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ASN209 Midterm Examination Questions: Chinese Civilization (Essay Sample)



Midterm Examination questions

Write a two-page essay to answer each of the following questions. Double space your Word document using the “Times New Roman, size 12” font and provide page numbers or other references in parentheses for the sources you use. Your answers should be concise, focused, and getting to the point so that each answer does not exceed two pages. Do not copy the questions to your document; just provide your answers.

Question 1:
Although “sinicization” remains a debatable historical and cultural phenomenon today, foreign tribes that ruled China during the Northern and Southern Dynasties and China’s neighboring countries in pre-Tang and Tang times did undergo some degree of “sinicization.” Please discuss this issue to the best of your knowledge.

Question 2:
The opening up of new spaces in South China from Eastern Jin times resulted in the change of rural and urban landscapes in the south known as Jiangnan, such as the emergence of new building structures, which in turn led to a wide range of scholarly interests and activities and the emergence of new elite or literati culture. Discuss this new elite-literati culture and its impacts on Tang society.


Question One
The Chinese civilization was very remarkable and influential. Sinicization, “the spread of Chinese Culture”, started during the “Northern and Southern Dynasties” and spread to prominent areas and neighboring countries during the Tang Dynasty. Sinicization had great influence on the foreign tribes that ruled ancient China.
Even though there were a lot of conflicts during the Northern and Southern dynasties, the period was characterized by blooming arts, religion, and philosophy. There was widespread sinicization during this period. Most notably, Emperor Xiaowen whose mother was a Chinese from Han did give his support to sinicization in his community. He noted that Chinese culture was superior and allowed construction of Buddhist and Taoist temples across all the regions that he controlled. Moreover, he did accept governance systems that were used in China and carried out economic reforms to correspond to those that were practiced in China. During this period, the Chinese became the official language and compulsory for learning. The peasants did embrace sinicization wholeheartedly but there were pockets of resistance from those in the military. The proponents of sinicization wanted to use it to conquer entire China legitimately. But several people resisted it and a civil war that lasted for approximately 10 years broke out. In the southern dynasties, older Chinese traditions were followed widely. Buddhism did gain a lot of popularity during the period especially among the wealthy people and they invested heavily in it. Additionally, more Taoist temples were constructed that were used to conduct rituals and preserve scriptures.[Jieshun, Xu. "Understanding the snowball theory of the Han nationality." Critical Han studies: the history, representation, and identity of China's majority (2012): 113-27.] [Jieshun, Xu. "Understanding the snowball theory of the Han nationality." Critical Han studies: the history, representation, and identity of China's majority (2012): 113-27.]
The Sui dynasty that preceded the Tang dynasty did unify the “Northern and Southern dynasties” and brought back the “rule of ethnic Han Chinese” all over China. Moreover, during this dynasty, the minority nomadic communities were sinicized. During the Tang dynasty, Buddhism was entirely sinicized even by some members of the imperial family and became a part of Chinese culture permanently. As the dynasty approached its decline, the status of Buddhism began to decline. Sinicization continued further during the dynasty with Taoism become the official religion of the Tang dynasty. During the dynasty, Taoism was used together with “ancient Chinese folk religions”, martial arts, and Buddhism and the result was a complex spirituality. Most influential effect of sinicization during this dynasty was the effect on the neighboring countries. In Japan, Taika reforms that were meant to ensure that the Japanese government was realigned with China were introduced. Japan also adopted rice farming from China. Furthermore, Buddhism and Confucianism were introduced due to the influence of sinicization. In countries such as Vietnam and Korea, Buddhism and Confucianism were practiced because of the influence of Chinese culture. In Vietnam, Taoism was also practiced. The practice of rice farming wa

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