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JazzQuartet

Ancient Chinese history course

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JazzQuartet

Hello!

I am currently trying to do an independent study on ancient Chinese history at my school. I'll be studying history, technology and trade, religion and philosophy, classical literature, and traditional hobbies, from the rise of civilization to the Revolution and end of dynasties. However, I'm having trouble finding quality resources/textbooks. So far, I've found China: A History, volumes one and two, by Harold M. Tanner; The Cambridge History of Ancient China by Michael Loewe and Edward L. Shaughnessy, though this book ends at 221BC; and a supplementary book, Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook, 2nd Ed. by Patricia Buckley Ebrey. I would love to be able to use all of The Cambridge History of China volumes, however they are much too expensive.

Are there any books that I'm missing? Any suggestions for quality educational material would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

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skylee

Perhaps you could read something by Joseph Needham or Ray Huang?

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gato

Try searching for "china history" on amazon.com and look for those with good reviews. Is that too obvious?

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realmayo

How ancient is ancient? I can thoroughly recommend a book called 'East Asia before the West: Five Centuries of Trade and Tribute' which looks at how China interacted with its neighbours, particularly the tribute system and the export of Chinese culture.

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OneEye

Yeah, "ancient Chinese history" means wildly different things to different people. I personally think "anything before the end of the Han dynasty (AD 220)." Some people consider anything before 1911 to be "ancient," for whatever reason. Some people might confine it to only the Shang and Zhou periods. Some might include the up to the Tang or Song. Or who knows.

The OP does say "from the rise of civilization to the Revolution and end of dynasties," but that's an absurdly long time period. You ought to narrow it down. A lot. Pick a dynasty, or possibly two, but no more IMO.

Once you do that, search Google for course syllabi. There are some really good ones out there. Or, since your school presumably has an Asian Studies type of department, find out what they read in their Chinese history classes.

A good one to read, if you're looking for a big overview type of book, is A History of Chinese Civilization by Jacques Gernet.

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