Discuss the origins of material culture in Chinese creation myths and demonstrate the implications that particular developments (Divine Farmer/Shen Nong, for instance) had on archaic Chinese social and economic development. Consider also the impact that bronze works and iron tools had on early Chinese political, social, and cultural history.
2) Choose three of the schools of thought that flourished during the Hundred Schools period of the Eastern Zhou and contrast their views on government and human nature. Also, suggest how these philosophies might be reflections of the social and political realities of the time.
3) How did the various schools of thought of the Warring States period become embodied in the Han political system and how did Confucianism become the official creed during the Han? Please also discuss the main features of Han Confucianism.
4) How have periods of disunity contributed to the development of Chinese history? Is unity or disunity the norm and why?
5) Write an essay discussing land ownership and taxation during the Han. How did land and taxation impact upon the fall of the Former Han and again the Later Han? What does this tell us about the relationship between the central government and a landed aristocracy in Han China?
6) What is the “Mandate of Heaven” and how is this concept linked with the rise and fall of dynasties–in ideal form and in actuality? Is the Mandate of Heaven simply a legitimizing concept for new dynasties, and if so, how do you explain the demise of various dynasties? Give examples from specific dynasties from the Shang to the Later Han.
7) Why did Buddhism, a foreign religion, become so popular in China? How was it transformed in China?
8) Discuss the importance of religion to the power of the state in early and medieval China. Compare and contrast the evolution of the relationship between religion and the state from Shang times to the Tang dynasty.
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