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HST 241: History of China - Earliest Time Through Ming Dynasty

Course Prefix

Course Number

Course Title


Credit Hours



History of China: Earliest Time Through Ming Dynasty



Course Description

Surveys the history of China from prehistory to the end of the Ming Dynasty. Major emphasis is placed on the evolution and growth of the Imperial system and forces that shaped its continuation and growth. IAI S2-914-N

Topical Outline

  1. Prehistory 
  2. Pre-dynastic China
  3. Chinese Myths
  4. The Shang Dynasty
  5. Classical Writings 100 Schools of Thought
  6. Chou Dynasty
  7. Taoism 
  8. Confucianism
  9. Warring States
  10. Chin Dynasty
  11. Legalists
  12. Han Dynasty
  13. Period of Disunion 
  14. Sui Dynasty
  15. Tang Dynasty
  16. Song Dynasty
  17. Rise of the Nomads
  18. Mongols
  19. Yuan Dynasty
  20. Fall of the Mongols
  21. Ming Dynasty
  22. Late Ming Dynasty
  23. Ming Exploration/Chinese Columbus
  24. Missionaries and Mandarins

Method of Presentation

  1. Lecture
  2. Discussion
  3. Designated readings
  4. Cooperative learning
  5. Oral reports
  6. Simulations
  7. Debates
  8. Appropriate media and selected films

Student Outcomes (The student should…)

  1. explain the origins of the Dynastic Cycle.
  2. explain government by aristocracy and mentocracy in early China.
  3. explain the origins and significance of the great Chinese philosophies.
  4. explain the origins and development of state run bureaucracy in early China. HST 241 Outline Continued
  5. identify major scientific and technological developments in early China.
  6. trace the evolution and establishment of the Imperial system in early China.
  7. explain the role nomadic groups had in the evolution of Imperial China.
  8. explain the Mandate of Heaven.
  9. explain the role of emperor and scholar bureaucracy in the Dynastic system.
  10. explain the role of myth in Chinese civilization.

Method of Evaluation

  1. Three (3) essay examinations
  2. Three (3) document-based case study analyses
  3. One (1) oral presentation
  4. One 15-page primary source research paper.


Fairbank, John, and Goldman, Merle, China: A New History, Harvard 2006.

Polo, Travels of Marco Polo, 2001.

Harkins, Window to the World of Imperial China, McGraw.

Prepared by: Michael Harkins

Fall, 2008