About this courseSkip About this course
This course, the second in a collection on Chinese history and culture, addresses how the Qin dynasty conquered China and established a new system of government and how the Han dynasty built a stable, centralized empire that lasted for hundreds of years. We cover the early history of Buddhism in China and how the rising feudal aristocracy responded to the loss of empire by looking inward.
In this period, the Qin forged a new, unified empire, discovered new ways of mobilizing the population, and introduced the imperial ideology of “Cosmic Resonance”. However, this early dynasty was short-lived and soon gave way to the Han. Though the Han struggled with many tensions — centralism vs. regionalism, feudalism vs. bureaucracy — it lasted much longer than the Qin and established a stable relationship between Chinese society and the state.
Later, aristocratic culture and concerns around self-actualization became important in Chinese culture. Buddhism was also established in this period, and learners will discover how that religion spread throughout the country.
Join us to learn about China’s first unified empires and how the relationship to the self evolved with the spread of aristocratic culture and Buddhism.
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
- How the first centralized bureaucratic empire was created.
- How the foreign religion of Buddhism gained prominence.
- The dynamics of political systems and changing state-society relations.
- How religion functions as a historical phenomenon.
- How to develop your own approaches to history and gain a critical appreciation of China’s many resources.
- How to express ideas clearly and confidently.
Meet your instructors
Pursue a Verified Certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you gain$99 USD
Official and Verified
Receive an instructor-signed certificate with the institution's logo to verify your achievement and increase your job prospects
Add the certificate to your CV or resume, or post it directly on LinkedIn
Give yourself an additional incentive to complete the course
Support our Mission
edX, a non-profit, relies on verified certificates to help fund free education for everyone globally
Frequently asked questions
How is the honor code upheld?
HarvardX requires individuals who enroll in its courses on edX to abide by the terms of the edX honor code. HarvardX will take appropriate corrective action in response to violations of the edX honor code, which may include dismissal from the HarvardX course; revocation of any certificates received for the HarvardX course; or other remedies as circumstances warrant. No refunds will be issued in the case of corrective action for such violations. Enrollees who are taking HarvardX courses as part of another program will also be governed by the academic policies of those programs.
How does my participation contribute to research?
How are non-discrimination and anti-harassment supported?
Harvard University and HarvardX are committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the community is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination or harassment in our program. All members of the HarvardX community are expected to abide by Harvard policies on nondiscrimination, including sexual harassment, and the edX Terms of Service. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and/or report your experience through the edX contact form.