China (Part 2): The Creation and End of Centralized Empire - Harvard University

4 opinions


Important information

  • Course
  • Online
  • Duration:
    5 Weeks
  • When:

Part 2 covers the period from the Qin to the Sui with the creation of the first unified empire and an exploration of state building and dissolution, focusing on the realization of the self and the influence of Buddhism during the medieval period.
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Important information

Requirements: None


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What I would highlight Both the course and the professors are excellent!! Content is digested without becoming superficial and the course is continually presented in an engaging manner. I had no real exposure to China before the course, despite business trips to both Beijing and Shanghai (both of which were spent inside conference rooms!). The course's design, content and importantly the instructor's presentations do not presume any prior exposure to China or its history. This allowed an only moderately interested participant like me to feel OK and welcomed. And, I should add, eventually captivated by the course and by the reality and complexity of China as a nation, polity and people. I am now reading my fifth book on China. This would never had happened had I not taken this fabulous course!!

What could be improved Everything was positive.

Course taken: October 2016 | Recomendarías este centro? Sí.

What I would highlight Course is full of great information and well organized. Learned more than I expected. I recommend you take the first China course in this series (SW12x) before this one because the first course provides a broad look at the starting point of Chinese history that provides a base for this second course. The historical period covered by this part (300 BCE to 450 AD) builds directly off the base outlined in the first part.

What could be improved Nothing.

Course taken: November 2016 | Recomendarías este centro? Sí.

What I would highlight Interesting course, part of the China X series, which goes into detail about the history of China. Very knowledgeable professors and guests. Would recommend this course.

What could be improved Everything OK.

Course taken: September 2016 | Recomendarías este centro? Sí.

What you'll learn on the course

Chinese Empire
Chinese History

Course programme

China (Part 2): The Creation and End of Centralized Empire is the second of ten parts of ChinaX, that collectively span over 6,000 years of history. Each part consists of 4 to 8 weekly "modules," each with videos, readings, interactive engagements, assessments, and discussion forums. There are a total of 52 modules in ChinaX.

Parts 1-5 make up China: Civilization and Empire, taught by Professor Peter K. Bol. Parts 6-10 make up China and the Modern World, taught by Professor William C. Kirby

  • About the creation of the first centralized bureaucratic empire in 221 BC through its dissolution and restoration: Why was the imperial model successful in China? What happened when it failed? How did the foreign religion of Buddhism gain a place in the landscape that continues still today?
  • The political systems and changing state-society relations, which apply to all historical periods.
  • About religion as a historical phenomenon.
  • To develop your own approaches to history and gain a critical appreciation of China’s literary, philosophical, political and cultural resources.
  • To express ideas more clearly and confidently; to think more analytically and critically through the study of primary and secondary sources.