This 360 cluster consists of three courses that examine different aspects of “empires.” It brings together historical, linguistic, and scientific perspectives in the study of imperial experiences and their present-day implications. Building empires is a common human experience. Temporally, it appeared some 5000 years ago and has lasted until the present day. Spatially, it stretches all over the world. It gives meanings to peoples’ cultures and affects the contemporary political landscape and life experience. Together, this cluster offers rich and diverse understandings and interpretations of “empires” in human experience.
This cluster has been made possible by generous support from the Ruth Rasch-Shen ’57 Memorial Fund.
East Asian Languages and Cultures 265: Chinese Empires: Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties
This course, taught by Yonglin Jiang, explores the dynamic processes of empire building during China’s last three dynasties: Yuan, Ming, and Qing, and displays the formation and changes of diverse peoples’ cultural traditions and their quest for modernity. These imperial experiences not only enriched Chinese cultural traditions but also left profound and ever-lasting legacies for contemporary China. From a historical perspective, this course examines the Chinese empires by focusing on such topics as the formation and growth of imperial government; the changing relationship between the central bureaucracy and local society; the interaction of diverse ethnic groups; the tension between agrarian economy and commercialization; the roles of women in family and society; the dynamics of elite and popular cultures; the interplay between Chinese empires and foreign forces; and China’s search for modernity.
Linguistics 140: Language and Empire in Mesoamerica
Students will learn about the languages and linguistic features of the Mesoamerican area. The course features three “imperial” languages: Nahuatl, Spanish, and English. We consider the roles that language can have in building and maintaining empire. We explore the effect that the languages of empires have had and continue to have on the linguistic landscape of Mesoamerica. The course ends with a unit on ways that speakers of indigenous languages push back against linguistic colonialism, including opportunities to hear first-hand from language activists about their experiences and efforts. Taught by Brook Lillehaugen.
Health Studies 115: Introduction of Health Studies
This course, taught by Susan White, is the multidisciplinary foundation for the health studies minor. Students will be introduced to theories and methods from the life sciences, social sciences, and humanities and will learn to apply them to problems of health and illness. Topics include epidemiological, public health, and biomedical perspectives on health and disease; social, behavioral, and environmental determinants of health; globalization of health issues; cultural representations of illness; health inequalities, social justice, and the ethics of health as a human right.