From an Eurasian empire ruled by Mongols to an ethnically defined Han Chinese Ming dynasty, then again to a multi-ethnic empire ruled by a minority group of Manchus, the disruptions and transformations in the very idea of "China" in the past seven centuries defies our modern notion of China as a unitary nation with the world's longest continuous cultural tradtion. How to understand the continuities and discontinuities of the last three imperial dynasties of China will be the central focus of our survey. How did these different ethnic groups adjust to each other's way of life? Did complicated cultural interaction prompt different visions of empires? How did the meaning of "Chinese change over this time period? How did international politics shape the fate of Chinese empires? With no assumption of prior knowledge, lectures open with an overview of Chinese society before the eve of the Mongolian invasion, and then trace the changing visions of ethnic and social orders in the subsequent regimes ruled by three different ethnic groups (Mongolian, Han Chinese, and Manchurian). We will examine and compare bureaucratic operations, cultural ideals, domestic and international policies from above as well as the daily life experiences from below. The course will conclude with an analysis of the collapse of the imperial order at the beginning of the twentieth century, after it was severely challenged by a semi-Christian Utopian movement from within and global drug trade imperialist attacks from without.
Section 401 - LEC
TR 1200PM-0130PM