Topics in Chinese Literature & Culture


This course provides a historical and thematic overview of three major religious traditions in pre-modern East Asia, mainly from the 5th century BCE to the 13th century CE: Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. We begin with a theoretical question about how to conceptualize the notion of "religion" in pre-modern East Asian cultures. We then examine the socio-political context of the rise, change, and development of various foundational religious ideas and practices in the formative stage of East Asian civilization, roughly from the 11th to 6th century BCE. Particularly, students will pay attention to the nature of religious beliefs and actions as a way of performativity to construct and embody the legitimacy of the political power and authority in early East Asia. Based on the theoretical and historical reflections, this course will turn to the formation and development of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism in later East Asian history, respectively. Reading some representative works of each tradition, students will learn how pre-modern East Asians have continuously come up with new religious ideas and practices to respond to fundamental and ultimate questions of humanity and the world in their own context. Open to students of all levels. No prerequisites.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU IS; AS HUM; AS LCD; FA HUM; AR HUM; UC CD; BU Eth

Section 01

Topics in Chinese Lit & Culture: Three Streams: Major Religious Traditions in Pre-modern East Asia - 01
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