China’s First Empires and the Rise of Buddhism

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This course, the second in a collection on Chinese history and culture, addresses how the Qin dynasty conquered China and established a new system of government and how the Han dynasty built a stable, centralized empire that lasted for hundreds of years. We cover the early history of Buddhism in China and how the rising feudal aristocracy responded to the loss of empire by looking inward.

In this period, the Qin forged a new, unified empire, discovered new ways of mobilizing the population, and introduced the imperial ideology of “Cosmic Resonance”. However, this early dynasty was short-lived and soon gave way to the Han. Though the Han struggled with many tensions — centralism vs. regionalism, feudalism vs. bureaucracy — it lasted much longer than the Qin and established a stable relationship between Chinese society and the state.

Later, aristocratic culture and concerns around self-actualization became important in Chinese culture. Buddhism was also established in this period, and learners will discover how that religion spread throughout the country.

Join us to learn about China’s first unified empires and how the relationship to the self evolved with the spread of aristocratic culture and Buddhism.

المدربين

Peter K. Bol
Peter K. Bol
Peter K. Bol is the Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the founding director of the Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis. He holds degrees from the University of Leiden and Princeton University. He began teaching at Harvard in 1985 and was named a Harvard College Professor for excellence in teaching. Bol and William Kirby have been teaching the history of China together since 1992.
William C. Kirby
William C. Kirby
William C. Kirby is T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies at Harvard University and Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. He is a Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor. He serves as chairman of the Harvard China Fund and served as director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies from 2006 to 2013.