This course offers an introduction to the profound cultural transformations that occurred in China during the eleventh century, a period when China had the largest cities in the world, with bustling night markets, antique shops, restaurants, and theaters. The simultaneous, interrelated developments in economy, technology, philosophy, religion, literature, and painting during this period bear a close resemblance to those of the Italian Renaissance, yet the achievements of the Song dynasty (960-1279) are much less well known than those of Florence, Venice, and Rome. The course provides an overview both of the history of this period and of the study of this period by European and American historians, thereby affording an introduction to the history of the Song dynasty as well as a modest introduction to the study of history as a discipline.
The course requires purchase of a writing guide (less than $10). All other readings will be posted on CTools.
The final grade will be based on class participation, a short analysis paper, a book review, and a final examination.
Prior familiarity with Chinese history is not required.
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