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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Intellectual Change in Early China: Warring States and Han by The Chinese University of Hong Kong

118 ratings

About the Course

This sequence of four courses will propose a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of Chinese cultural history conceived of as a succession of modes of rationality (philosophical, bureaucratic, and economic). The focus will be on the moments of paradigm shift from one mode of rationality to another. For each of these moments, cultural facts and artifacts—thought, literature, ritual—will be examined in relationship to changing social, political, and economic systems. The first two courses will cover the periods of the Warring States (481-256 BCE) and the Period of Division (220-589 CE), with a brief excursion into the Han (206 BCE-220 CE). The Warring States laid the social and cultural foundations for the emergence of the imperial mode of rationality; the Period of Division saw the Buddhist “conquest” of China and the emergence of a rationality defined by the opposition of the Three Teachings to shamanism, that is, of a clear contrast between elite and popular culture. The third and fourth courses will focus on the emergence of modern China in the Song-Yuan (960-1368) and of today’s China 1850 to the present. We will see how the modern attack on religion, redefined as "superstition", led not only to religious reform movements but also to a society in which science and the nation became the primary value systems promoted by the state. The courses are listed below: A Critical Cultural History of China - Early China I: Intellectual Change in the Warring States and Han (481 BCE-220 CE) A Critical Cultural History of China - Early China II: Religious Transformation in the Period of Division (220-589 CE) A Critical Cultural History of China - Modern China I: Religion and Thought in the Song, Jin, and Yuan (960-1368) A Critical Cultural History of China - Modern China II: Structuring Values (1850-2015)...

Top reviews


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Excellent course on China's early culture surrounding this era and covering Daoism, Taoism and Confucianism.


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Fascinating course on an era of intellectual change .Those Ancient elite literati knew a thing or two about how to use propaganda and ritual.

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26 - 38 of 38 Reviews for Intellectual Change in Early China: Warring States and Han


Apr 18, 2023

Very educational.

By Or K K

Apr 30, 2023


By HouJingyi

Jan 9, 2023


By Rochelle S

Jan 12, 2019

More challenging and advanced than I anticipated. I recommend this course for those who are already familiar with Chinese culture and history and want to deepen their knowledge. Not as an introduction for beginners. But if you give it the commitment it requires, you will learn a lot about early Chinese religion. Take notes, memorize the terms, and watch the videos multiple times. Then take the quizzes. If you get a low score, go over the material again. I give it 4 out of 5 stars because I think the presentation could be better. Also, if you are interested in Taoism, Buddhism and/or Qigong, be aware that he approaches it as an academic, not a practitioner. I guess that's expected for a course like this. Thanks, Coursera, for making this series on early Chinese religion free.

By Keziah W

Jun 22, 2020

Gives a good overview of the major changes in the period. Doesn't always go into all the necessary details, but for an overview that's ok. Would recommend some background knowledge or having studied academic history before taking this.

By Martin W

Jul 23, 2021

Very interesting and informative! My only criticism is that I thought the quizzes were frustrating and not very helpful; there was too much emphasis on Chinese terms or specific phrases.

By foshan

Dec 12, 2021

Interesting and thought provoking. Would have given 5 stars if there was extra reading provided or recommended beyond the volume used which is too expensive to buy in the UK

By Joy S

Sep 5, 2018

Instructor is expert in everything Chinese and quite interesting.

By Lim K B J

Jun 16, 2020

Good presentation on the intellectual thinking, thank you !

By Xu K

Jan 25, 2021

A little bit disorganized.

By Desiree A

Feb 5, 2021

Interesting lectures but no reading material is offered. Sometimes the chronology is confusing because the professor jumps around across centuries and themes. A clear timeline, maps and reading material would improve this course.

By Lee K L

Apr 26, 2019

Not much on the intellectual part but mostly on religion.

By Helen L

Aug 27, 2021

There's some good information here, however, this professor doesn't convey information very clearly, and the quizzes sometimes don't match up with the material. I also noticed that he switches into Mandarin randomly, often with no clear purpose (ie. he'll say the word for "sincerity" in Mandarin and then translate it, but doesn't serve to clarify concepts). It's quite distracting, and it made it more difficult to focus.