This module will discuss Chinese history from its mythical beginnings to the 19th century (the time when China encountered the West). We will encounter famous figures like the philosopher Confucius, discuss the origins of the Silk Road and the Great Wall, talk about the role of women in imperial China, explore the origins of the Chinese writing system and various other aspects of ancient and imperial China’s politics, philosophy, society, education and literature.
This module will serve two purposes. First of all, it will uncover China’s ancient and imperial history. Secondly, it will help us to understand how China narrates its history in the present to create a certain image of itself as a nation. Through stories about the distant past, Chinese politicians argue why certain contested territories (such as Taiwan or Tibet) belong to China, or why China deserves a role as a global player in the present and future. In other words, in order to understand where China is going and how China sees itself in the world, we need to go back deep into China’s past.