CCCH9058 China: Culture, State and Society
This course will have an interdisciplinary focus: we will discuss key themes in Chinese political thinking, drawing on philosophy, history, law, and contemporary politics. We will take great thinkers from the past and put them in dialogue with each other and use their ideas to think about contemporary social and political challenges. The purpose of the course is to make students aware of the diverse and fascinating debates in political theory in Chinese history, to compare them with debates elsewhere, and to think about to what extent they still matter today.
We will discuss the following themes and thinkers: (1) The Morality of Warfare (Mencius and Shang Yang); (2) Freedom and Harmony (Confucius and Zhuangzi); (3) Ritual Propriety and Law (Xunzi and Han Feizi); (4) Music and Social Welfare (Yueji and Mozi); (5) Democracy and Political Meritocracy (Liang Shuming and Hu Shih); (6) Symbolic Monarchy and Republicanism (Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao).
Course Learning Outcomes
On completing the course, students will be able to:
- Explain key debates in Chinese political theory.
- Understand what’s similar and what’s different between debates in Chinese political theory and debates in the West and elsewhere.
- Draw on debates in Chinese political theory to help tackle contemporary social and political challenges.
- Participate in debates with other students on the application of ideas in Chinese political theory to contemporary social and political challenges.
Offer Semester and Day of Teaching
Second semester (Wed)
|Activities||Number of hours|
|Reading / Self-study||24|
|Assessment: Roleplay / Debate||20|
|Assessment: Essay / Report writing||20|
|Assessment: Video production||20|
Assessment: 100% coursework
|Participation in lectures and tutorials||30|
- Lau, D. C. (Trans.). Mencius.
- Pines, Yuri. (Trans.). The Book of Lord Shang.
- Jiang, Tao. Origins of Moral-Political Philosophy in Early China.
- Li, Chenyang. The Confucian Philosophy of Harmony.
- Hutton, Eric. (Trans.). Xunzi. [Chap. 19]
- Watson, Burton. (Trans.) Han Feizi.
- Johnston, Ian. (Trans.). Mozi.
- Legge, James. (Trans.). The Record of Music.
- Hu, Shih. English Writings of Hu Shih.
- Li, Ming. (Trans.). Fundamentals of Chinese Culture.
- Kang, Youwei. The Online Books Page.
- Zarrow, Peter. (Trans.). Thoughts from the Ice Breakers’ Studio: Essays on China and the World.