ANS 302C • Introduction to China
12:00 PM-1:00 PM
Geographically, linguistically, ethnically, and economically, China today is a land of diversity, characterized by striking regional variations. Yet underlying this diversity is a shared cultural heritage: A unifying set of historical, literary, and artistic traditions; philosophical and religious ideas; political institutions; and a common writing system. This course introduces the study of Chinese society and culture through an examination of the cultural unities and diversities, continuities and discontinuities that comprise the historical development of Chinese civilization. Topics include philosophy and religion; cosmology and the life cycle; literature and arts; science, technology and medicine; power and authority; gender, ethnicity, and cultural identity. As it emerges from almost four decades of Communist regime, China is today slowly experimenting with new forms of society and economy. As the economic interests increasingly outweigh ideological differences in the global marketplace, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the ethnic Chinese family networks spread out across five continents are in the process of producing a "China" and a "Chinese" identity that is as much about Daoist meditation and filial piety as it is about color TV, flashy karaoke discos, as well as the return of traditional social and religious ritual observances. This course provides a foundation for continued study of Chinese history and society for students who plan to go on to more specialized, upper-division courses including Chinese anthropology, history, psychology, sociology, economics, law, policy, international business, art history, architecture, environmental science, and philosophy.
Patricia Ebrey, The Cambridge Illustrated History of China, Cambridge, 1999. Cao Xueqin, The Story of the Stone, vol. 1, Penguin, 1973. Jonathan Spence, The Death of Woman Wang, Viking Press, 1978. Liang Heng and Judith Shapiro, Son of the Revolution, 1st Vintage Books, 1984. Selected readings available through the on-line syllabus and through the Library's e-reserve. Hard copies of these readings are also available at the regular UGL's reserve desk.