Friday, August 31

Homework #2 is due at the start of class today.

Reading assignment:  Spring and Autumn China, pp. 1-21

Our agenda in class on Friday will be to begin to explore the master narrative of the Spring and Autumn period (771-453; today's reading takes us down to about 625). The full reading, which we'll cover in two class sessions, presents 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.

I'll begin Friday's class by drilling you briefly 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 many maps and the diagram in the reading [pp. 4-6], we can be quick on this.)

We'll devote the remainder of class to a discussion of the "hegemonies" of Duke Huan of the state of Qi (pp. 8-14) and Duke Wen of Jin (15-21). Almost all of the features of the early Spring & Autumn period "master narrative" can be glimpsed in the tales of these two figures. If you will read the accounts of these two hegemons in light of study question #5 on p. 41 (near the end of the entire reading 1.7), and be prepared to address that issue in class, you will come to class already knowing much of what I'll be looking to bring out.

Note that this reading will be paired with a narrative reading on Warring States China, which you'll be reading for next Wednesday and Friday. On the following  Monday, September 17, 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.