focus on the third, fourth, and fifth paragraphs to understand how the Ming Dynasty both benefited and eventually turned away from European influences.

  • 8.2 Political Unity in Japan  
    • Reading: The Ohio State University: Professor Mark Bender’s Module 2: Histories of East Asia: “Japanese History”

       Link: The Ohio State University: Professor Mark Bender’s Module 2: Histories of East Asia: “Japanese History” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above to access the Ohio State University’s webpage.  Then, on the left side of the webpage, click on the link entitled “Japanese History,” and next click on the link to “Tokugawa (Edo) Period AD 1600-1867.”  Read this entire section.  This reading should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

    • Reading: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Pre-Modern Japanese History: “Chapter 6: Early-Modern Japan, The Political Narrative”

      Link: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Pre-Modern Japanese History: “Chapter 6: Early-Modern Japan, The Political Narrative” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the links titled “Japan Reunified” and “First Fifty Years of the Tokugawa Peridod [sic]” on the left-hand side of the screen.  Read these sections in order to explore unification of Japan under Oda Nabunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and ultimately Tokugawa Ieyasu.  Note that this reading will cover the material you need to know for Subunits 8.2.1 and 8.2.2.  Some of the embedded hyperlinks in the text are broken, but most links provide images and additional resources for exploring.  This reading and note-taking should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.

      Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain.  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 8.2.1 The Floating World and Tokugawa Culture  
    • Reading: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Japanese Cultural History: “Chapter 7: The World of Sex in Tokugawa and Meiji Japan”

      Link: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Japanese Cultural History: “Chapter 7: The World of Sex in Tokugawa and Meiji Japan
       (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the links entitled “Woodblock Prints as Popular, Consumable Culture” and “The Language of Sex in Tokugawa Japan” on the left-hand side of the screen.  Read these sections to get a sense of the consumer culture, namely in the form of woodblock prints during the Tokugawa period. These readings also examine the culture and language of sexuality in Edo society. Think about the idea of ukiyo-e or “The Floating World.”  How does it compare/contrast with the political landscape of the Edo period?  What can we learn from studying aspects of Japanese commercial culture?  Some of the embedded hyperlinks in the text are broken, but most links provide images and additional resources for exploring.  This reading should take you approximately 1 and 30 minutes hour to complete.

      Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain.  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

    • Reading: George Mason University: Roy Rosenzweig Center for History’s Women in World History: Early Modern Period Primary Sources: Kaibara Ekiken or Kaibara Token’s “Onna daigaku / Greater Learning for Women”

      Link: George Mason University: Roy Rosenzweig Center for History’s Women in World History: Early Modern Period Primary Sources: Kaibara Ekiken or Kaibara Token’s “Onna daigaku / Greater Learning for Women” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read this brief primary source excerpt from the 18th century. Written during the Edo period, this excerpt discusses the gender roles of women in Japanese society.  While later generations would criticize its premise, Kaibara, a Confucian scholar outlines the societal expectations of a woman from youth to adulthood.  How does this passive and submissive view compare to the other depictions of women’s roles presented in this course, such as Ban Zhao’s Lessons for Women from Han Dynasty China?  This reading and question should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the linked page.

  • 8.2.2 European and Christian Influences  
  • 8.2.3 Isolationism  
  • Unit 9: The Last Dynasty: Qing China  

    The Qing Dynasty was founded when the Manchu—a Tungusic people from what is now northeast China—overthrew the Ming dynasty in 1644.  The Qing incorporated many elements of the former Ming state but also attempted institute a system of more direct rule through local officials.  The Qing retained the civil service examination system and preserved the role of the scholar-gentry.  Nevertheless, despite the Qing’s efforts to continue many Ming traditions and customs, tensions between the Manchu rulers and the native Han Chinese continued to exist.  As the ruling minority, the Qing exercised their control over the Chinese majority by imposing a Queue Order—shaving the head except for a single long braid—and through literary censorship.  The punishment for defying the Qing government—through literature or by growing one’s hair—was usually death.  But by the eighteenth century, Qing control was showing signs of weakness.  The examination system was plagued by corruption, with many wealthy families buying political posts or inheriting them.  Money for internal improvements and other projects often ended up in the pockets of local bureaucrats.  And several floods and famines only added to the political unrest and social strife that was brewing in the Qing state.  Then, in 1796, the White Lotus Rebellion broke out between impoverished and overtaxed settlers and Manchu rulers.  Although the Manchu eventually quelled the rebellion in 1804, the conflict killed 16 million people and shattered the image of an invincible Qing state.

    In this unit, you will study how the Qing attempted to exert control over the native Han Chinese population.  However, you will also examine how tensions between the native Chinese and the Manchu rulers began to surface in the late eighteenth century.

    Unit 9 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 9 Learning Outcomes   show close
    • Reading: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: “Chapter 10: Late Imperial China”

      Link: Penn State University: Professor Gregory James Smits’ Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: “Chapter 10: Late Imperial China” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link entitled “Founding of the Qing Dynasty” on the left-hand side of the screen and read the section in order to explore the rise of the Qing Dynasty and the role of Manchus in its new order.  Note that this reading will cover the material you need to know for subunits 9.1.1-9.1.2 and 9.2 through 9.4.  Some of the hyperlinks in the text are broken, but most links provide images and additional resources for exploring.  This reading should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain.

  • 9.1 Another “Foreign” Dynasty  
  • 9.1.1 Manchu Invasion  

    Click on the link on the left-hand side of the page entitled, “The Ming Dynasty,” and read the last three paragraphs to understand the origin of the Manchu people and their rise to dynastic power in China.

  • 9.1.2 Founding of the Qing and Continuities and Differences from the Ming  

    Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 9.1.  Focus specifically on the first four paragraphs under “Founding of the Qing.”

  • 9.2 The Manchu State  
  • 9.3 Economy and Society  
    • Reading: Columbia University and The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Recording the Grandeur of the Qing: Madeleine Zelin’s “The Grandeur of the Qing Economy”

      Link: Columbia University and The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Recording the Grandeur of the Qing: Madeleine Zelin’s “The Grandeur of the Qing Economy” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read this entire page to explore the complex economy of the Qing Dynasty.  Also, click on the embedded hyperlink to “The Ming Voyages” to read more associated content.  Through a complex market structure, long-distance trade, metallic currency, a hierarchy of merchants, tax revenues, and agricultural production, the Qing built a powerful and extensive economy.  Think about the ways in which the state controlled local merchants and how the Grand Canal facilitated the movement of goods within the dynasty’s borders.  This main reading and “The Ming Voyages” reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: K'ang Hsi’ The Sacred Edicts (1670)

      Link: K'ang Hsi’ The Sacred Edicts (1670) (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read these edicts as issued by the 16-year old Qing emperor K’ang Hsi to gain an understanding of the deep influence of Confucian values in the social order of Qing China.  Think about the following questions as you read this excerpt.  What do these ideas say about the values of Chinese society at the time?  Who is the audience that the edicts are addressed to?  Does it mean that everyone followed these edicts?  Who benefits most from following these instructions?  This reading and these questions should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 9.4 Weaknesses of the Qing Dynasty  
  • 9.4.1 A Corrupt Examination System  
    • Reading: Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Professor Alan Baumler’s “Wu Ching-tzu/Wu JingziRulin Waishi (The Scholars)”

      Link: Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Professor Alan Baumler’s “Wu Ching-tzu/Wu Jingzi Rulin Waishi (The Scholars) (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the excerpt from Chapter 3 to explore an 18th century (and perhaps China’s first) satirical novel.  By looking at the harsh inequities of the examination system that severely limited advancement in Chinese society, Wu Ching-tzu presents a window into the corruption of the Qing bureaucracy.  The author chronicles the hypocrisy and dishonesty of Confucian officials in a series of interwoven narratives.  Wu Ching-tzu’s goal is not so much to condemn the examination system, as it is to restore the system to its previous form.  This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

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  • 9.4.2 Hereditary or Purchased Positions  

    Note: This topic is covered by the reading (“The Grandeur of the Qing State”) assigned below subunit 9.2, specifically the sub-section “3. Examination System for Entry to Government Service.”

  • 9.4.3 Decline of Revenue and Spending  

    Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 9.2.

  • 9.4.4 Floods and Famine  
  • Final Exam