EALC301 - MAJOR SEMINAR ON CHINA: Cosmology, Divination and Sacrifice in Early China

This course examines themes in the history of scientific and religious ideas in Early China, from the Shang period through to the Han dynasty (ca. 1500 B.C. to 200 A.D.). We will consider beliefs in the persisting agency of the dead, in the efficacy of divination and techniques for attaining various forms of 'transcendence', and in 'scripture' as a source of knowledge and guide to action. We will review the history of early chinese observations of celestial phenomena and the cosmological models that captured their regularities. We will also look at theories of the human body, and practices for maintaining health and responding to disease. ------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The early Chinese evidence will be considered against the background of questions regarding the nature of scientific and religious activities, their cultural role, and their interrelationship. How did early Chinese thinking respond to predictability and irregularity? How were correlation and casuality conceived? What kinds of non-human agents were posited and what roles were granted to them? How did scientific and religious ideas form, circulate, attain prestige and become contested, and how were they deployed as sources of social power?
Section 301 - SEM
TR 1200PM-0130PM