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China (Part 2): The Creation and End of a Centralized Empire

China's past, present, and future: through history, geography, philosophies, literature, politics, economy, art, and ecology.

Topics: Literature, General History, Economics, Philosophy
Cost: Free


China (Part 2): The Creation and End of a Centralized Empire's Full Profile



About this Course Please note that this course is self-paced and you can enroll at any time. The course itself is 5 weeks long and certificates are generated and distributed to learners who meet the 75% requirement every 4 months. The next scheduled dates for certificates to be released are June 11, 2014 and October 11, 2014. Please note that these dates are subject to change, but will maintain a schedule of every 4 months. This course is presented in English with limited video subtitles in Chinese. Modern China presents a dual image: a society transforming itself through economic development and infrastructure investment that aspires to global leadership; and the world's largest and oldest bureaucratic state, with multiple traditions in its cultural, economic, and political life. The modern society and state that is emerging in China bears the indelible imprint of China's historical experience, of its patterns of philosophy and religion, and of its social and political thought. These themes are discussed in order to understand China in the twenty-first century and as a great world civilization that developed along lines different from those of the Mediterranean. ChinaX introduces new features to make the riches of Harvard's visual collections and the expertise of its faculty more accessible to learners worldwide. We will engage intellectual and religious trends, material and political culture, the local diversity and the national unity, art and literature, and China’s economic and political transformation— past, present and future. This is the second of ten ChinaX "Mini-Courses" that collectively span over 6,000 years of history. Each Mini-Course consists of 4 to 8 weekly "modules," each with videos, readings, interactive engagements, assessments, and discussion forums. HarvardX pursues the science of learning. By registering as an online learner in an HX course, you will also participate in research about learning. Read our research statement to learn more. WAYS TO TAKE THIS EDX COURSE FOR FREE: Audit this Course Audit this course for free and have complete access to all the course material, activities, tests, and forums. If your work is satisfactory and you abide by the Honor Code, you'll receive a personalized Honor Code Certificate to showcase your achievement. WAYS TO TAKE THIS COURSE FOR A FEE: Earn Harvard Credit Optionally, you can enroll in the traditional, semester-long course at Harvard Extension School. Courses are offered in fall or spring semesters, or both. You have the option to enroll for undergraduate or graduate credit and will receive grades on a Harvard transcript. Learn more about the course on the Harvard Extension School website.


  • Days of the Week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Level of Difficulty: Beginner
  • Size: Massive Open Online Course
  • Instructors: William C. Kirby, Peter K. Bol
  • Cost: Free
  • Institution: EdX
  • Topics: Literature, General History, Economics, Philosophy

Provider Overview

About EdX: EdX offers interactive online classes and MOOCs from the world’s best universities. Topics include biology, business, chemistry, computer science, economics, finance, electronics, engineering, food and nutrition, history, humanities, law, literature, math, medicine, music, philosophy, physics, science, statistics and more. EdX is a non-profit online initiative created by founding partners Harvard and MIT.

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