Culture

InstructionsYou are going to take a journey in a Time Machine. When you climb inside you see that there are only eight settings: Greece, Alexandria, China, Islam, "The Enduring East," "The Middle Kingdom," "The New World," and "Indus, Ganges, and Beyond." Which one do you select and why? Who do you meet and what do you talk about? What scientific development from this era do you seek out to see for yourself? Why was this scientific development important to the culture of this time period?  You will also research scholarly sources in the APUS library to learn more about the time and place you have selected. What did this source teach you that did not appear in our readings?

Answer:

I select “The Middle Kingdom” setting because it offers a fascinating glimpse into ancient China, a civilization renowned for its rich cultural heritage and remarkable scientific achievements. As I climb into the Time Machine and set the coordinates for ancient China, I anticipate encountering renowned figures such as Confucius, Laozi, or perhaps even the legendary Yellow Emperor.

Upon arriving in ancient China, I am greeted by Confucius, the esteemed philosopher and educator whose teachings have profoundly influenced Chinese society for centuries. As we engage in conversation, I am eager to learn about Confucius’s philosophy of ethics, governance, and social harmony. We discuss the importance of filial piety, the role of the ruler in promoting the welfare of the people, and the cultivation of virtue as the foundation of a harmonious society.

In my quest to witness a significant scientific development from this era, I seek out the invention of papermaking, attributed to the eunuch Cai Lun during the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE). Visiting a papermaking workshop, I marvel at the intricate process of pulping, pressing, and drying fibers to create thin sheets of paper. This scientific innovation revolutionized communication, education, and culture in ancient China, enabling the widespread dissemination of knowledge through books, scrolls, and documents. The invention of paper was crucial to the cultural and intellectual flourishing of ancient Chinese civilization, facilitating advancements in literature, art, science, and governance.

Through research in the APUS library, I delve deeper into the historical context and significance of ancient China. One scholarly source I consult is “The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 BC” edited by Michael Loewe and Edward L. Shaughnessy. This comprehensive work provides detailed insights into the political, social, and cultural developments of ancient China, offering a nuanced understanding of its dynastic cycles, philosophical traditions, and technological innovations. One aspect that stood out to me from this source was the intricate bureaucracy and administrative systems of ancient China, which facilitated state control and centralized governance, contributing to the stability and longevity of Chinese dynasties. Additionally, the source sheds light on the diverse religious and philosophical beliefs of ancient Chinese society, illustrating the dynamic interplay between Confucianism, Daoism, Legalism, and other intellectual currents. Overall, this source enhances my appreciation for the complexity and richness of ancient Chinese civilization, enriching my understanding of the historical and cultural context in which scientific innovations such as papermaking emerged.

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