Ancient China

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Ancient China

  1. 1. China: The Middle Kingdom from Prehistory to the Han
  2. 2. Problems of Interpretation in Chinese History <ul><li>The “Middle Ages” problem </li></ul><ul><li>The “Otherness” problem </li></ul><ul><li>The “Teleological” problem </li></ul><ul><li>Hegel’s argument </li></ul>
  3. 3. Early Civilizations in China <ul><li>Mythological origins of China </li></ul><ul><li>The Yellow River basin </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Yangshao </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Longshan </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Yangtse Basin </li></ul><ul><li>Geographic Boundaries </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Xia (ca. 2000-1600 BC) <ul><li>Historicity of the Xia </li></ul><ul><li>Emperor Yu and Hydraulic Civilization </li></ul><ul><li>Tribal confederacy </li></ul>
  5. 5. Agriculture in China <ul><li>Peasant agriculturalists and sedentary culture </li></ul><ul><li>Technological trends in agriculture </li></ul><ul><li>Remember sheep? </li></ul><ul><li>Mountains, valleys, plains </li></ul><ul><li>The Well-Field System (Zhou dynasty) </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Shang (ca. 1600 – 1050 BC) <ul><li>Palace-based civilization at Anyang </li></ul><ul><li>Chariot warfare: China and the Near East compared </li></ul><ul><li>Bronze Age metallurgy </li></ul>
  7. 7. Language and Culture <ul><li>Shang oracle bones </li></ul><ul><li>Spoken language vs. written language </li></ul><ul><li>“ Non-essentialist” language </li></ul><ul><li>The Classical Heritage </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Western Zhou (ca. 1050 – 771 BC) <ul><li>Wen Wang and Wu Wang </li></ul><ul><li>The Duke of Zhou’s regency </li></ul><ul><li>Chinese feudalism </li></ul><ul><li>The Mandate of Heaven </li></ul><ul><li>Imperial bureaucracy </li></ul><ul><li>The corvee </li></ul><ul><li>841 BC Deposition of Li Wang </li></ul>
  9. 9. Chinese Class Structure <ul><li>The Court (Wang) </li></ul><ul><li>The Aristocracy (shih – later scholar-gentry) </li></ul><ul><li>Peasants (Nung) </li></ul><ul><li>Artisans (Kung) </li></ul><ul><li>Merchants (Shang) </li></ul><ul><li>Slaves </li></ul>
  10. 10. Chinese Religion <ul><li>Animism </li></ul><ul><li>Ancestor reverence </li></ul><ul><li>Tian </li></ul><ul><li>The I Ching </li></ul><ul><li>Philosophy vs. Religion </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Spring and Autumn Period (722-481) <ul><li>The Eastern Zhou </li></ul><ul><li>Copper coinage and a money economy </li></ul><ul><li>Ritualized propriety and limited warfare </li></ul><ul><li>Competing principalities </li></ul><ul><li>The Hundred Schools </li></ul>
  12. 12. Chinese Philosophy: Confucianism <ul><li>Confucius (551-479 BC) </li></ul><ul><li>Dao: forging/following a path </li></ul><ul><li>Filial Piety </li></ul><ul><li>Ritual propriety </li></ul><ul><li>Confucian phronesis </li></ul><ul><li>Become what you are: self-cultivation </li></ul><ul><li>The authoritative person </li></ul><ul><li>Mencius: the Confucian St. Paul </li></ul>
  13. 13. Chinese Philosophy: Legalism <ul><li>Understanding of human nature </li></ul><ul><li>Realpolitik </li></ul><ul><li>Transparency of the Law </li></ul><ul><li>State secrecy: anti-courtier policies </li></ul><ul><li>The office and person of the ruler </li></ul><ul><li>Western comparison: Plato’s The Laws and Hobbes’ Leviathan </li></ul>
  14. 14. Chinese Philosophy: Daoism <ul><li>Lao Tzu: individual or composite (Homer) </li></ul><ul><li>Dao: the way of naturalness </li></ul><ul><li>Wu-wei: in-action </li></ul><ul><li>Skepticism, withdrawal, and individuality: an Eastern ataraxia ? </li></ul>
  15. 15. Chinese Philosophy: Mohism <ul><li>Mo Ti and the Motzu </li></ul><ul><li>Utilitarianism and the tradition </li></ul><ul><li>Universal Love and Particularity </li></ul><ul><li>The Logicians: Sophistry and the White Horse Dialogue </li></ul><ul><li>Mohism and Spirituality </li></ul>
  16. 16. The White Horse Dialogue <ul><li>Can it be that a white horse is not a horse? </li></ul><ul><li>Advocate : It can. </li></ul><ul><li>Objector : How? </li></ul><ul><li>Advocate : &quot;Horse&quot; is that by means of which one names the shape. &quot;White&quot; is that by means of which one names the color. What names the color is not what names the shape. Hence, I say that a white horse is not a horse. </li></ul><ul><li>Objector : If there are white horses, one cannot say that there are no horses. If one cannot say that there are no horses, doesn't that mean that there are horses? For there to be white horses is for there to be horses. How could it be that the white ones are not horses? </li></ul><ul><li>Advocate : If one wants a horse, that extends to a yellow or black horse. But if one wants a white horse, that does not extend to a yellow or black horse. Suppose that a white horse were a horse. Then what one wants [in the two cases] would be the same. If what one wants were the same, then a white [horse] would not differ from a horse. If what one wants does not differ, then how is it that a yellow or black horse is sometimes acceptable and sometimes unacceptable? It is clear that acceptable and unacceptable are mutually contrary. Hence, yellow and black horses are the same [in that, if there are yellow or black horses], one can respond that there are horses, but one cannot respond that there are white horses. Thus, it is evident that a white horse is not a horse. </li></ul><ul><li>Objector : You think that horses that are colored are not horses. In the world, it is not the case that there are horses with no color. Can it be that there are no horses in the world?  </li></ul><ul><li>Advocate : Horses certainly have color. Hence, there are white horses. If it were the case that horses had no color, there would simply be horses, and then how could one select a white horse? A white horse is a horse and white. A horse and a white horse [are different]. Hence, I say that a white horse is not a horse. </li></ul><ul><li>Objector : &quot;Horse&quot; not yet combined with &quot;white&quot; is horse. &quot;White&quot; not yet combined with &quot;horse&quot; is white. If one combines &quot;horse&quot; and &quot;white,&quot; one uses the compound phrase &quot;white horse.&quot; This is to take what is not combined and combine them as a phrase. Hence, I say that it cannot be that a white horse is not a horse. </li></ul><ul><li>Advocate : You think that there being white horses is there being horses. Is it acceptable to say that there being white horses is there being yellow horses? </li></ul><ul><li>Objector : It is not acceptable. </li></ul><ul><li>Advocate : If you think that there being horses is different from there being yellow horses, this is for yellow horses to be different from horses. If you differentiate yellow horses from horses, this is to think that yellow horses are not horses. To think that yellow horses are not horses, yet to think that white horses are horses -- this is to turn things upside down and inside out! This is the most incoherent doctrine and confused discourse in the world! </li></ul><ul><li>Objector : If there are white horses, one cannot say that there are no horses, because of what is called &quot;the separability of white.&quot; Only according to those people who do not separate can having a white horse not be said to be having a horse. Hence, the reason we think there are horses is only that we think that &quot;horse&quot; is &quot;there are horses.&quot; It is not that we think &quot;there are white horses&quot; is &quot;there are horses.&quot; Hence, because of the reason that there are horses, one cannot say that a [white] horse [is not] a horse. </li></ul><ul><li>Advocate : &quot;White&quot; does not fix that which is white. It ignores that. The expression &quot;white horse&quot; fixes that which is white. That which fixes what is white is not white. &quot;Horse&quot; is indifferent to color. Hence, [if you were only looking for a horse,] a yellow or black horse would each be appropriate. &quot;White horse&quot; does select for color. So [if you were looking for a white horse,] a yellow or black horse would be rejected on account of its color. Hence, only a white horse alone would be appropriate. That which does not reject is not what does reject. Hence, I say that a white horse is not a horse. </li></ul>
  17. 17. The Warring States (453-221 BC) <ul><li>From chariots to cavalry </li></ul><ul><li>Peasant levies and mass armies </li></ul><ul><li>Technological innovations </li></ul><ul><li>The Qin: Assyrians of the East </li></ul><ul><li>“ Like a silkworm devours mulberry leaves…” </li></ul>
  18. 18. The Qin (221-206) <ul><li>Centralized administration and imperial provinces </li></ul><ul><li>The Burning of Books and the Burying of Scholars </li></ul><ul><li>Military and Civilian Governors </li></ul><ul><li>Legalism in action: The Censorate </li></ul><ul><li>Standardization of Writing, Weights, Measures, and Coinage </li></ul>
  19. 19. The Northern Threat and the Fall of the Qin <ul><li>The Xiongnu </li></ul><ul><li>The Great Wall </li></ul><ul><li>The Grand Canal </li></ul><ul><li>The Terra Cotta Army </li></ul><ul><li>Death of Shi Huangdi </li></ul><ul><li>The Eunuch Conspiracy </li></ul><ul><li>Anhwei peasant revolt </li></ul>
  20. 20. The Han Dynasty (202 BC – 221 AD) <ul><li>Liu Pang and Peasant reform </li></ul><ul><li>Technological Diffusion </li></ul><ul><li>The Rise of the Scholar Gentry </li></ul><ul><li>Civil Service Exams </li></ul><ul><li>State Confucianism </li></ul>
  21. 21. The Social Crisis of the Han <ul><li>Aristocratic land concentration and debt peonage </li></ul><ul><li>Cyclical patterns of social unrest: our friend Malthus again </li></ul><ul><li>The Wang Mang Interlude </li></ul><ul><li>The Chimei revolt </li></ul><ul><li>The Eastern Han </li></ul>

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