Patricia Ebrey’s Chinese Civilization.

This assignment involves writing 5 page essays analyzing selections from Patricia Ebrey’s Chinese Civilization. On pp. xv-xvii you will find a topical organization of the contents. There are eight topical headings relating to different aspects of Chinese historical experience.

  • For each essay, you should choose one of the primary source selections from the same topical list and analyze what it tells us about that topic, or some subset of it. (For example, a selection on the Tang legal code is under the government topic, but you can focus on examinations or official recruitment rather than the government as a whole.) Questions to be considered:
    • Who wrote the selection, when was it written, and why?
    • To what extent does the selection reflect particular issues relating to the age (or place) in which it was written, or broader issues spanning different periods or places?
    • What impact, if any, does the passage seem to have had?
  • If you wish, you can choose two or even three selections from the same topical list that seem to you to be related. If so, you need to consider the questions mentioned above for each of them and describe how the selections are related to each other and how we can learn from them collectively. It could be that the passages make similar arguments but in different ways, or that they reflect very different, even contradictory viewpoints.
  • In writing your essays, you should give as much supporting detail as you can from the writings that you are discussion. We do not expect you to do any additional reading for the paper, but if you do, make sure that you cite any sources that you use. For class books that you use, quotations and specific references should be cited a parenthetical citation identifying the source and with page number.
  • The essays must be in your own language. It is NOT permissible to copy the essays, or portions of them, from other students or the internet. You may quote from sources (especially your primary source), but if so you must indicate this with quotation marks with page number(s) in parenthesis. If you use some source other than Ebrey or Hansen, then you must provide a bibliographical entry for it at the end of the paper.
  • Restrictions:
    • The selections for your two essays must be drawn from two different topical lists.
    • Because this course ends with the Yuan, your selections must come from the pre-Ming period, that is, numbers 1-46.
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