HISTORY 3EC3 Chinese Intellectual Traditns
Academic Year: Fall 2017
Instructor: Dr. Jaeyoon Song
Office: Chester New Hall 611
Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24146
Office Hours: Tuesdays 3-4 pm
- Course Objectives
- Textbooks, Materials & Fees
- Method of Assessment
- Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties
- Additional Policies and Statements
- Topics and Readings
This course is an inquiry into Chinese intellectual traditions in historical perspective. “China” is the longest continuous written civilization in human history with diverse intellectual traditions: Confucianism, Daoism, Legalism, Mohism, Buddhism, Neo-Confucianism, etc. We will reflect on the far-reaching implications of those enduring traditions through close reading of the Great Books (Classics and Histories), philosophies, religious treatises, and works of literature derived from the Chinese civilization. In lieu of general survey, this course will introduce a series of “case studies” derived from history. Each week, we will “cut into” a watershed moment in Chinese history, as shown in the weekly schedule below, and study the shared problems and intellectual products of the “Chinese” intellectuals from antiquity down to the fifteen century AD. The topics under study include such enduring problems of human society as: the emergence of political order, the legitimacy of government, empire-building (political/social/economic integration), the institutions of good government, the grounds of morality and social ethics, (moral) self-cultivation, community-building, political reform, social reformation, cultural renaissance, spiritual (religious) quest for truth, etc.
Textbooks, Materials & Fees:
Patricia B. Ebrey, The Cambridge Illustrated History of China (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Sources of Chinese Tradition, ed. William Theodore de Bary, et al. (Columbia University Press, 1999). Other source materials will be posted on the AVENUE.
Method of Assessment:
3 Précis (one-two page summary): 15% (Throughout the course)
Short essay (4-5 pages): 20% (Due Sept. 30th in class)
Long essay (6-7 pages): 25% (Due Dec 2nd in class)
Final Exam 25% (To be announced)
Quizzes, Discussions & Presentations: 15%
*The final exam will be two hours long and scheduled by the registrar at the end of term. No notes are allowed. A study guide for the exam will be posted on AVENUE OF LEARNING.
Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF) This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence. Avenue to Learn In this course we will be using Avenue to Learn. Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor. Requests for Extensions to Deadlines Extensions or other accommodations will be determined by the instructor and will only be considered if supported by appropriate documentation. If you are unable to use the MSAF, you should document the absence with your faculty office. In all cases, it is YOUR responsibility to follow up with the instructor immediately to see if an extension or other accommodation will be granted, and what form it will take. There are NO automatic extensions or accommodations.
Please note the following policies and statements:
You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity. Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: 'Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty'), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university. It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity.
The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty: 1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one's own or for which other credit has been obtained. 2. Improper collaboration in group work. 3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations. Email correspondence policy It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student's own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student. Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.
Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:
You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.
Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.
It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity
The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
- Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
- Improper collaboration in group work.
- Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.
Email correspondence policy
It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student. Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.
Modification of course outlines
The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)
In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.
Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities
Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail email@example.com. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.
Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances
Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.
Topics and Readings:
SCT (Sources of Chinese Tradition)
CIHC (The Cambridge Illustrated History of China)
Topics and Readings:
- Why study Chinese intellectual traditions?
9/5: Chinese Intellectual Traditions
9/6: Chinese Philosophy and Chinese Intellectual History
- Why Antiquity matters?
The conquest of the Sang Dynasty by the Zhou Kings Wen and Wu, and the construction of a new constitutional setup, “monarchical feudalism,” by the Duke of Zhou have provided the classical model of good government in Chinese tradition. The so-called Five Classics are full of philosophical insights into how to maintain a stable order against both over-centralization and local despotism. Under this topic, I will introduce the world of ancient Confucian classics, especially the Book of Documents.
9/12: The Ways of the Sages
9/13: Classics and Politics
Readings: Excerpts from the Book of Documents (on-line); Herrlee G. Creel, “Chapter I: The Problems” from the Origins of Statecraft in China (on-line); Ebrey, the Cambridge Illustrated History of China
(hereafter CIHC), Chapter 1.
- Restoration of the Way
The decline of the old Zhou order represented the loss of classical antiquity in Chinese tradition. Confucius sought to rebuild the ancient ideals of good government. The Confucian Analects (Lunyu), the records of Confucius’s sayings and behaviors, became the classical foundation of the Chinese tradition. Reflecting on the lessons of mundane life, Confucius sought to articulate the conditions of good government and the good life. For contextualization of the text we will also read some excerpts from the Spring and Autumn Annals, a vivid testimony to rampant evils in real politics.
9/19: Confucius and Confucianism
9/20: Humaneness, Rightness, and Ritual
Readings: Excerpts from the Confucian Analects and the Spring and Autumn Annals from Sources of Chinese Tradition (hereafter SCT); Creel, “Confucius”; Ebrey, Chapter 2. Readings: The Confucian
Analects; Fingarette, Secular as Sacred (on-line)
IV. Competing Claims to the Way (1): Daoism and Mohism
Confucius’s effort to restore the order of classical antiquity laid the ground for the rise of competing claims to the Way in the following period. His own teachings diverged into various strains. In critique of Confucius, rivaling schools of thought flourished against the background of the Warring States period (ca. 481-221 BC), an era of ceaseless warfare among the hegemonic states that brought about political chaos and social disorder. This week is devoted to the two most compelling rivals to Confucius: Daoism and Mohism.
9/26: Critics of Confucius: From Laozi to Zhuangzi 9/27: Mozi: Order, Community, and Egalitarianism
Readings: SCT, Chapters 4 & 5; CIHC, Chapter 2.
- Confucian Schools : Mencius
The two most important branches of Confucian thought, led by Mencius (Mengzi, ca. 372-289 BC) and Xunzi (ca. 310-235 BC), developed during the Warring States Period. Based on the two fundamentally opposing theories of human nature, Mencius and Xunzi articulated the two different ways of raising moral individuals and achieving good government. Their competing visions would form the dual facets of Confucian philosophy in later eras. We will spend two weeks on Mencius and Xunzi.
10/3: Mencius’s Theory of Human Nature
10/4: Mencius’s visions of Good Government
Readings: SCT, Chapter 6; Ivanhoe, Chapters on Mencius and Xunzi, from Confucian Moral Self-cultivation (on-line)
Mid-term Recess: 10/9 – 10/15 [No Class]
VI. Confucian Schools: Xunzi
10/17: Ritual, Education, and Human Nature
10/18: Xunzi’s View of Good Government
SCT, Chapter 6; Ivanhoe, Chapters on Mencius and Xunzi, from Confucian Moral Self-cultivation (on-line)
VII. The Theoreticians of Imperial Order
The unification of China by the First Emperor (260-210 BC) in 221 BC was a decisive moment for Chinese history. How did the engineers of the first Chinese empire Qin justify the revolutionary construction of an unprecedented imperial system? Through close of reading of Han Feizi and the great Han historian Sima Qian’s (ca. 145-86 BC) biographies of Li Si, Cheng Sheng, et al., we will question the theoretical grounds of an imperial order.
10/24: The Warring States Period and the Rise of Legalism
10/25: The Engineers of the Empire: Qin Legalists
Readings: SCT, Chapter 7; Sima Qian, “The Biography of Li Si” and other biographies; CIHC, Chapter 3
VIII. To Build a Lasting Empire
The fall of the Qin Empire gave rise to a full-scale constitutional discourse on the legacy of the previous empire. Emperor Wu (141- 87 BC) of the Han Empire (206BC-220 AD) revitalized the imperial system by introducing a set of activist and expansionist policies. In the aftermath of his death, the two opposing parties debated on the fundamentals of good government. Their opposing views of government defined two different models of government for later times.
10/31: The Han Empire and its Architects
11/1: “Discourses on Salt and Iron”; SCT, Chapter 10; CIHC, 3.
IX. Buddhism in Chinese history
Buddhism, initially founded by Shakyamuni in India at about the time of Confucius, crossed the Silk Roads to reach China. The transplantation of Buddhism in Chinese soil, a long arduous process of assimilation and adaptation, fundamentally reshaped Chinese thought as well as Buddhism itself. What was the appeal of Buddhism to the Chinese elites and commoners? Why and how did Buddhism thrive in China?
11/7: Basic Teachings of Buddhism;
11/8: The Chinese Transformation of Buddhism
Mid-Term Recess Readings: The Dammapada (on-line) :SCT, Chapter 16; Sheng Chao, “Things do not move” in Chao-lun (on-line)
- Confucian Activism in Medieval China
At the peak of the medieval economic revolution, the Northern Song government implemented a set of social and economic reforms in the name of the New Policies. This reform lasted for the last fifty years of the Northern Song. The architect of the New Policies Wang Anshi proposed a systematic program of “re-ordering the world” by invoking the ancient sages of kingship. His reform led to a thoroughgoing constitutional discourse on good government. By reading through the writings of various political actors from this period, we will see how constitutional discourse on a major political movement can itself bring on historical change.
11/14: The Tang-Song Transition: The Medieval Economic Revolution
11/15: Rivaling Views of Good Government: Wang Anshi vs. Sima Guang
Readings: Sources of Chinese Tradition,
During the Southern Song (1127-1279) period, Neo-Confucianism formed into a vast intellectual movement. This was the time when a centralized imperial system gave rise to a loose confederation of multiple regional centers. Neo-Confucian philosophers also articulated a new vision of good government for construction of a local communitarian world order. We will study the implications of the Neo-Confucian movement in the context of sea changes taking place in 12th -14th century China.
11/21: The Rise of a New Ethos in Southern Song (1127-1279) China
11/22: Zhu Xi’s (1130-1200) Neo-Confucianism
Readings: Sources of Chinese Traditions, Chapters 20 & 21; Zhu Xi’s “On Humaneness” (on-line); CIHC, Chapter 6.
XII. The Unfolding of Neo-Confucianism
Wang Yangming (1472-1529) challenged Zhu Xi’s Neo-Confucianism and redefined the Confucian concept of learning as “rectification of the Mind.” His new philosophy of the mind-and-heart brought about a vast intellectual movement in 16th century Ming China and beyond. Huang Zongxi’s
(1610-1695) Waiting for the Dawn is a systematic reflection on the legacy of the Ming dynasty. In it he articulated his visions of good government. We will use Huang’s reflections to overview the long history of discourses on good government and the good life in Chinese tradition.
11/28: Wang Yangming’s Philosophy of Mind
11/29: Huang Zongxi’s critique of despotism
Readings: Waiting for the Dawn (on-line); Jaeyoon Song, “The Zhou Li and Constitutionalism” (on-line)
XIII. Tradition, Modernity, and Revolution
As the traditional Chinese empire teetered on the brink of collapse in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, reformers and revolutionaries sought to build a new order by replacing the traditional imperial systems of long-standing with modern Western systems and institutions. As a result, many intellectuals since the early 20th century have denied, criticized, and even demonized Chinese intellectual traditions as the cause of “China’s backwardness”, which peaked in the Great Cultural
Revolution (1966-76), a murderous effort to fabricate a completely new communist China by erasing the “feudal past.” Despite all these, Chinese intellectual traditions have never died; they still thrive not only as cultural inertia, Modus Vivendi but also as sources of values and creative ideas.
12/5: Tradition and Modernity
12/6: The early 20th century Iconoclastic Movement
Documentary Film: “China: A Century of Revolution II & III”
Readings: Tong Zhang and Barry Schwartz, “Confucius and the Cultural Revolution: A Study in Collective Memory,” International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, Vol. 11, No.2, 1997 (on-line)