Online course: Intellectual Change in Early China: Warring States and Han (part of the Long term online programme: History of China)

Dates: any time

Duration: 23 hours

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 out of 68 ratings (see top rating courses here)

Participating countries: any country

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Organizer: The Chinese University of Hong Kong at Coursera

Cost:

  • FREE
  • $49 with sharable certificate

Intellectual Change in Early China: Warring States and Han

This sequence of four courses will propose a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of Chinese cultural history conceived of as a succession of modes of rationality (philosophical, bureaucratic, and economic). The focus will be on the moments of paradigm shift from one mode of rationality to another. For each of these moments, cultural facts and artifacts—thought, literature, ritual—will be examined in relationship to changing social, political, and economic systems.

The first two courses will cover the periods of the Warring States (481-256 BCE) and the Period of Division (220-589 CE), with a brief excursion into the Han (206 BCE-220 CE). The Warring States laid the social and cultural foundations for the emergence of the imperial mode of rationality; the Period of Division saw the Buddhist “conquest” of China and the emergence of a rationality defined by the opposition of the Three Teachings to shamanism, that is, of a clear contrast between elite and popular culture. The third and fourth courses will focus on the emergence of modern China in the Song-Yuan (960-1368) and of today’s China 1850 to the present. We will see how the modern attack on religion, redefined as “superstition”, led not only to religious reform movements but also to a society in which science and the nation became the primary value systems promoted by the state. The courses are listed below: A Critical Cultural History of China – Early China I: Intellectual Change in the Warring States and Han (481 BCE-220 CE) A Critical Cultural History of China – Early China II: Religious Transformation in the Period of Division (220-589 CE) A Critical Cultural History of China – Modern China I: Religion and Thought in the Song, Jin, and Yuan (960-1368) A Critical Cultural History of China – Modern China II: Structuring Values (1850-2015)

Programme

WEEK 1: 3 hours to complete

MODULE 00: A Critical Cultural History of China – Introduction

This module introduces the key concepts that will be used throughout the course and the basic outlines of Chinese cultural history, starting with the Warring States (481-256 BCE).

M00.1 Definitions
M00.2 Paradigm Shift
M00.3 A Four-Part Course

WEEK 2: 5 hours to complete

MODULE 01: Attack on Shamanism

This module explains why the intellectual elite attacked traditional religious practices like divination and shamanism.

M01.1.1 Background 1
M01.1.2 Background 2
M01.2.1 Functions of the wu
M01.2.2 The Early Chinese Pantheon
M01.2.3 Arguments Against Shamans: The Role of Intellectuals
M01.2.4 The Parallel Attack on Diviners

WEEK 3: 4 hours to complete

MODULE 02: The Emergence of Self-Cultivation Practice
This module presents two forms of self-cultivation—Confucian and Daoist—that emerged during the Warring States.

M02.1Confucian Self-Cultivation
M02.2 Ethics and Cosmology
M02.3.1 The Dao
M02.3.2 The heart
M02.3.3 Qi, or vital energy, and the Real Person

WEEK 4: 5 hours to complete

MODULE 03: The Philosophical Preparation of Political Unity

We are going to learn about the meaning of “transcendence” as seen in the sacrifice to Heaven of the “Son of Heaven” (the king and later the emperor) and in the new cosmology of the Dao (Way) and Qi (vital energy).

M03.1.1 The Zhou Sacrifice to Heaven
M03.1.2 The Dao
M03.1.3 Transcendence
M03.2 The Center
M03.3 Confucianism: Ritual and History
M03.4 Early Chinese Dualities

WEEK 5: 3 hours to complete

MODULE 04: Han Religion

This module is about local and imperial religion in the Han dynasty (206 BCE-220 BC).

M04.1 Local and Dynastic Religion in the Han
M04.2 Literati, Orthodoxy, and the First Canon
M04.3 State Religion in the Han

WEEK 6: 4 hours to complete

MODULE 05: Changing Theories of Illness

This module states how new theories of healing based on the cosmology of Dao and Qi, in the face of the political and social crisis of the second century CE, made way for a return of ideas of demon-caused illness.

M05.1 Cosmology and Psychology in the New Medicine
M05.2 The Return of the Repressed
M05.3 Ancestors, Moralization, and the Spiritual Bureaucracy
M05.4 A New Synthesis
M05.5 The Answer: Exorcism

Long term programme

Name of the course Category Educator Price Duration (hours) Score Number of ratings
Structuring Values in Modern China History, Culture The Chinese University of Hong Kong FREE 25 4.6 15
Religion and Thought in Modern China: the Song, Jin, and Yuan History, Culture The Chinese University of Hong Kong FREE 28 4.6 27
Intellectual Change in Early China: Warring States and Han History, Culture The Chinese University of Hong Kong FREE 23 4.7 68
Religious Transformation in Early China: the Period of Division History, Culture The Chinese University of Hong Kong FREE 22 4.8 27