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edX

Chinese Culture: Tradition

Hong Kong Polytechnic University via edX

Overview

Introduction

Owing to its rapid development in recent years, China has moved into the spotlight of the international arena. While understanding modern China's economy, technology and politics is important, knowing its cultural roots and evolution is no less crucial for seeing a full picture of Chinese culture. This course introduces 5 interesting aspects of traditional Chinese culture.

Key questions of the course

  • What was the origin of ancient Confucianism? How does ancient Confucian wisdom help us address the modern human predicament?
  • How does Daoism enlighten us with a butterfly and fish? What is the connection between Daoism and the equality of all living organisms?
  • Why does Buddhism see our present lifetime to be nothing but suffering? How do the Four Noble Truths help liberate us from suffering?
  • What is special about Chinese ancient warfare? Who is Sunzi? What is his book The Art of War about? What can we learn from this famous book?
  • What are the main styles and themes of the paintings in the Song dynasty? Who were the famous painters in that period? How did they collectively usher in a new era of artistic achievement for Chinese traditional paintings?

Course Design

  • A team of 5 experts in Chinese culture has designed the course. They are, in alphabetical order, Dr Chen, Dr Muelenbeld, Dr Fok, Dr Tse and Dr Wan.
  • The compact design of the mini-lectures suits the busy schedule of edX learners.
  • Introductions by animation hosts highlight the key questions of each unit.
  • Illustrations and maps are designed to liven up the mini-lectures.
  • Self-learning is supported by review questions and forums.
  • Cross-referencing enhances a fruitful learning experience across the units of the HKPolyUx series on Chinese culture.

Syllabus

Confucianism: Origins

  • Introduction
  • Historical background of Confucianism
  • Kongzi's efforts to restore Zhou Li
  • Significance of Kongzi's teaching to the modern age

Daoism: Laozi and Zhuangzi

  • Introduction
  • Butterfly and fish: Language and being
  • Laozi and Kongzi on order
  • Unspeakable knowledge
  • One world: Within and outside us
  • Interconnection, equality and ecology

Buddhism in China

  • Introduction
  • From a prince to the Buddha
  • The First Noble Truth: Suffering
  • The Second Noble Truth: Cause of suffering
  • The Third Noble Truth: Elimination of suffering
  • The Fourth Noble Truth: Paths to enlightenment

Ancient Chinese Warfare and Sunzi's The Art of War

  • Introduction
  • Civilization and warfare
  • From oracle bones to chariot warfare
  • Background of Sunzi's The Art of War
  • Understanding The Art of War : Chapters 1 to 7
  • Understanding The Art of War : Chapters 8 to 13

Chinese Paintings in the Song Dynasty

  • Introduction
  • Northern Song Painting Style: Monumental Realism
  • Transitional Painting: Li Tang
  • Southern Song Painting Style: Lyrical Representation
  • Literati Painting (Wenrenhua)
  • Chan Painting: Mu Qi

Taught by

Lang Chen, Silvia Fok, Mark Meulenbeld, Wicky Tse and David Wan

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