History 3629
Joseph R. Adams
Fall Semester 1999
North Georgia College and State University
Tues/Thurs, Young Hall 109 9:30-10:45 AM
Office hours: 8:00-9:30 AM Young Hall 101

Last Updated Tuesday 10/24/99, 12:30 PM
(***hit the refresh button on your
browser just to make sure you have
the latest version***)

*Please use the new class index page here!* Thank you.

the following is now only our class syllabus:

Early Chinese History

A full range of  Western impressions of early China have evolved since Marco Polo first introduced it to the West in the fourteenth century. Western impressions of China, however, have not always been realistic from a Chinese perspective. Even modern scholarship has limitations. In this survey class, we seek to become more aware of the subjectivity of sources on China and construct our own impressions, studying a wide selection of primary sources translated from Chinese. Our studies will include Chinese environment, aesthetics, philosophy, concepts of history, religion, human rights, and leadership. Our studies should shed light on the dilemmas of civilization not only in early China, but the modern world as well.


Two mid-term exams (Sept 23; Nov 2) and a final exam (December 9: 8-10AM) consist of identifications (terms to define, noted on the black board at each lecture by an asterisk) and an essay question. Make-up exams will be given to those with documented medical reasons.



  1. Patricia Buckley Ebrey, The Cambridge Illustrated History of China (Cambridge U. P.: 1999) A real nice book! for $22.36 + shipping on-line ordering.

  2. Patricia Buckley Ebrey, Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook (Cambridge U. P.: 1993) All primary sources with good introductions! $19.95 + shipping (on-line ordering).

  3. Prospects for your required book analysis:

WEBSITES to check regularly

  1. The People's Daily Online http://www.peopledaily.com.cn/english/ is now working.

  2. China Daily http://chinadaily.com.cn.net/ 

  3. This syllabus will be on-line at http://www.worldclass.net/China/chinasyl.htm.

  4. A class index page of relevant assignments, links, and responsese to student questions, etc., will be on-line at http://www.worldclass.net/China . Please check this page regularly.


  1. Office hours: 8:00-9:30 Tuesday and Thursday in classroom

  2. e-mail: joe@worldclass.net (let me know how it's going, send me a link, tell me what book you are analyzing, etc.)


  1. Aug 19: Introduction Our impressions of Asia and China, and our expectations for the course. Begin making a sturdy map, including all border lands, modern provinces, major cities , main geographic features, and areas of personal interest.

  2.  Aug 24: Discussion of "The Myth of Asia" at http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/texts/mythofasia.html, and excerpts of Marco Polo's (1254-1324) travels in China at http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/texts/marcopolo.html ; 

  3. Aug 26: Geography and Impressions of China
    Continue discussion of previous readings and beginning of Ebrey text. *For next class: finish handmade maps due Aug 31

  4. Aug 31 Geography, Paleolithic and Neolithic China.
    Present Map findings and see NOVA video on the Tokadian mummies.

  5. Sept 2 Chinese geography, language and ethnography. Discuss articles on Chinese language and ethnography at http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/texts/chinethn.html ; on the Sino-Tibetan Language family at: http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/texts/chinlng2.html , on Chinese pronunciation at http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/texts/chinlng1.html 
    and on the Pinyin Wade-Giles writing article at http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/texts/chinlng3.html)

  6. Sept 7 First Written Evidence: Shang China, oracle bones, the I-Ching, and Mandate from Heaven. Corresponding Ebrey readings; and read "The Mandate of Heaven, Selections from the Shu Jing (The Classic of History) (6th Cent. BCE) here.
    *For next class:  

  7. Sept 9 Philosophies/early religions. Classical Chinese Philosophies: All related Ebrey readings for Confucius, Taoism, Legalism.

  8. Sept 14 Philosophies continued.

  9. Sept 16 The Qin and Han periods. All related Ebrey Readings.

  10. Sept 21 Review for test
    *Further readings to be posted.

  11. Sept 23 Mid-Term Exam I

  12. Sept 30 Pattern and reformulation

    Text: Chapter 4 "Buddhism, Aristocracy, and Alien Rulers: The Age of Division 220-589.

    Questions to consider:

    How does this pattern of disunity similar to the Warring States period?

    What was the appeal of Buddhism to the peasants and the aristocracy?

    Readings: #21 "Ge Hong's Autobiography," #22 "Buddhist Doctrines and Practices," #23 "Tales of Ghosts and Demons," #24 Cultural Differences Between the North and the South"

    **Video #3 of the Silk Road series

    Oct 5-7 Sui/Tang

    Text: Chapter 5 "A Cosmopolitan Empire: The Tang Dynasty 581-907"

    Readings: #25 "Emperor Taizong on Effective Government," #26 "The Tang Legal Code," #26 "The Errors of Gomancy," #28 "The Dancing Horses of Xuanzong's Court," #29 "Family Business," #30 "The Examination System," #31 "A Pilgrim's Visit to the Five Terraces Mountain

  13. Oct 12 Song

    Text: Chapter 6  "Shifting South: The Song Dynasty 907-1276"

    Readings: #32 through #43

  14. Oct 14 Yuan 

    Text: Chapter 7 "Alien Rule: The Liao, Jin, and Yuan Dynasties 907-1368

     Readings: #44 through #46

  15. Oct 19-28 Mr. Lu (from the N.G.C.S.U. library) will come talk to our class from 10:10 AM Tuesday or Thursday. The first half of class will be devoted to reviewing for the second exam and discussion of the Judge Dee novels in the context of our review of the Tang period, arguably the most pivotal period in the history of early modern China. Judge Dee people should be ready to present their books in the form of the starter questions.

  16. Nov 2 Second Exam

  17. Nov 4 -- finish texts, discuss projects in the context of our studies and review for the final.

  18. Dec 9 Final Exam (8-10AM)

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