Paul Halsall/Brooklyn College/1996-99
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This module is an introduction to Chinese culture. The approach will be one which sees culture as the
system of shared ideas and meanings, explicit and implicit, which a people use to interpret the world and which serve to pattern
their behavior [Patricia Ebrey]. This concept of culture includes an understanding of the art, literature, and history
of a society, but also less tangible aspects such as attitudes, prejudices, folklore and so forth. With China we will
find a tradition of civilization marked for over 3000 years by the use of writing, urbanization, a developed artistic culture,
social stratification and a political structure which more or less successfully coordinated a huge population.
Readings and Texts on the Web
Students are required to do a certain amount of assigned reading outside class. The readings for this course
comes in two forms - articles on reserve/[in course packet] and documents and images available on the World Wide Web. By the
end of the course students should be able to evaluate for themselves both material from Chinese sources and the varied interpretations
given to the to those sources.
World Wide Web
Virtually all of the readings for each class are on the World Wide Web. If you are reading the
online version of this syllabus all you need do is to select [often by "clicking"] the texts in question, which are listed
under each class. You can then read on screen, or print out the document. [For the computer-phobic copies may be made available
in the library reserve room.] This option puts you, as Brooklyn College students, on the cutting edge of technology.
The Internet is now a valuable research tool for students. Accordingly I shall also make this syllabus, course outline,
lecture notes, and other class handouts available on the Web. Under each class there may also be reading material
(marked as such), gathered from various WWW Extra sites. This material addresses or expands upon issues overlooked
in the assigned readings.
Quizzes: There are self-grading quizzes for each section of the course. These are only available
on the Class Website. They are for practice only, will not contain the same questions as in class quizzes, but should help
you prepare and test yourself.
To access the class page from Netscape or Internet Explorer, just type in (at the prompt):
Class Discussion list
core9china-l is a lively and active class email discussion list associated with this
course. I have added all students who gave me email addresses. Send me email if you are not on the lits, but want to join,-
To access a threaded archive of the discussion list - core9china-l, go to:
To access a archive by date posted of the discussion list - core9china-l, go to:
You must activate your college assigned email account for this semester. [See my explanation of How to Activate Your College Email Account.] In the Library, in the Atrium computer lab, and at other sites on campus, there are terminals where you can access the
Web. If you find the Brooklyn College email system to difficult to use, try the free email available at any web browser from
Comparative Final Exam [20% of overall grade]
China Module [40% of overall grade]
Module [40% of overall grade]
- Module Project 50% of China module grade [See Module Project Page for due dates]
- Module Exam - 30% of China module grade
- Participation in class and email discussion, quizzes, and exercises -20% of module grade
Calendar [for Spring 1999 sections]
Section SA [Monday evenings]
- Projects - decision must be made on option and subject - Feb 22
- Project Options 2/3/4 - bibliography and outline - due March 8
- Project: Option I - final paper due March 22
- Project Options 2/3/4 - final report due April 12
- China Module Exam - March 22
- Final Exam - May 24: 8:30-10:30pm
Section K [Mon/Wed 4:25-5:40pm]
- Projects - decision must be made on option and subject - Mar 29
- Project Options 2/3/4 - bibliography and outline - due Mar 12
- Project: Option I - final paper due May 3
- Project Options 2/3/4 - final report due May 17
- China Module Exam - May 19
- Final Exam - May 26: 6-8pm
ATTENDANCE: Attendance will be taken every class. you are expected to attend every class. If you are absent, you
must provide a written excuse and any documentation (e.g. a doctor's note). Any student who is absent more than twice (which
is equivalent to six regular class meetings), receives a failing grade. A consistent pattern of lateness will also negatively
effect your final grade.
PROJECTS: Projects must be handed in on time, unless an extension is given. They must conform to the Stylesheet guidelines handed out separately.
EXAMS: Make up exams will only be given for medical reasons.
HONOR: Cheating will result in an F for any paper or exam in which it is detected.
CLASS BEHAVIOR: Eating is not appropriate in class. Neither is walking in and out during class time.
Students are encouraged to make an appointment with the instructor to discuss papers and/or issues raised
The course is based on seven thematic sections through which we shall try to come to grips with Chinese culture.
The seven sections are:-
In general we shall do one "class" per class meeting. To allow some flexibility, however, I will not assign classes to
specific dates. You will know what to read next by where we are in the course.
NOTES ON THE COURSE OUTLINE
- Lecture - lecture notes for each class may be made available. These correspond in some way to what happens in class.
For review purposes the topics given under each class should be used.
- Textbook readings are given for W. Scott Morton: China: Its History and Culture. 3d. ed. (New
York: McGraw-Hill, 1995) This is not a required text, but some students may find it helpful to buy..
- Map links to an online color map related to the lecture..
- Assigments It would be best for you to read ALL the readings. However, they are marked according
ü means that the text is online.
RED means the text MUST BE READ BEFORE CLASS.
GREEN means it might make more sense to read this text after class
References to WWW Extra refer to optional
reading available via the World Wide Web
- References to WWW Link refer to World Wide Web sites related to the class topics.
Section 1: Introduction: The Nature of Culture
Class Topics: The "foreignness" of China/foreignness of the West - stereotypes and cultural traits. Ethnocentrism. Images
of China and images of the Chinese.
Section 2: Tiananmen: Gate of Heavenly Peace
Online Self-Grading Quiz
Documents on the Gate of Heavenly Peace
[all on the PBS Tiananmen web site]
- GHP- Review with Background Information ü
from Newsweek Inc. 1995
- GHP - Interview with Directors ü
The GATE OF HEAVENLY PEACE Press Conference October 12, 1995, excepts by Henri Behar
- GHP - Tiananmen Square Interpretations - The official Government View ü
"The Truth About the Beijing Turmoil", Edited by the Editorial Board of The Truth about
the Beijing Turmoil
- GHP - Criticism Chinese Government and Attempts to Stop the Film ü
Letter to the Director of the Washington DC International Film Festival from the Press
Counsel of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China, and a letter written in response
- GHP Criticism by Western Writers and Response [and Re-Response] ü
The New York Review of Books (May 9, 1996)
- GHP - Criticism by Student Leaders ü
Article by Ye Ren, from The 90s, July August 1995
- GHP - The Modern Democracy Movement in Exile and Gate of Heavenly Peace ü
Excerpt from "Totalitarian Nostalgia" in Geremie Barmé's In The Red: Contemporary Chinese
Culture, New York: Columbia University Press, forthcoming 1997.
- GHP Discussion 3: China, Post-1989 Intellectuals and Foreigners ü
"To Screw Foreigners in Patriotic: China's Avant -Garde Nationalist" from Geremie R. Barmé,
From The China Journal, No. 34, July 1995.
- WWW Extra: Key Characters in the Film
- WWW Extra: Chronology of Tiananmen Square Events
- WWW Link: Audio and Video Clips [only try if you have a very fast net connection]
- WWW Link: More Online Reading on Gate of Heavenly Peace
Section 3: Jen: Geography, Language, and Early History
Morton: 5-10 (land and people)
18-21 (language), xix-xx (spelling and pronunciation)
11-17 (Prehistoric origins)
64-70 (Han Culture)
71-75 (Six Kingdoms)
84-97 (Tang Culture)
98-112 (Medieval Culture)
On Geography: Politics and Facts
On Language: Dialects and Languages
On Early History: Chinese history from the viewpoint of the elite and the masses
Geography: Chinese origins. Yellow River. Yangzi River. North and South, Arable land. Notion of "Asia"
Language: Chinese language and Chinese writing. "Language" and "dialect", "tones", "characters"
History: Evolution: humans in China. Origins of complex societies. Shang China: archeology, oracle bones,
bronzes, buildings, human sacrifice. Chinese Cultural Coordinates: writing -jen, -yin/yang, dao, the state, history, peasants.
The Dynastic Cycle. Zhou dynasty: Mandate of Heaven [Tian], chaos and classics [Confucius and Laozi]. Qin dynasty: Qin Shi
Huang-di, Legalism,Great Wal. Han Dynasty: state and examinations, Changan, Central Asia and Rome. Science & Technology:
seismograph, compass, paper. Sui dynasty and "Reunification". Tang Dynasty: state and rebellion, Tang art, typical pottery
style, Tang Poetry-Li Bo and Wang Wei. Technology: gunpowder, printing. Penetration of Japan and Korea. Penetration by India.
Song Dynasty: state, rice economy, art, poetry. Endurance of Chinese World
Section 4: San Jiao: Chinese Religion
Morton: 29-38 (Confucianism)
42-44 (Mohism and Legalism)
- Selection from the Dao De Jing ü
- WWW Extra: The Dao De Jing Tao Te Ching*, version 1, an Interpolation by Peter A. Merel (email@example.com) based upon the translations of: Lin Yutang,
Ch'u Ta-Kao, Gia-Fu Feng & Jane English, Richard Wilhelm and Aleister Crowley. complete, taken from internet site
- WWW Extra: The Dao De Jing Tao Te Ching*, Tao Te Ching, version 2, complete, taken from a version on the internet.
- WWW Extra: The Dao De Jing Tao Te Ching*, Tao Te Ching, version 3, complete, taken from a version by S. Mitchell.
- WWW Extra: The Dao De Jing Tao Te Ching*, Tao Te Ching, version 4, complete by Peter Merel, GNL Version.
- WWW Extra: Selections from the Zhuangzi
- Image: Yin-Yang Symbol
- Image: People: Laozi
- Image: Divinity: Three Daoist Gods
- Image: Divinity: The Three Gods of Fortune [San Hsing]
- Image: Divinity: The God of Wealth in His Civil Aspect
- Image: Divinity: Wen-ch'ang, the Daoist God of Literature
- Image: Custom: Picture of New Year's Dragon
Confucianism: Confucius: ren, li, junzi, human nature, the state, respect, religion, life after death. Mohism. Legalism:
Lord Shang and Han fei. Confucianism vs. Legalism. Japan and Confucius. Neo-Confucianism: Zhu Xi-li (form)/ and Oi (matter).
Problems with Confucianism
Daoism: Nature. Laozi and the Dao De Jing. Zhuangzi: Wu wei and the Tao of Physics. Daoism and Confucianism. Popular Daoism
Buddhism: Indian Religion. Gautama: dukkha, Middle Path. Teaching: Dharma and Karma, Tripitaka,3 Precious Things (Jewels).
Buddha, dharma. sangha. Four Noble truths. Eightfold path. Sutras. Asoka 272-36 CE. Hinayana/Theravada. Mahayana: Bodhisattvas,
Maitreya/Mi-lo-fo/Pu-tai. Avalokitesvara/Guan yin. Amitibha/Amida/O-mi-to-fo.. Buddhism in China: Kumarajiva/ Faxian. Buddhism
and Taoism. Lotus Sutra: Sukhavati/pure land.. Buddhist art. Vajrayana/Tibetan Buddhism -Tantra: Dalai Lama. Chan Buddhism:
Bodhidharma/Pu-di-da-mo and Hui-neng
Other Religions: Nestorianism. Judaism. Islam and -contacts with Islamic world
Section 5: Chinese Gender Systems
On Gender Systems and Sexuality
- The Homosexual Tradition in China: Selections from Chinese Homosexual Literature ü
- Wu Tsao: China's Lesbian Poet ü
- Vivien W. Ng. "Homosexuality and the State in Late Imperial China ", [in Martin Bauml Duberman, Martha Vincinus and George
Chauncey Jr., eds., Hidden From History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past, (New York: NAL, 1989), 76-89]
- Manifesto of 1996 Chinese Tongzhi Conference ü
- Four Recent Press Reports on Gay Life in China ü
- Mary M. Anderson, Hidden Power: The Palace Eunuchs of Imperial China , (Buffalo NY: Prometheus, 1990), 15-18, 307-11 ü
- Death of China's Last Eunuch, New York Times, December 1996, ü
- Image: Custom: A young eunuch exposes effects of castration
- Text: Ban Zhao Pan Chao: Lessons for A Woman:The Views of A Female Confucian (c. 80 CE) ü
- Margery Wolf, "Chinese Women: Old Skills in a New Context ", in Michelle Zimbalist Rosaldo & Louise Lamphere, eds., Women,
Culture, and Society , (Stanford CA: Stanford University Press, 1974), 157-72
- Dorothy Ko, Teachers of the Inner Chambers: Women and Culture in Seventeenth-Century China, (Stanford CA: Stanford University
Press, 1994), 1-26, 142-76
- Tom Hilditch, A Holocaust of Girls, from South China Morning Post ü
- Pruitt, Ida, A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman by Ida Pruitt from the Story Told Her by Ning
Lao T'ai t'ai, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1945, repr. Stanford CA; Stanford University Press, 1967)
- Daughter of Han Reading Guide ü
- Text: Women in China: History and the Present ü
- WWW Extra: Fu Xuan: Poem on Woman (c, 3rd, Century CE)
- WWW Extra: Women in China: Press Reports
- WWW Extra: Modern Marriage in China - Two Texts ü
- WWW Extra: NY Times Report on Recent UN Women's Conference ü
- Image: Custom: Picture of Woman With Feet Unbound
- Image: Custom: Picture of Unbound Feet Close Up
- Image: Custom: Woman with bound feet (shoed)
- Image: Custom: A bound foot - closeup
- Image: People: Ning Lao T'ai-t'ai
Class Topics: Gender, eunuch, Mia Xia. Ban Zhao, Patrilinearity, Bound Feet, Communist Marriage Ethic
Section 6: Zhong guo: China and the World I
Morton: 115-22 (Mongols)
123-27, 133-36 (Ming)
- Marco Polo, Selection from The Travels of Marco Polo ü
- Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, (New York: Random House, 1987), pp. 3-30 excerpts ü
- Lynda Shaffer, China, Technology and Change, World History Bulletin, 4:1ü
- WWW Extra: Matteo Ricci, Selection from his Journals (1583-1610 CE)) ü
- WWW Extra: Matteo Ricci, The Art of Printing ü
- Map: The Mongol Empire
- Image: People: Genghis Khan
- Image: People:: Kublai Khan
- Image: People: Kublai Khan 2
- Image: Hist Illus.: Mongol Archers
- Image: People: Marco Polo
- Image: Art: Statuette of Actor under Yuan Dynasty
- Map: China - Under Ming Dynasty
- Image: People: Founder of Ming Dynasty
- Image: Divinity: A Ming Dynasty Temple
- Image: Hist. Illus.: The Ming Tribute System
- Image: Art: Ming Dynasty Vase
- Image: Art: Ming Vase 2
- Image: Art: Mountain Landscape
- Image: People: The Jesuit Missionary, Matthew Ricci
- Image: Hist. Site: Peking - Hall of Harmony
- Image: Hist. Site: Peking - Dragon Throne
- Image: Hist. Site: Peking - Walls
- Image: Hist. Site: Kaifeng
- Image: People: The Emperor Kangxi
- Image: Image: Qing dynasty 18th Century Vase
- Image: Technology: A Ming Dynasty Wheelbarrow
- Image: People: Zhang he
- Image: People: Zhang he 2
- Image: People: Zhang he 3
Class Topics: Yuan Dynasty (Mongols): Genghis Khan/Temuchin and Kublai KhanGuo. Shoujing and the advance of astronomy.
Plays and opera. Ming Dynasty. Nanking and Beijing, expansion, the state and autocracy. Confucianism: Three Perfections: painting,
poetry, calligraphy. Art: painting, pottery. Foreign trade-voyages of Zheng He. Macao. Jesuits in China Tian/Shang di or Tian
zhu. Qing conquest. prosperity and technology. Qing world system. Kang Xi and Qian Long. Art, library [Jing, shi, zhe, ji]
novels [Dream of the Red Chamber]
Section 7: China and the World II
Morton: 127-33 (Maritime Expeditions and Jesuits)
148-74 (The Impact of the West)
175-81 (Early 20th Century China)
195-99 (War with Japan)
200-25 (Communist Revolution and Cultural Revolution)
226-45 ("New" Communism)
264-292 (Modern Chinese Society)
- Qian Long Ch'ien-lung, "Letter to George III" ü
- Commissioner Lin's Letter to Queen Victoria ü
- The Taiping Rebellion, 1851-1864 ü
- Sun Yat-sen: Fundamentals of National Reconstruction (1923 CE) ü
- Mao Zedong: The People's Democratic Dictatorship ü
- Recent American Press Worries about Chinese Power ü
- Sun Y Y., The Chinese Reassessment of Socialism, 1976-1992, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995) ü
- WWW Extra: The Hai-lu,, a Chinese traveler's account of the West in the 18th century. ü
- WWW Extra: Luxun Two Selections from His Writingü
- Image: People: Qian Long
- Image: Opium Smokers
- Image: Hist. Illus.: Chinese View of an 18th Century English Sailor
- Image: Map: China's Problems in the Late 19th Century
- Image: Anti-Chinese Cartoon from 1877 bw
Image: People: Cixi Tse hsi The Dowger Empress
- Image: People: Cixi Tse hsi The Dowger Empress
- Image: People: Henry Pu Yi as a child - the "Last Emperor" of China [so far]
- Image: People: Sun Yat Sen
- Image: People: The writer Lu Xun
- Image: People: Chiang Kai-shek
- Image: Chaiman Mao
- Image: People: Deng Xiaoping
- Image: Hist. Illus.: The Goddess of Democracy, Tienanmen Square
- Image: Hist. Illus.: The Goddess of Democracy, Tienanmen Square
- Image: Hist. Illus.: Tienanmen Square: Student Stops Tanks
- Image: Flag: People's Republic of China
- Image: Flag: Republic of China/Taiwan
The Western Intrusian: Qian Long's Letter to George III. Lord Macartney. East India Co.Macao, Canton,
Tea, Opium and War. Treaty of Nanking. Missionaries.
Internal Collapse: Taipings and Hing Xiuchuan, Nian. Comparison with Japan and Meiji era 1868 on. Tong zhi Restoration
1860s. Cixi: Court life.Boxer Rebellion
Nationalism: Sun Yat-sen. Three Principles? [People's nationalism, People's Democracy, People's Livelihood] May 4th Movement.
Beijing National University. Luxun. Kuo Min Tang and Warlord Period
Communism: The CCP and Mao Zedong. Soviets. Long march. Red Army and CCP. Marxism and peasants. Nationalists and Taiwan.
Communist Government: land reform and thought reform. "Great Leap Forward", "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution". Mao,
Liu Shaoqui and Zhou Enlai. 1976 and All That - the Gang of Four. Deng Xiaoping and -New "communism". Four Modernizations.
Population control. Limits and Tian an men Square. China and the World. Pacific Rim. Tibet. Hong Kong
General Reference Documents
- Chronology of Chinese History
three separate chronologies based on 1. dynasties, 2. governmental forms, 3. economic life.
- Extended Annotated Bibliography of Chinese Studies,
- Bibliography in plaintext form,
- Basic Facts about Modern China Compiled from Compton's Living Encyclopedia on America Online (August 1995)
- Chinese Dynastic History Compiled from Compton's Living Encyclopedia on America Online (August 1995)
- Chinese Religions Compiled from Compton's Living Encyclopedia on America Online (August 1995)
- Chinese Literature Compiled from Compton's Living Encyclopedia on America Online (August 1995)
- Chinese Arts Compiled from Compton's Living Encyclopedia on America Online (August 1995)
- Chinese Ethnic Groups Compiled from Compton's Living Encyclopedia on America Online (August 1995)
- Chinese Language and Pronunciation Compiled from Compton's Living Encyclopedia on America Online (August 1995). This also contains a list of pinyin/Wade-Giles
- Chinese Language and "Alphabet" compiled from: David Crystal, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987)
- Other China Web Sites
This is a useful link for you to follow. It contains direct links to documents, pictures, and other internet sites to
do with Chinese culture, and links to Internet sites useful for Middle Eastern history and culture (the other major module
of this course.
- I also maintain an academic homepage which reflects other academic interests.
Student Papers/Web Pages
Some students choose to create web pages as the their class projects. These projects are linked from here. Copyright remains
with the students, who were responsible for securing any necessary permissions. Note that the quality of the sites varies!
Some excellent student papers from previous semesters are posted here [with the writers' permission] as examples [and inspirations].
When outside links from the student webpages fail, they will not be updated.
- Religion and Beliefs
- Immigrant Life
- China in New York
The Web is so vast now that it contains more, and more diverse information, than any single printed source. This availability
of information will only increase and is a truly splendid new tool to help in your research. To use the Web efficiently, the
various search engines are essential. It is important to form your query words as clearly as possible. For instance, if you
are interested in finding information on a particular musician, do not search for "music", but for a style [eg "jazz" or "gregorian
chant"] or even a name ["abba", "charlie parker", "hildegard"].
Here are links to the best "wide area" search engines on the Web. Yahoo is best, I think, if you are looking for specialized
websites. Lycos, Excite, and Hotbot all index many more documents. These engines will always turn up more references, but
far more will be dross than with Yahoo. It is useful to start with Yahoo since it has a nice feature - once it tells you everything
that it has found, it will automatically plug you in to the other search engines.
This page's Web Counter says you are visitor since December 16, 1995.
The author and maintainer of this site is Paul Halsall [a picture!] . He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lats updated: June 2 1999