There is a Homework assignment due on Thursday, January 28,
and bear in mind your first Journal assignment should be submitted through Oncourse by January 29.
Reading assignment: Spring and Autumn China
The assignment you'll be reading for Tuesday's class will serve as our "master narrative" for a three-century stretch of Chinese history, half the Classical era. What the reading does is to present a summary overview of this long era - a period which is richly reported in chronicles and tales - illustrated by four "episodes" chosen to convey major themes of the period, and because their stories are famous and good reading.
Note that this reading will be paired with a narrative reading on Warring States China, which you'll be reading for next Thursday, February 4. On the following Tuesday, February 9, you'll have a quiz that will cover these two readings. Nothing fancy about the quiz (multiple choice, fill in the blank, that sort of thing) - it's simply meant to motivate you to learn the "master narratives" of the two eras of Classical China.
In class, I'll briefly drill you on the political landscape of the early Classical period of fragmentation -- most centrally on the array of the four great powers which emerged to prominence by the middle of the seventh century: Jin, Qi, Chu, and Qin. (If you have the geography in your heads from the online maps of the period, we can be quick on this.)
A considerable portion of the class will focus on a contrast between the seventh century "hegemonies" of Duke Huan of the state of Qi and Duke Wen of Jin, the subjects of the first two expended episodes embedded in your reading. Most of the features of the early Spring & Autumn period master narrative are captured in the tales of these two figures. Read the accounts of these two hegemons in light of study question #5, and be prepared to address that issue in class. The key episode for the later Spring & Autumn period is the tale of Wu Zixu, which concerns the rise of the Yangzi Delta region states of Wu and Yue. In this regard, it would be most helpful for you to read these sections with study questions #1 and #3 in mind.
To make the names & dates of the Spring & Autumn period easier to untangle and remember, consult the supplement: A List of Significant Dates and Names for the Spring & Autumn Period.