Jun 14, 2024  
College Catalog 2023-2024 
College Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ASIA 251 - Cramming for the Exam: Education in Chinese Literature and History

Cross-Listed as CHIN 251  and EDUC 251  
China is known for its grueling examination culture. How did this culture evolve? This course examines the imperial civil service examination system, the benchmark of social and political success in imperial China. We will read the core texts of the Confucian curriculum - the Four Books and the Five Classics -  to examine the values these texts promoted. We will also study frustrated scholars’ fictional accounts of the unfairness of the exam system, Europeans’ praise of it as a model meritocracy, and women’s struggles to participate in a system that explicitly excluded them. The course invites reflection on contemporary educational practices, and culminates in a recreation of the civil service exam. Offered occasionally. (4 Credits)