HIST4145 Historical Anthropology of Chinese Society (3 units)
Why does a unified national state and culture coexist with local cultural diversity in China? Many historians and anthropologists have grappled with this question. This course will demonstrate the significance of historical anthropology as an approach to understanding Chinese history. In the past millennium of Chinese history, the geographic extent and influence of the Chinese state has expanded. Different parts of China have been integrated into the state under various administrative arrangements at different times. At the same time, many local social and cultural changes have taken place independently. By combining field and documentary research, the course will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of how local societies acquire their specific identities at the same time as they become integrated into a broader, unified culture.
This course will document observable indications of local ritual traditions and reconstruct the history of the local institutions in which they were employed. By comparing the time frames of distinct local histories, this course will construct the history of China from the bottom up. Students in this course are expected to learn Chinese history from what they see as well as from what they read. Besides lectures and tutorials, the course includes field trips to different historical sites in Hong Kong.
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