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Chinese Perspectives on the Individual and Society

By Paul Jakov Smith


This course focuses on the impact of the Confucian tradition on Chinese notions of the individual in traditional and\ud modern China, as seen in philosophy, fiction, and autobiographies. Given the hierarchical structure of authority, the\ud Confucian gender order and the enduring power of filial piety (孝 xiao), how did how men and women of different\ud social classes achieve a balance between individual aspirations and the norms and expectations of the family,\ud community, and the state? We begin with the Analects of Confucius, then pay special attention to the Neo-\ud Confucian revival of the mid-imperial era (11th to 16th centuries) and to the 19th and 20th centuries, when Western imperialism, war, the Communist revolution, and the exuberant return of capitalism challenged traditional notions of\ud the self in relation to the gender order, society and the state

Year: 2014
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