• Length:
    6 Weeks
  • Effort:
    2–4 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
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  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Introductory
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English
  • Course Type:
    Self-paced on your time

Prerequisites

None

About this course

Skip About this course

Introduction

Owing to its rapid development in recent years, China has moved into the spotlight of the international arena. While understanding modern China's economy, technology and politics is important, knowing its cultural roots and evolution is no less crucial for seeing a full picture of Chinese culture. This course introduces 5 interesting aspects of traditional Chinese culture.

Key questions of the course

  • What was the origin of ancient Confucianism? How does ancient Confucian wisdom help us address the modern human predicament?
  • How does Daoism enlighten us with a butterfly and fish? What is the connection between Daoism and the equality of all living organisms?
  • Why does Buddhism see our present lifetime to be nothing but suffering? How do the Four Noble Truths help liberate us from suffering?
  • What is special about Chinese ancient warfare? Who is Sunzi? What is his book The Art of War about? What can we learn from this famous book?
  • What are the main styles and themes of the paintings in the Song dynasty? Who were the famous painters in that period? How did they collectively usher in a new era of artistic achievement for Chinese traditional paintings?

Course Design

  • A team of 5 experts in Chinese culture has designed the course. They are, in alphabetical order, Dr Chen, Dr Muelenbeld, Dr Fok, Dr Tse and Dr Wan.
  • The compact design of the mini-lectures suits the busy schedule of edX learners.
  • Introductions by animation hosts highlight the key questions of each unit.
  • Illustrations and maps are designed to liven up the mini-lectures.
  • Self-learning is supported by review questions and forums.
  • Cross-referencing enhances a fruitful learning experience across the units of the HKPolyUx series on Chinese culture.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Origin and wisdom of Confucianism
  • Philosophy of Daoism
  • Four Noble Truths of Buddhism
  • Ancient Chinese warfare and The Art of War by Sunzi
  • The art of Chinese painting in the Song dynasty

Confucianism: Origins

  • Introduction
  • Historical background of Confucianism
  • Kongzi's efforts to restore Zhou Li
  • Significance of Kongzi's teaching to the modern age

Daoism: Laozi and Zhuangzi

  • Introduction
  • Butterfly and fish: Language and being
  • Laozi and Kongzi on order
  • Unspeakable knowledge
  • One world: Within and outside us
  • Interconnection, equality and ecology

Buddhism in China

  • Introduction
  • From a prince to the Buddha
  • The First Noble Truth: Suffering
  • The Second Noble Truth: Cause of suffering
  • The Third Noble Truth: Elimination of suffering
  • The Fourth Noble Truth: Paths to enlightenment

Ancient Chinese Warfare and Sunzi's The Art of War

  • Introduction
  • Civilization and warfare
  • From oracle bones to chariot warfare
  • Background of Sunzi's The Art of War
  • Understanding The Art of War : Chapters 1 to 7
  • Understanding The Art of War : Chapters 8 to 13

Chinese Paintings in the Song Dynasty

  • Introduction
  • Northern Song Painting Style: Monumental Realism
  • Transitional Painting: Li Tang
  • Southern Song Painting Style: Lyrical Representation
  • Literati Painting (Wenrenhua)
  • Chan Painting: Mu Qi

Meet your instructors

Lang Chen
Research Fellow, Chinese Studies, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
University of Michigan
Silvia Fok
Teaching Fellow, Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Mark Meulenbeld
Associate Professor, Department of Chinese Culture and Associate Dean, Faculty of Humanities
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Wicky Tse
Associate Professor, Department of History
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

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Frequently asked questions

Question 1: Who is this course suitable for?

  • Laypeople who have little knowledge of Chinese culture and would like to broaden their horizons
  • Students who are looking for new perspectives on Chinese culture in a wide spectrum
  • International businesspeople who aim to enrich their general knowledge of Chinese culture for effective communication with their Chinese clients

Question 2: How many topics does this course cover?

  • It covers 5 different key topics focused on Chinese cultural exchange and interaction with other countries in history, delivered by 5 experts respectively.

Question 3: Are the units long in length?

  • Each unit focuses only on one topic. The design of the units aims to make the course compact and yet impactful. You will be amazed at the fact that you can easily grasp the basic knowledge of Chinese culture within a short period of time.

Question 4: Are the mini-lectures interesting?

  • Yes, interesting illustrations and animations are adopted to enhance the mini-lectures .

Question 5: Can I further enrich my knowledge of Chinese culture after completing this course?

  • Yes, this course is 1 of 3 courses in the HKPolyUx series on Chinese culture. You can expand your knowledge by studying all 15 topics on Chinese culture delivered by 15 experts in the X series.

Question 6: How can I benefit from enrolling in the HKPolyUx series of Chinese culture?

  • You can expand your horizons by taking part in the X series, which is by far one of the most systematic and comprehensive programs on Chinese culture on edX.
  • The X series is a cohesive program. For instance, in the Tradition course, you learn about the origin of Confucianism in the Zhou dynasty. In the Transformation course, you learn about the private Confucian academies from the Song dynasty onwards and New Confucianism in the 20th century. In the Interaction course, you discover the answer to the interesting question whether Confucius drank tea or alcohol. There are many more connections between the units of the X series.
  • Cross-references within the X series are available to assist your study. They stimulate your curiosity and consolidate your knowledge-base.

Question 7: Can I get a discount by enrolling in all 3 courses of the HKPolyUx series on Chinese culture as a verified learner?

  • Yes, you can.