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From ancient origins to the 19th century

XSeries Program in
History of China: Bronze Age to the Last Dynasties

What you will learn

  • China’s origins and how early concepts in Chinese culture still matter in the 21st century
  • How the relationship to the self evolved with the spread of aristocratic culture and Buddhism
  • Classical Chinese poetry and the ancient art of calligraphy
  • How a shifting social and political elite ultimately brings unity to China, ushering in an age of global empire
  • How the economic and political realities of today’s China originated in the region centuries ago

History of China: Bronze Age to the Last Dynasties explores the development of this great civilization from the Neolithic to the last dynasty. We see the formation of political structures and social practices that have lasted into the present; we learn to appreciate artistic and literary traditions of sophistication and refinement; we inquire into its philosophical and religious legacies and their significance for our own lives; and we trace the creation of the largest economy in world history.

Explore the development of Chinese civilization with this comprehensive series on the history, geography, and culture of the country. From the Neolithic to the creation of the largest global economy in world history, this course will help you gain a critical appreciation of China's literary, philosophical, political, and cultural resources.

The political and moral ideas of ancient China are an ever more important part of the country’s modern identity. This series will show how China’s civilization developed and how it became the world’s first centralized bureaucratic state governing the largest population in the world. We will learn why the family is so important in Chinese culture, how Buddhism became part of everyday life, and how the high culture of the literati came to include not only the refined arts of calligraphy and classical Chinese poetry but also dramas and novels. All in the context of a constantly shifting political landscape as empires, dynasties, and economies rose and fell.

Join us to gain an appreciation for the artistic, literary, philosophical, religious, and political traditions of the people who created the largest economy in world history.

Expert instruction
5 high-quality courses
Progress at your own speed
1 year 7 months
1 - 3 hours per week
Discounted price: $670.50
Pre-discounted price: $745USD
For the full program experience

Courses in this program

  1. HarvardX's History of China: Bronze Age to the Last Dynasties XSeries Program

  2. 1–3 hours per week, for 15 weeks

    Learn about China’s origins, its integral early thinkers, and competing states and schools of thought.

  3. 1–3 hours per week, for 15 weeks

    Learn about the Qin and Han dynasties, and how Buddhism and ideas of self-realization influenced the medieval period.

  4. 1–3 hours per week, for 15 weeks

    Explore the reunification of China under the Tang with a focus on aristocratic culture — from poetry to calligraphy to literature.

  5. 1–3 hours per week, for 15 weeks

    Explore China’s imperial period, with a focus on the Song dynasty and the role of the exam system in government.

  6. 1–3 hours per week, for 15 weeks

    Explore the impact of the conquest dynasties and the world of the Ming.

Meet your instructors
from Harvard University (HarvardX)

Peter K. Bol
Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations
Harvard University
William C. Kirby
T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies
Harvard University

Experts from HarvardX committed to teaching online learning

Enrolling Now

Discounted price: $670.50
Pre-discounted price: $745USD
5 courses in 1 year 7 months
Pursue the Program

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