HISTART 385-001

Human Rights in Imperial China

180 Tappan
MW 10:00-11:30am
3 Credit Lecture

Professionals in the humanities, law, business, government, and the social sciences need to assess current human rights practices in China as well as possibilities for the future of human rights there, but this requires understanding how questions of law, justice, equality, and open speech were framed, conceived, and contested in Chinese history. This course spans two millennia of visual and textual material with the aim of introducing students to the images, the topics, and the terms that dominated debates over human rights issues in classical, medieval, and late imperial China. Both readings and lectures make extensive use of visual documents (paintings and artifacts) as well as key passages from watershed historical documents.

The course begins with a consideration of recent debates over the universality of human rights. The bulk of the course is devoted to case studies of key moments in the development of debates over Personhood, Equality, Justice, and Freedom of Speech in China. We shall read some of the key arguments regarding social justice and will learn how these ideas took shape as institutions. The course culminates in a special section on debates over social justice during the English Enlightenment.

HISTART Concentration Distributions: 3. Early Modern, C. Asia

Requirements include: 2 quizzes; an annotated bibliography of readings; and a short blog on a topic of contemporary significance (5-7 pages). All readings will be online.

This course fulfills the LS&A Humanities distribution requirement. Cross listed with ASIAN 393-001