World Civilizations: China Fall 2007

3400: 385-003, MW  2:15-3:05, Olin 127
3400: 385-007, M 3:20-5:00, Zook 409


Instructor:  Ms. Jana Russ

Office: 344 Olin

History Department: 216 CAS

Office Hours: W 3-4 pm


“In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.”   Lao-tzu


Required Texts
China: A Cultural, Social, and Political History by Patricia Buckley Ebrey
and one biography, Wild Swans, Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang


Course Objectives
To examine the geography, history, religion, and basic cultural elements of China; to analyze the revolutionary changes that have affected the lives of ordinary people in China in the 20th century.
2. To “walk in Chinese shoes”—to gain a critical understanding and appreciation of a Chinese worldview and be able to reflect on that worldview in light of one’s own life.


Course Requirements
Midterm (20% of grade)

Comprehensive Final Exam (30% of grade)
5-7 page Analytical Film & Book Review (30% of grade)
Weekly discussion questions and Small Response Paper (15% of grade)
Participation (5% of grade)


An extra credit assignment may be offered during the semester, but will only be available to those who have done all required work


Late papers will not be accepted, unless you have made prior arrangements with me, and may be subject to grade reduction. All papers must be typed, double-spaced, in no larger than 12 point font, with 1 inch margins using MLA style for citations. I recommend using a computer as it makes producing and revising your papers much easier and is more pleasant than a typewriter. There are computers available in the GSC, Polsky building, and Bierce library. If you are truly computer phobic, talk to me; we will work something out.


You are responsible for entirely reading the texts as well as several handouts you will receive in class or on the web throughout the semester. You are responsible for reading the web-based texts and for printing out your own copies if you want hardcopy. The Tentative Schedule lists the days various readings will be discussed in class. If you are wise you will read ahead and simply review the readings before they are discussed. If you choose not to read ahead you will find that you have a very heavy reading load toward the end of the semester. Discussion questions will be based assigned reading for the days they are given. Be sure you come to class prepared to discuss the readings, non-participation or failure to keep up with the material may affect your grade.


Make-up Exams
Students are expected to arrive promptly for examinations. Make up exams will only be permitted in the case of a documented emergency. If you cannot make the exam, you must inform me as soon as possible BEFORE the exam date.  If you have a schedule conflict with another exam time, you may make arrangements for an alternate exam time in advance. Missed exams must be taken within five days of the originally scheduled exam date.


Attendance and Participation
There is a large amount of material to cover in this course—your attendance and active participation are essential! The easiest way to improve your grade is by active participation in class discussions. If you don’t talk, or are abusive in your talk, your grade will suffer.  Reading and writing assignments must be completed before the class begins. Late work will not be accepted unless previously arranged—and then only with a grade reduction. You may miss two classes without penalty.  The third absence may result in a full letter lowering of your grade. If you miss more than four classes, you risk failing.  Don’t be late—recurrent tardiness will be counted as an absence.


Class Cancellation
Please wait at least 15 minutes before leaving any class if I have not arrived. To find out if classes are cancelled in the event of bad weather, call the Snow Line: 330-972-SNOW.


Writing Lab
Expert tutorial assistance is available at the writing lab for those who need help with papers, which is located in Carroll Hall, room 212.  Students are encouraged to make appointments, but may also drop in to see if a tutor is available. For appointments call 330-972-6548.


Grading Scale
Your final grade will be calculated on the standard grading scale below.  If your grade is close to a borderline your personal track record of active participation, timeliness, and good effort may bump it up.


A  (93 - 100%)            A-  (90 - 92.9%)   

B+  (87 - 89.9%)         B   (83 - 86.9%)           B-  (80 - 82.9%)       

C+  (77 - 79.9%)         C   (73 - 76.9%)           C-  (70 - 72.9%)

D+  (67 - 69.9%)         D   (63 - 66.9%)           D-  (60 - 62.9%)

F  ( 0 - 59.9%)



Just don’t do it!  Plagiarism will result in the automatic failure of the course and may be reported to the Dean for possible academic discipline. Plagiarism includes:   

1. Using a paper, or portions of a paper, that someone else wrote (i.e.: cutting and pasting chunks of text from an internet source)
2. Using a paper that has been previously turned into another class or turning in the same paper to two different classes
3. Using the ideas or words of another writer without giving proper credit/citation (i.e.: using ideas or text from any source without proper quotes and author info, improper use of paraphrasing
If you are ever unsure whether you are plagiarizing, come and see me. I will not penalize you for making a mistake, as long as you come and talk to me about it BEFORE you turn in your paper.


A young man should serve his parents at home and be respectful to elders outside his home. He should be earnest and truthful, loving all, but become intimate with ‘jen’ [humanity].  After doing this, if he has energy to spare, he can study literature and the arts..”          –Confucius

Tentative Schedule


Week 1: Chinese Identity
Introductions, Syllabus. Film: “Unruly Dragon.”

Read online: Chinese Language and Writing.  Read Ebrey, all preface material and Chapter 1 


Week 2: Ancient China

No class on Monday—Labor Day

Website to visit: "History of China Timeline"  On your own view a short film on Ohio Link called "Ancient China" at:


Week 3: Philosophical thought: Daoism, and Confucius
Read Ebrey Chapter 2, Read Online: from  "The Analects," and "Dao De Jing".   Due Next Monday: Reflection paper on Confucian and Daoist philosophy.


Week 4: Bureaucracy & Imperial Governments, Buddhism

Read Ebrey Chapters 3 & 4 Slides: Buddhist and Daoist temples.

Websites to visit: "Chinese Lunar Calendar"  & Chinese Astrology Online (find out what animal year you were born in!)


Week 5: Family Identity and Women’s Roles
Read Ebrey Chapter 5. Read Online: “Footbinding,” Ban Zhao: "Lessons for a Woman"

Begin reading Wild Swans.


Week 6: Foreign Influences and Minority Identity
Read Ebrey Chapters 6 & 7.

Discussion: Mongols, Manchus (Manzhou), Tibetans, Muslims.

Website: The Mongols in World History


Week 7: Midterm

Keep reading Wild Swans and Final Paper assignment discussed.


Week 8: The Last Imperial Dynasty, Foreign Influences, and Literati Culture
Read Ebrey Chapter 8-9.

Slides: Forbidden City and Summer Palace

Read Online:  "The Palace Eunuchs."


Week 9: Crises of the Nineteenth Century

Read Online: The Opium Wars
Slides: Shanghai & The Bund


Week 10: Warlordism & the Sino-Japanese Clash
Read Ebrey Chapter 11.
Handout: Sun Yat-sen: "Fundamentals of National Reconstruction"  


Week 11: From the Long March to Communist Victory
Film "Mao: China's Peasant Emperor." Website to visit: "The Nanjing Massacre Archives."
(note: some pictures on this website display graphic violence)  

Read Ebrey Chapter 12.  Discuss Paper Assignment.

Week 12: From the Communist State to the Cultural Revolution
Read Ebrey Chapter 13 &14. Possible film "To Live" Website to visit: "The Cult of Mao"
Be working on your paper!  Visit the Writing Lab if you need help!

Week 13: The legacy of Mao to Deng to Zhang to Hu
Slides: Tiananmen Square. Website to visit: "Frontline: Tiananmen Square."
Finish Wild Swans

Week 14: Dealing with Foreigners: Chinese Minorities, the USA, and Taiwan

Paper due on Monday of this week.

Website to visit: NY Times interactive video by Nicholas Kristoff (Click on the link that looks like the Chinese Flag).

Week 15: Whither China?
Current Events Roundtable
Review for Final.
Online: Studyguide



Useful Weblinks:

China Resources Page
Ms. Russ' Pages