TOPIC 1: The Tang-Song Transformation
The Song dynasty, despite its military losses to the nomadic regimes in the north, marked a new era in Chinese history characterized by profound political, economic, social and cultural changes. These include the rise of scholars’ status, expansion of civil-service examinations, rising prominence of Neo-Confucianism, re-definition of gendered space, thriving artistic and literary achievements, and an affluent urban culture. Write an essay elaborating at least three of the above-mentioned aspects to illustrate the unique developments during the Tang-Song Transformation.
TOPIC 2: The Encounter of Late Imperial China with the Outside World
During the Ming and Qing periods, government policies towards foreign religions, trade requests, and cultural practices oscillated between curiosity and rejection. Choose at least three examples to discuss what “foreigners” or “foreignness” would have meant to the Chinese during this period.
Write an essay of at least 1000 words in response to each of the two topics listed above. Remember that this is an exercise in synthesis and argument. You must have a clearly identifiable thesis statement that forms the basis of your essay.
Note that you need to think about the course as a whole and to draw evidence from lectures and readings to support your argument. You will not pass this assignment if, for example, all your examples are drawn from only one reading. This is the most significant dimension of the take-home exam.
Consult the Chicago Manual of Style or MLA style for citation formats:
Also note that quoting another person’s words and ideas from the Internet or paper-based sources without acknowledgement constitutes plagiarism, which is ground for failure and possible suspension.