01:165:341 Major Traditions in Chinese Thought 

This course centers on the three critical Chinese intellectual traditions: Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. Focusing on the concepts of “Dao” (or “the Way”), “Heaven,” and “Human Nature,” it traces the mutual absorption (i.e., syncretism) of these three traditions over the centuries before 1400 CE. Since philosophy and religion were not divided into two separate branches of knowledge in pre-modern China, we will pay particular attention to the religious aspects of Chinese “philosophical” traditions, which modern scholars have often neglected. In this way, we can better understand how people embodied these traditions in everyday life.

This course achieves the Asian Languages and Cultures Departmental Learning Goals specified for the Asian Studies (098) and Chinese (165) major and minor. For the complete statement of Asian Languages and Cultures Departmental Learning Goals.

Grading: Class and Group Participation 20%, Group Discussion Reports 20%, Quizzes 30%, Short Paper 30%

Attendance is not mandatory for this course, but class and group participation is. I assess each individual’s performance over the semester in the following areas:

Preparedness: Complete and understand the reading assignment before class.
Mastery: Demonstrate ability to apply course materials during class.
Engagement: Actively initiate and respond to questions and contribute to discussions.
Teamwork: Be respectful, supportive, and engaging, and listen to your peers.Discussion: Focus and articulate your analysis, synthesis, and argument.
Overall: Your presence improves the class dynamic and level of discussion.

The group discussions will focus on primary sources. Groups are randomly assigned every Thursday; you will therefore have a different combination of people in your group each time. Each group will post a short report (150–200 words) of their discussion on Canvas Discussion before 11:59 PM.

Each group should also elect one person to send me a quick email evaluating the quality of the group discussion. Make sure to provide the one-word evaluation in the subject line and the group members’ names in the email. Use the following rubric:

Excellent: Everyone completed the readings before the class and contributed to the discussion.
Average: Most people completed the readings before the class and contributed to the discussion.
Poor: Most people did NOT complete their reading before the class or contribute to the discussion.

There will be an open-book quiz every Thursday starting September 9, 2021. Each quiz has 5 multiple-choice questions based on the lecture and reading assigned for that week. All quizzes are administered through Canvas Quizzes. The quiz of the week will be available on Thursdays between 12:01 AM to 2:59 PM. Once you start the quiz, you have 10 minutes to complete it. Only the top 10 scores will be used to calculate the final grade. There will be no make-up quiz.

Students must complete one short paper for this course. The paper will be an analytical essay centering on a question drawing from the course materials. It requires students to use the primary sources and other assigned readings to form and support their arguments. No research will be needed.