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HISTORY 293B: Living in Ancient China: A Material Culture History (ARCHLGY 193)

(Undergraduates, enroll in 293B. Master's students, enroll in 393B.) This course explores the embodied means and meanings of "living" in ancient China, roughly from 1200 BCE to 220 CE, as a way of understanding the sociocultural history of the period. It discusses the lived, materialized experiences of the groups that originated from different cultural-geographic zones of then China, from the Central Plain and the Mongolian-Manchurian steppe to the coast of the East China Sea and the south of the Nanling Mountains. The material cultures these peoples once created--for the king's court, as well as for urban commoners and farmers--constitute what we will investigate along the way. Topics range widely from contemporary foodways, fashion, violence, and writing practice to cities, palaces, ritual monuments, luxury objects accessed by elites, and religious decorations designed for the afterlife. The weekly meeting is comprised of a mini-lecture and a longer discussion session. Hopefully, students will have a chance to visit Cantor Center for Visual Arts and study closely an assemblage of related artifacts taught in this course. No background knowledge of ancient China (or archaeology) is required or expected.
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI
Instructors: Shen, D. (PI)
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