Please choose either Question I or Question II.
The German philosopher Hegel believed that China—its politics, economy, society, culture—changed little over the course of history. Based on what we have learned so far this semester, and especially your reading of Jacques Gernet’s Daily Life in China, do you agree with this view? If so, what explains this extraordinary continuity? If not, how would you characterize China’s changes in one or more of the periods we have studied? This is a potentially very large subject. Be certain to construct a focused argument that examines specific areas of change or continuity.
Your narrative must be based on evidence from Daily Life in China, other assigned readings as appropriate, and lecture notes. None other than assigned sources may be used. You must cite your evidence properly, using the name of the source and the page number(s). Your essay should be approximately five pages (1200 words), in Times Roman 12 point font.
Jacques Gernet’s Daily Life in China presents us a snapshot of a vivid and brilliant society of the Southern Song dynasty. The fascinating picture constructed by Gernet brings the readers back to the early 13th-century Hangzhou on the eve of its destruction. Imagine that you are writing a play set in Hangzhou during the same period. Write a scene from that play which demonstrates (1) that you understand the social life and cultural setting of the Southern Song dynasty, (2) that you make clear your story illustrates larger historical themes. Your scene must incorporate material culture, historical background, and social trends that are described in Gernet’s book, and indicate page number (s) of your source. Your project should be approximately five pages (1200 words), in Times Roman 12 point font.