His326H1 Bandits, Barbarians, and Bureaucrats: Patterns and Narratives in Early Modern China (Fall 2015)

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HIS 326 | updated 9/17/2015 11:26:00 AM| Syllabus subject to change at discretion of instructor


Bandits, Barbarians, and Bureaucrats: Patterns and Narratives in Early Modern China (Fall 2015)

Tues. 10:00-12:00 SS 1088

Professor: Y. Yvon Wang (yyvon.wang@utoronto.ca) SS 2082

Office Hours: Tuesday 15:00-17:00 or by appointment
This course traces the history of Chinese empire from its political reorganization, economic expansion, and cultural efflorescence in the 11th century, through its peak of power in the 18th century, and to its decline during the 19th. We will consider how these centuries broke with as well as continued previous developments, and how they have influenced Chinese and world history in the last 150 years.
You are expected to arrive in this class with some previous knowledge of Chinese history. A particular emphasis of this course will be in placing different types of historical narrative in critical context. Many materials will be narratives—fiction, memoirs, poetry, and others—and assignments are designed to enhance your skills in interpreting evidence and presenting coherent points, which will serve you in all future academic and professional pursuits.
I. Assignments and grading

Note: page counts are double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman, 1-inch margins; 1 page ~ 250 words. All out-of-class submissions should be submitted to me electronically.

(1) Map quiz [2.5% x 2 = 5%]

You will be given two in-class map quizzes during the semester to check for a basic grasp of geography and the environment. Lists of features and sites to be identified are available on Blackboard.

(2) Content checks [5%x 5 =25%]

You are to turn these in the night before our biweekly discussions of assigned materials beginning in Week 4. You will be expected to answer 1-2 questions in 2 pages or less, based on lecture content and assigned materials. No outside research. Prompts are on Blackboard.

(3) Response papers [12.5% x 2 = 25%]

You are to turn in two response papers of 5-7 pages each, drawing on material from the course and 2-3 additional sources provided. You may turn the papers in singly or together. One is due by Week 7, and both are due by Week 9. Prompts are on Blackboard.

(4) Final assignment [20% +5% +5% = 30%]

The final assignment consists of three components for a total of 30% of the term grade.

  1. You will form teams of three to four students to prepare an "exhibit" analyzing a fictional narrative about modern China. This may be in the form of an essay, video, web site, or narrated Powerpoint presentation. Regardless of format, your team should discuss your strategy and choice of narrative with me no later than Week 7. [= 5% of your final mark]

  2. The exhibit itself, detailed requirements for which are available on Blackboard. [=20% of your final mark]

  3. After forming your work teams, you will also be assigned a partner team for peer feedback. Once the exhibit projects are turned in, each student will individually prepare the following in written form, both due 1 week after submitting your exhibition [= 5% of your final mark]

    1. A 200 (minimum) word critique of your partnered team’s project, to be turned into them and CCing me. Stay constructive and be specific!

    2. A 200 word (minimum) reflection on your own project: talk about positive and negative aspects, how your team worked together, whether you would do things differently on your own, or if you had another chance, etc..

(5) Participation [15%]

Attending class, demonstrating thoughtful engagement with the course materials during our discussions, and interacting substantively with your peers will earn you a high participation grade.

To be counted as excused, absences must be brought to my notice no later than 24 hours before the start of the class. No more than two excused absences may be taken per semester unless in cases of medical or family emergencies.

(6) Bonus credit [up to 5%]

You will receive 0.5% extra credit for the following:

(1) posting a course-relevant news story with basic 1-page analysis of its relationship to the course material on the forum

(2) every 2 times you come to office hours or meet with me to conduct substantive discussions (excluding the visit for your final project).
II. Course materials

Books on order:

Jonathan Spence, Emperor of China: Self-Portrait of K'ang-Hsi ([1974] 2012).

Jonathan Spence, The Death of Woman Wang. (1978).

TANG Xianzu, Cyril Birch trans., Peony Pavilion: Mudan ting, Second Edition (2002).

SHEN Fu, Leonard Pratt and CHIANG Su-hui trans., Six Records of a Floating Life (1983).

You will need to read large parts of these books during this course. I advise getting your own copy for ease of access. They are also on reserve at Robarts Library (RES).
Other materials are at Robarts Library (LIB), online, and/or available through Blackboard (BB). You are responsible for securing the materials necessary to completing your assignments, and I encourage you to communicate with peers to share materials as necessary. Assignments listed for discussion sessions are to be read before the session.

Course Web Site:

Assignments, a discussion forum, and course materials will be available via the University's Blackboard system. A UTor ID is required to access Blackboard; please create/activate an ID if you do not already have one.

Grading Policy:

Assignments may be submitted for reevaluation, but a written reason must be provided no more than one week after the assignment was returned with its initial grade. Keep in mind that grades can be lowered as well as raised.

Assignments can only be made up if your absence is excused.

An excused absence requires verifiable documentation (from your College Registrar, or the Verification Form at http://www.illnessverification.utoronto.ca/) about a health or personal emergency. Consideration of any such request is at the instructor’s discretion in accordance with the policy of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. It is the students’ responsibility to make up for any missed classes.

Late assignments will suffer a reduction of ½ of a letter grade per day late, e.g. B instead of B+.


You will be held to the University's academic integrity policy, so please familiarize yourself with its terms. (http://www.artsci.utoronto.ca/osai) Working with classmates when not permitted, having others complete your work, or using others' ideas without proper citation are all acts of plagiarism.

You must turn in a signed Academic Integrity checklist with all coursework.

I may elect to submit some student assignments to Turnitin.com for a review of textual similarity and detection of possible plagiarism. Unless students opt out of this, they agree for their essays to be included as source documents in the Turnitin.com reference database, where they will be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. The terms that apply to the University's use of the Turnitin.com service are described on the Turnitin.com web site. If you would like to opt out, please let me know ASAP.

Social media, electronic communications, and classroom policies

Class-related announcements and notices will be delivered via email; you are expected to maintain a working U of T account and to check it regularly.

I will strive to respond to all class-related emails within two business days. Please abide by general courtesy for written correspondence in your emails to ensure a reply.

Please be considerate of others in your use of technology in class. Surfing the Internet or text messaging does not just distract yourself, but also others around you.

I do not accept friend requests on any social media platform from current students.

Students with Disabilities

Any student who suspects s/he may need an accommodation because of a disability should contact me privately to discuss your needs as soon as possible and provide written documentation from Accessibility Services. If you are not yet registered as a student with a disability, please visit and get in touch via the Accessibility Services Web Site at http://www.accessibility.utoronto.ca/

Intellectual Property

All materials developed by instructor for this class are copyrighted to Y. Yvon Wang. Permission should be sought from the instructor before any A/V recordings are made.
Important! If you prefer to stand up at any point during lecture or discussion, please feel free to do so. Sitting encourages sleepiness and wandering concentration.
Note: for clarity, authors' Chinese surnames are in ALL CAPS below. For full citation information, consult the list on Blackboard.

[09/15] Week 1 The early modern turn

"China"? "Early modern"? | Song, Liao, Jin, Xia-- plural empire

[09/22] Week 2 Efflorescence and decay [Discussion 1]

Song political economy| philosophy, paintings, poems, and printing

Assignments for Discussion #1:

* Four Generals of Zhongxing. Painting by Song-period artist LIU Songnian (1214). Online: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ef/Four_Generals_of_Song.jpg

*Opening and closing theme song music videos from the 2013 TV series The Patriot Yue Fei (note that opening is based on the poem attributed to Yue). Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxmyZSBAl8E and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7soACv84YY

* CHENG Hao, "Ten Matters Calling for Reform"; ZHU Xi, “Preface to the Great Learning" and “Articles of the White Deer Grotto Academy,” in de Bary et al eds., Sources of Chinese Tradition: Volume I, Second Edition (2000), 601-604, 721-725, 742-743. (BB)

*LI Qingzhao, “Epilogue to Records on Metal and Stone,” in Stephen Owen, An Anthology of Chinese Literature: Beginnings to 1911 (1997), 591-596. (BB)

*LI Qingzhao, poems in Kang-i Sun CHANG and Haun Saussy eds., Women Writers of Traditional China (1999), 98-99. (BB)

[09/29] Week 3 The Mongol Empire

The Yuan in the world, the world in the Yuan|

[10/06] Week 4 Between ocean and steppe [Discussion 2] Content Check 1 DUE 11:59 PM, 10/05

Collapse and re-centralization|Ming statecraft, exploration, borders

Assignments for Discussion #2:

*Marco Polo, The Travels (Penguin edn., 1974), SKIM Ch. 5, “From Peking to Amoy,” 194-240. Online: https://books.google.com/books?id=HLxwRuyH_P0C&lpg=PP1&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

* MA Huan, J.V.G. Mills trans., Ying Yai Shêng Lan: The Overall Survey of the Ocean's Shores' [1433] (1970). Ma Huan’s Introduction, 69-70; Champa, 77-85; Siam,102-107; Malacca, 108-113; Mecca,173-178. (BB)

*Frances Wood, Did Marco Polo Go To China? (1996), Introduction and “The Bare Details,” 1-8; “Omissions and Inclusions,” 64-75; “Conclusions,” 140-151. (LIB G370 .P9 W663 1995)

*Morris Rossabi’s review of Wood. Online: http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/pop/polo/mp_essay.htm;

*Jennie Cohen, "Marco Polo Went to China After All, Study Suggests." History.com. Online: http://www.history.com/news/marco-polo-went-to-china-after-all-study-suggests
[10/13] Week 5: Years of great significance Map Quiz 1

Commercialization & government of mid-Ming| factions and philosophies

[10/20] Week 6: Silver and True Love [Discussion 3] Content Check 2 DUE 11:59 PM, 10/19

Commerce and culture in the late Ming| the “cult of sentiment” and the "woodblock revolution"

Assignments for Discussion #3:

*Tang Xianzu, Cyril Birch trans., Peony Pavilion: Mudan ting, Second Edition (2002), “Declaring Ambition,” 3-5; “Admonishing the Daughter,” 6-11; “The Schoolroom,” 24-30; “The Interrupted Dream,” 42-53; “Pursuing the Dream,” 55-62; “In Search of Patronage”, 63-65; “The Invalid,” 75-79, “Infernal Judgment,” 120-135; “Spectral Vows”, 180-191; “Delayed Examination,” 229-236; “Interrogation under the Rod,” 305-317; “Glad News,” 317-323. (RES PL2695 .M8 E5 2002X) (Bookstore)

* Peking Opera clip of “Storming the Celestial Court” from Journey to the West (watch until at least 14:00). Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRukNtlKkos

* Luo Guanzhong, C. H. Brewitt-Taylor trans., Romance of the Three Kingdoms ([1959] 2002), Ch. 1, 3-14. (BB)

[10/27] Week 7: Universal empire

Qing imperial rule and expansion| New currents in philosophy

[11/03] Week 8: The long eighteenth century [Discussion 4] Content Check 3 DUE 11:59 PM, 11/02

Deadline to discuss final assignment with me.

Deadline to drop/change grading for Fall Term courses

Law and order in the Qing

Assignments for Discussion #4:

*Jonathan Spence, Emperor of China: Self-Portrait of K'ang-Hsi ([1974] 2012), “Thinking,” 65-89. “Ruling,” 29-59 ; “Valedictory Edict,” 143-151 (BB).

*Jonathan Spence, The Death of Woman Wang (1978), 1-19; 33-48; 77-98. (RES HQ1767 .S63) (Bookstore)

*Robert Hegel, trans. and ed., True Crimes in Eighteenth-Century China: Twenty Case Histories (2009), Case 19: “Luo Fenpeng: A Phony Scholar-Official, (1763),” 218-225. (LIB KNQ3800 .H44 2009X)

[11/17] Week 9: Bare sticks and bandits Map Quiz 2

Both Response Papers DUE by 11:59PM

Downward mobility and collective violence |Rural life and “involution”

[11/24] Week 10: Barbarians and rebels [Discussion 5] Content Check 4 DUE 11:59 PM, 11/23

Macartney Embassy to Opium War

Assignments for Discussion #5:

*George Macartney, “Audience with Ch’ien-lung,” in J.L. Cranmer-Byng ed., An Embassy to China: Being the journal kept by Lord Macartney during his embassy to the Emperor Ch’ien-lung, 1793- 1794, 122-124. (BB)

*George III, “Letter to the Emperor of China,” in The Chronicles of the East India Company Trading to China, 1635-1834, (vol. II): 244-247. (BB)

* LIN Zexu, “Commissioner Lin: Letter to Queen Victoria, 1839,” reprinted in William H. McNeil and Mitsuko Iriye, eds., Modern Asia and Africa, Readings in World History Vol. 9, (1971), 111-118. Online: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1839lin2.asp

*Alexander Murray, Doings in China, being the Personal Narrative of an Officer Engaged in the Late Chinese Expedition, from the Recapture of Chusan in 1841, to the Peace of Nankin in 1842 (1843), Frontispiece; 215-222. Online: https://books.google.com/books?id=hxgMAAAAYAAJ

*Duncan McPherson, The War in China. Narrative of the Chinese Expedition from its Formation in April, 1840, to the Treaty of Peace in August, 1842, 3rd edition (1843), 3-9. (online at Google Books)

* Images from the Kaigai shinwa in “The Opium War in Japanese Eyes,” MIT Visualizing Cultures. Online: http://ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/21f/21f.027/opium_wars_japan/oje_gallery.html

FALL BREAK 11/9-11/10

[12/01] Week 11: Rebels

The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom | Other challenges to the Qing

[12/08] Week 12 [Discussion 5] Content Check 5 DUE 11:59 PM, 12/07

State, Society, Economy: “civil society” and “public sphere”| Culture, Bodies, Affect: the “querelle des femmes”

Assignments for Discussion #5:

*Panthay rebellion call to arms (1868) in David Atwill and Yurong Atwill eds., Sources in Chinese History (2010), 59. (BB)

*Emile Rocher's description of the Great Muslim Rebellion (1873) in David Atwill and Yurong Atwill eds., Sources in Chinese History (2010), 60-61. (BB)

* HONG Xiuquan, "An Essay on the Awakening of the Age" and "The T’ien Wang’s Manifesto to the Foreign Brothers" in Franz Michael ed., The Taiping Rebellion: History and Documents Vol. II (1971), 688-695; 715-721. (LIB DS759 .M57 V.2)

*LI Ruzhen, LIN Tai-yi trans. Flowers in the Mirror (1965), 107-125; 133-136. (BB)

*SHEN Fu, Leonard Pratt and CHIANG Su-hui trans., Six Records of a Floating Life (1983), 25-51, 73-97. (RES PL2724 .H4 A613 1983)(Bookstore)
Final assignment (Exhibitions) due by 11:59PM on 12/10

Final assignment (Critiques) due by 11:59PM on 12/17

Final assignment (Reflections) due by 11:59PM on 12/17

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