Week 5: Sept. 25 and Sept. 27

Assignments: check you have done the “end of week 4” assignments by Tue. Sept. 23, 6pm, and submit the first version of your Primary Source Analysis by Fri. Sept. 27, 11:59pm. (Link to assignments page)

Use the pad to share ideas, thoughts and questions anonymously.

Wednesday Sept. 25: Han dynasty empire

  • Digital Learning visit to class: how to add entries to the timeline and to the map.
        • Bring your laptop (or a device larger than a phone) to try it out yourself in class.
  • Textbook: Hansen, Valerie. The Open Empire: A History of China to 1800Chapter 3- part 2: ” “The Creation of Empire” (pp. 106-137)
  • Primary Source:  Jia Yi’s “Discussion on the faults of the Qin”. In Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian, translated by Burton Watson, 74-83. Revised edition. Columbia Univ. Press, 1993. (PDF)
        • This is the final part of the chapter we studied last week Friday. What were the reasons the Qin fell, according to this Han dynasty writer? Do your other readings give you the impression the Han is doing things differently?
  • Google form for map and timeline entries for today’s class
  • Slides (Gdrive link)

Friday, Sept. 27: Han dynasty empire, part 2

Two portraits of women, one from the early years of the Han dynasty, one from the middle of the Han dynasty. Both women move in powerful circles, but deal with it very differently.

  • Primary source: “Chapter 9: The Basic Annals of Empress Lü”. In Records of the Grand Historian, Translated by Burton Watson. Revised edition. Columbia Univ. Press, 1993. (PDF)
        • Empress Lü was the wife of the first emperor of the Han dynasty, and she succeeded in controlling politics after the death of her husband.
        • Tip: create a diagram of the relationships between the different people mentioned.
        • We focus on the section between brackets, but you may read and reflect on the entire chapter.
  • Primary source: Ban Zhao. “Instructions for Women”. In The Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature, edited by Victor Mair, 534-41. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1994. (PDF)
        • This is one of the earliest texts in world history on the education of women, and it is written by a woman. In addition, Ban Zhao was the woman who continued the historiographical efforts of her father and older brother, and completed the History of the Han (Hanshu), a history which followed in the format of The Records of the Grand Historian.
        • She writes in a very self-deprecating way, and it was common for women to position themselves like that.
  • Questions: What can we learn about the role of women in Han society? What remains beyond our knowledge about gender issues? How do these two women navigate the corridors of power, and who is the more successful?
  • Google form for map and timeline entries for today’s class.
  • Slides (Gdrive link)
        • Submit as a Google Doc (for ease of commenting and peer review)