The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

Luke Waring

Ph.D., Princeton University


ANS 302C • Introduction To China-Wb

32640 • Spring 2021
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM
Internet; Synchronous

Introduction to Chinese Culture and Civilization

Course Description:

This course will provide an introduction to major concepts and ideas from Chinese cultural traditions to construct a course inquiry into understanding Chinese culture and society. A guiding principle in this course inquiry will be to investigate the past to help inform the present.   Lectures and discussion will examine key concepts from art, history, language, literature, and thought that greatly shaped, and continue to influence, “Chinese” cultural and geopolitical entities.

ANS 361 • Myth/Legend/Folklore China

32705 • Spring 2021
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM RLP 1.104

Why do we tell stories, and how do we go about it? In premodern China, individuals and groups told stories variously to philosophize and persuade, to commemorate and critique, to educate and entertain, to scandalize and to stimulate. In this course, we will trace the development of different Chinese storytelling traditions across various genres, including myths, legends, romances, ghost stories, morality tales, and fiction. In the process, we will come to appreciate how different groups in premodern China made use of stories to articulate a sense of identity and community, navigating issues related to class, gender, society, and politics. All readings and discussion for this course will be in English; no prior knowledge of Chinese language, history, or culture is required.


  • Attendance and participation: 25%
  • Weekly submissions: 20%
  • Presentations: 20%
  • Final take-home exam: 35%

ANS 361 • Clascl Chi Phil Contemp Times

31685 • Fall 2020
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM RLP 1.106

Classical Chinese Philosophy for Contemporary Times

Course description

The 6th-2nd second centuries BCE were a golden age for Chinese philosophy, an era when the key

ideas, terms, and texts that were to prove fundamental to the development of Chinese intellectual

history took shape. While philosophy from different times and cultural contexts can often seem

alien or abstruse, in fact ancient Chinese thinkers have much to teach us when it comes to

navigating sociopolitical issues and ethical concerns in our own time. In this course we will

reconstruct and reenact the most important debates in early Chinese philosophy, reapplying them

to some of the pressing questions and important events that preoccupy us today. In the process,

we will study classical Chinese philosophy not just as the intellectual product of a certain

historical and cultural context, but also as a repertoire of ideas and strategies that can be used to

enrich our experiences and confront problems in our everyday lives.


This course is open to all students. All discussion and readings for this course will be in English;

no prior knowledge of Chinese language, history, or culture is required.


Required readings

There are three textbooks for this course (two required and one optional):

  • Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy, ed. Philip J. Ivanhoe and Bryan W. Van

Norden. Second Edition. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2006.

o Read all assigned pages in advance of meeting one each week.

  • Bryan W. Van Norden. Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy. Indianapolis:

Hackett Publishing, 2011.

o Read all assigned pages in advance of meeting one each week.

  • Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh. The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Tell

us About the Good Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016.

o Feel free to consult the relevant passages in advance of our second meeting each week (optional).

o Consult the relevant passages in advance of each debate in meeting two of each


Additional readings, materials, and resources will be made available on Canvas.

Curriculum Vitae

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