CHIN 150: Introduction to Chinese Civilization
Most introductory courses on Chinese civilization are structured as chronological surveys that trace China’s historical development from the earliest to most recent eras. This extreme bird’s-eye view of Chinese history will constitute only a very small part of the course, which inevitably suffers from overgeneralization and excessive abstraction. But there is no ideal way to approach such an enormous historical span in such a short amount of time, especially given students’ unfamiliarity with even the basic concepts of Chinese culture. The second part of this quick and superficial survey focuses on the three philosophical traditions – Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism – that have crucially shaped and defined Chinese civilization. The third part focuses on the most famous and important Chinese novel – The Story of the Stone (more famously known as Dream of the Red Chamber) – to explore several important aspects of Chinese civilization, such as family, education, family economy, architecture and the garden, and ethics, and how Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism shape the life and value of the characters. This course is conducted completely in English. BN.