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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Culture and Society in Early Modern China (HIST10412)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryWe cannot begin to understand twenty-first-century China without reference to its early modern past, when wealth, consumption, anxiety, social mobility, a flourishing of the arts, political intrigue, corruption, unprecedented new freedoms for women, and a (re)discovery of a forgotten cultural heritage were already a part of the lived experience for many Chinese.
Course description This course introduces students to the cultural and social histories of early modern China (c. 1400-1785), a period that straddles the tremendous upheaval brought about by the extended transition from Ming to Qing rule. Its structure is both thematic and chronological, emphasising the broader cultural themes of the period, while at the same time allowing students to explore the ways in which Chinese culture and society developed and transformed over several centuries. Gender, literacy, consumption, material culture and social status are principal concerns throughout the course. Participants will be encouraged to make use of a range of primary sources - textual, visual, material - that help us to understand the Chinese empire during this complex and fascinating period.

Note: This course does not assume any knowledge of the languages of China.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Ming China (1368-1644) and its Cultural Legacy (HIST10364)
Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent. Students on Chinese (MA Hons) may take the course without meeting this requirement.

Before enrolling students on this course, PTs are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Administrator to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 504030).
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have 3 History courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Enrolments for this course are managed by the CAHSS Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department. All enquiries to enrol must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. demonstrate an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. demonstrate an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source materials;
  4. demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Timothy Brook, The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China (Berkeley, 1999).
Craig Clunas, Superfluous Things: Material Culture and Social Status in Early Modern China (Honolulu, 2004).
Craig Clunas, Empire of Great Brightness: Visual and Material Cultures of Ming China (London, 2007).
Benjamin A. Elman, A Cultural History of Civil Examinations in Late Imperial China (Berkeley, 2000).
Dorothy Ko, Teachers of the Inner Chambers: Women and Culture in Seventeenth-Century China (Stanford, 1994).
Michael Chang, A Court on Horseback: Imperial Touring and the Construction of Qing Rule, 1680-1785 (Cambridge, MA, 2007).
Emma J. Teng, Taiwan's Imagined Geography: Chinese Colonial Travel Writing and Pictures, 1683-1895 (Cambridge, MA, 2004).
Lynn A. Struve ed., The Qing Formation in World Historical Time (Cambridge, MA, 2004).
Joseph R. Dennis, Writing, Publishing and Reading Local Gazetteers in Imperial China, 1100-1700 (Cambridge, MA, 2015).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will help students develop a range of transferable skills, including:
- the ability to manage one's time effectively, work to deadlines and perform effectively under pressure;
- the ability to gather, sift, organise and evaluate evidence in textual, visual and material forms;
- the ability to marshal arguments in both written and oral forms;
- the ability to work independently.
KeywordsChina,culture,society,early modern
Course organiserDr Stephen McDowall
Tel: (0131 6)50 3754
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Ord
Tel: (0131 6)50 3580
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