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Harvard University

China’s Political and Intellectual Foundations: From Sage Kings to Confucius

Harvard University via edX


This course, the first in a comprehensive series on China, introduces you to the history, geography, and culture of the country.

Time, space, and identity — enduring issues in Chinese history — are explored. You’ll study China’s early dynasties to understand how physical geography impacted its inhabitants and how the many ethnicities within the country affected Chinese identity. You’ll learn about China’s origins as told in ancient texts and through modern archeology. You’ll explore the first dynasties during the Chinese bronze age, the many facets of Confucianism and his Analects, and the competing schools of thought that followed.

New political and moral ideas appear in Chinese culture in this period — ideas that make up the country’s intellectual foundations and still resonate today. Join us to learn about China’s origins and how early concepts in Chinese culture still matter in the 21st century.

Taught by

Peter K. Bol and William C. Kirby


4.8 rating, based on 11 Class Central reviews

Start your review of China’s Political and Intellectual Foundations: From Sage Kings to Confucius

  • Anonymous
    My best experiment ever, I feel like a real Harvard student! more than one year of China courses
  • Nelson Mokaddem
    Cool course, with a medium-big content (when you know that it has 10 parts)
    The professor is easy to listen
    Besides, it's self-paced, so you can do it at your own time.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent free online course. Recommended to know the beginnings of Chinese society and how it shaped their thoughts of today.

    With an understanding of the intellectual beginnings of Chinese thoughts, we can better understand the Chinese and it would help us build a better relationship with them and build a better and peaceful world to live in.
  • Anonymous
    Em execução, o comunismo crescente hoje no mundo globalizado .E natural a sua peculiaridade no avanço do ser a humanidade no seu conceito
  • Tomáš Spevák
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    Pamylle Greinke
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    Michael Ye
  • Charles Yan

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