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Cultural Encounters: China and Eurasia Since the Middle Ages

History 3455 - Fall 2020

Eschewing traditional narratives of Chinese civilization, which imply a society closed to the outside world, this course follows current scholarship in situating Chinese history within a broader spatial context. In particular, this course explores cultural encounters between China and other subregions of the Eurasian continent to the north and west of China, from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) to the present. The course begins by analyzing the relationship between nomadic societies on the steppe (and, more generally, "non-state spaces") and settled, agricultural societies such as China. We then turn to the influence of two religions imported from central Eurasia, Buddhism and Islam. A related theme is the relationship, in the early modern era, between trade, which tended to erode boundaries, and states, which sought to create boundaries. We will then trace the changing dynamics among commerce, religion, and nation-states in the twentieth century. Finally, we return to the role of Buddhism and Islam in the contemporary relationship between the China and the various peoples and states across its western frontier.
Course Attributes: EN HBU HumBU ISAS HUMAS LCD

Section 01

Cultural Encounters: China and Eurasia Since the Middle Ages
INSTRUCTOR: Reynolds, E
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