Chinese history

INSTRUCTIONS: For your essay, write a paper of 6 pages (double-spaced, with normal font and margins) based on primary sources listed on the syllabus as “reading for discussion” in response to ONE of the two prompts below. Use enough different texts to draw contrasts and comparisons, but not so many that you lack space for critical analysis. You should make a clear argument and come to a clear conclusion that is supported by evidence from the reading.
1) Consider the following claim: “Women were the victims of unmitigated oppression, and they led lives of unbearable misery.” Is this an accurate representation of women (elite and non-elite) in late imperial China? What was the proper place of women in the orthodox Confucian system, and did the lives of women actually conform to this normative vision? How did the historical and socio-economic contexts of the late imperial period affect a woman’s life course? Do you find any evidence of women exercising agency or control over their own lives?
2) How do the selections from fiction that you have read in this course portray values, society, and/or politics in the period in which they were written? How did concerns change over time and vary among different authors? What do these fictional works tell us about the history of the era when they were written?
Citation: You must clearly identify the sources of all information and ideas that are not your own. Informal citation is fine, as long as you are clear (e.g. The Scholars, p. 10).