Chinese Civilisation - History and Philosophy (GE1501)

Course Objectives

  1. Introduce basic knowledge, key concepts and major events in Chinese history and philosophy
  2. Introduce the assessment of source materials
  3. Train critical thinking in historical and philosophical analysis and interpretation
  4. Help students identify the “self” in the modern world

No English sections will be offered to students in Summer Term.

Tutorial group project themes for Semester B 2020/21

Tutorial class section Name of tutorial tutor Group project themes
TB1 Rickard Gustavsson
  • Group A: The Rise of the Chinese Civilization: the Shang and early Zhou dynasties
  • Group B: Visions of an ideal society: early Confucianism and Daoism compared
  • Group C: Models of Governance: society  and politics in the Tang and Song dynasties
  • Group D: Science and Technology in premodern China
  • Group E: Late Qing Dynasty:  the end of imperial China
*Other topics may be allowed if agreed by the instructor
 
TB2 Rickard Gustavsson
  • Group A: The Rise of the Chinese Civilization: the Shang and early Zhou dynasties
  • Group B: Visions of an ideal society: early Confucianism and Daoism compared
  • Group C: Models of Governance: society  and politics in the Tang and Song dynasties
  • Group D: Science and Technology in premodern China
  • Group E: Late Qing Dynasty:  the end of imperial China
*Other topics may be allowed if agreed by the instructor
TB3 VEISAITE Agne
  1. What does it mean to study “thought”? The difference between religion and philosophy 
  2. Shang dynasty thought, Shamanism, and the beginning of written history 
  3. Confucian ritual and the practical meaning behind it  
  4. The role of Arts in morality  
  5. Laozi and the challenges of “being natural” 
  6. Mozi and the doctrine of impartial caring: comparison with utilitarianism 
  7. The paradox of Wu-wei in Zhuangzi 
  8. Zhuangzi and the problem of Language 
  9. The Silk roads and Xuanzang: Spread of Religions 
  10. Zhu Xi and the Reformation of Confucianism
TB4 MINEEVA Aleksandra Olegovna
  1. The concept of “learning” in Confucianism
  2. Yin and Yang metaphysics in early Chinese philosophy   
  3. Historical situation and development of philosophy in Pre-Qin China 
  4. Dynastic cycle and alternative ways to look at Chinese history 
  5. Bureaucracy and its role in the development of Chinese civilization 
  6. Needham Puzzle – does it make sense and what are the ways to answer it?
  7. The Concept of Change in Chinese culture 
  8. Chinese aesthetics – what is beautiful and why?
  9. Traditional Chinese family: what is special about it, how is it similar or different from the traditional family system in your country? 
  10. A portrait of a great ruler. Compare Confucian, Daoist and Legalist perspectives. 
TB5 BLIX Bjoern Aage Coombes

Student groups are free to choose their own themes for this course (subject to approval). Every student, of every group, must submit individual coursework that is relevant to their group’s theme. Below is a short list of suggested group themes for the tutorial.

  • Group A: Yin and Yang (The Idea of Chinese Origin and Philosophy of Change) 
  • Group B: Mandate of Heaven (The Dynastic Cycle—Rise and Fall; “Politics”, “Leadership”) 
  • Group C: Chinese Spiritual Life (Divination, Sacrifice, Alchemy, Chinese Medicine and so on)  
  • Group D: Chinese Freedom (of belief, election, speech and so on) 
  • Group E: Chinese Family

Click here to view the official course information

Please note that the Cantonese, Putonghua and English sections of GE1501 Chinese Civilisation-History and Philosophy will continue to be offered. Students are encouraged to take GE1501 according to their study plan.