Academic year
2022/2023 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LT0420 (AF:369562 AR:199236)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Surnames A-L
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
This course is one of the mandatory taught modules within the China/Korea curricula in Lingue, Culture e Società dell'Asia e dell'Africa Mediterranea.

The course sets out to introduce students to the main formative events of pre-imperial and imperial Chinese history, until the fall of the Ming dynasty (17th century). Goals of the course are: to provide a chronological overview of pre-imperial and imperial Chinese history; to critically address salient aspects of the macro themes concerning the socio-political, economic and cultural sphere of the empire; to analyse some aspects of the relationship between the empire and the political entities of East Asia in the pre-modern period; to acquire command of the specialized lexicon of East Asian historical research. The course therefore offers a basis for students wishing to undertake the study of aspects of the history of China and East Asia.
Knowledge and comprehension
The student will acquire a knowledge of the periodization of Chinese history, from the pre-imperial and imperial period up to the 17th century; will acquire the tools for evaluation and critical analysis of issues concerning the economic, social, political and cultural development, and will be able to identify and contextualise the main textual and material sources, and will acquire awareness of the methodology of historical research.

Ability to apply knowledge and communication skills:
- to apply the knowledge acquired to other areas and subjects covered in the study program,
- to critically analyse the complexities of other historical periods, and to make simple comparative analyses of different historical processes (in a diachronic and synchronic perspective),
- to critically process the contents of the course and make consistent analysis,
- to acquire an adequate vocabulary and to use terminology in a informed and precise way.

Learning skills
- to critically consult the reference texts,
- to conduct independent bibliography research and to use web resources (databases, digital maps, ...),
- to improve the ability to read English language sources.
No specific prerequisites are required
Early China: from prehistory to the Warring States period
The early empire: Qin and Han dynasties
The early medieval period (2nd century- 6th cent.)
The Sui-Tang empires and Central Asia
Early modern China: Northern Song and Kitan-Liao, Southern Song and Jurchen-Jin
The Mongol empire
The Ming dynasty
Vogelsang, Kai. Cina. Una storia millenaria. Torino: Einaudi, 2014 [to the end of the Ming dynasty, p. 372] [in the library: LIBRITESTO B889]

Shelach-Lavi, Gideon. “The Son of Heaven and the Creation of a Bureaucratic Empire,” The Archaeology of Early China: From Prehistory to the Han Dynasty (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 306-336.

Sanft, Charles. “Qin Government: Structures, Principles, and Practices,” in Maria Khayutina (ed.) Qin: The eternal Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors (Zurich: Neue Zürcher Yeitung Publishing, 2013), pp. 118-129.

Lewis, Mark E. The Early Chinese Empires: Qin and Han. Cambridge MA, London: Harvard University Press, 2007. [chapt. 2-3]

Hammond, Kenneth J.; Xiong, Cunrui Victor. Routledge Handbook of Imperial Chinese History. Routledge, 2018 [Section 2: The Six Dynasties]

Kuhn, Dieter. The Age of Confucian Rule: The Song Transformation of China. Cambridge MA, London: Harvard University Press, 2009. [chapt. 2]

Course materials are available for reference on the shelf behind the library front desk at Ca' Vendramin or as a PDF in the folder of the Moodle page o the course.
A 60-minute written exam with a part-test and two open-ended questions.

The course syllabus is the same for attending and nonattending students.
frontal lesson and tutoring
The program is valid for both attending and nonattending students, and for all exam sessions in a.y. 2022/23
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 03/10/2022