Alan T Wood
History of traditional China from earliest times to the beginning of the Qing dynasty. Covers the birth and development of the principal social, economic, and political institutions in China. Also treats the principal cultural and scientific achievements of China, and the philosophical traditions which have dominated East Asia.
Within a short time China will become the largest economy in the world and a major political and military power. This course will help students understand the internal and external factors that have shaped China from earliest times to the modern world.
Student learning goals
Familiarity with the principal characteristics of traditional Chinese history
General method of instruction
Lecture material will be delivered in writing and/or audio podcasts—instead of in the classroom. The time normally spent in the classroom will instead be devoted to Oxford/Cambridge-style tutorial sessions meeting in the professor’s office and lasting approximately 45 minutes. Students will be divided into groups of 5-6 students in each group. Each group will meet with the professor in one of the 45-minute time blocks during the time when the class is normally scheduled. This arrangement means that each student, instead of coming to a typical classroom for a total of 4 hours each week, comes to the instructor’s office for 45 minutes each week. Another model for this kind of learning is the graduate seminar that normally meets once a week. There are two reasons to adopt this method: 1) students learn more by engaging actively in small-group discussions than by listening passively to a lecture in a large classroom, and 2) through one-on-one conversations, the instructor can get a much better sense of what is being learned and what is not being learned by each individual student.
Read widely in journals, such as the Economist, that discuss public issues.
Class assignments and grading
The final grade will be based on participation—in a way that demonstrates you have read the assigned readings and prepared for class—in tutorial sessions (25 percent), discussion board assignments and tutorial session quizzes (total of 25 percent), a research project that includes several stages of drafts (25 percent), and a final exam (25 percent).