ANS 302C / HIS 302C

Introduction to China

Sample Essay Questions for Exams


The following is a sampling of essay questions posed in previous years. These examples are meant only to give you an idea of the type and scope of the essay questions you will have to answer on exams. They are not intended as a list of questions from which you will choose to answer on the actual exam. Please note that these examples pertain to the entire course, not to any one particular test.

Discuss how Buddhism came into conflict with Confucianism and give reasons for its ultimate success.

Discuss the tension between the Confucian and Legalist schools of thought, the intellectual foundations of the two schools, and their influence on the development of the Chinese imperial system.

Discuss how the Han dynasty attempted to institutionalize Confucianism as the intellectual foundation of the Chinese empire.

Discuss the development of science and technology in China and its relationships with China intellectual, social, and political traditions.

The Mongols: discuss the raise of the Mongol empire, its significance for interregional relations, and its impact on Chinese social and cultural system.

Discuss Daoism from its origins to its later development into popular religion (also include its relationship with alchemy and scientific discoveries).

Discuss the movie "To Live." How does it reflect problems and political trends in the early decades of the People's Republic of China?

State and intellectuals: discuss the turbulent relations between state and intellectuals in the years of the People's Republic of China. Include government campaigns in the Mao years and major protests inthe Post-Mao period.

Discuss the book "Son of the Revolution." What brought young Chinese students to become violent red guards? How did families strategize for survival in the difficult years of the Cultural Revolution? What do you think is the most important message of this book?

Discuss the problems emerging from the economic development of the post-Mao years.

Discuss the idea of "Socialism with Chinese characteristics," its main principles, and the reforms it inspired.

Discuss the main characteristics of the traditional Chinese family and the situation of women in China before 1949.

Revolution, reform, and change. Since the late nineteenth century China has experienced deep changes in its political, social, and cultural life. What do you think was the most far-reaching change in modern Chinese history and why?

Discuss the Opium War and the "unequal treaties" that followed it. What were the consequences of these treaties for China? How did the Chinese government respond?