A Syllabus of Chinese Civilization

A Syllabus of Chinese Civilization

A Syllabus of Chinese Civilization

A Syllabus of Chinese Civilization

Excerpt

This syllabus has been prepared for use in introductory courses in Chinese civilization, primarily in liberal arts colleges. This is not the place to argue the merits of the civilization approach to the study of China; it is assumed that there is a need for such a syllabus at colleges that offer, or are planning to offer, general education courses in Chinese civilization. Of course, it is hoped that the syllabus will also be of some use in courses in the political or cultural history of China.

The aim of the syllabus is to provide a guide for both teacher and student, without unduly restricting the former's freedom of selection and emphasis in his lectures, and without providing the latter with a "trot" that will enable him to get through a course without any intellectual effort. Indeed, one purpose of the syllabus is to free the instructor from the necessity of pointing out in class which facts are essential and which are not. At the same time, while it is designed to remind the student which facts are important, it seeks to avoid explaining why they are important. That is left to the student's own reading and to the classroom.

Some principle of arrangement of the basic facts to be included in the syllabus was necessary. A chronological arrangement, following the traditional periodization according to dynasties, has been chosen as the best and most prevalent method of introducing the student to these facts. This is not meant to imply that this periodization is the best way to interpret the history of Chinese civilization, but merely that it is the most convenient point of departure for such an understanding. Most courses on Chinese civilization are organized chronologically, but even those instructors who prefer to lecture on a series of topics cutting across historical periods may find that a chronological outline of Chinese history will be helpful for the beginning student. The emphasis is on intellectual and in-

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