The objective of OST101 is to provide students with the conceptual tools and learning experiences to develop a deeper understanding of the rise and fall of the Han civilisation. This will be achieved through a combination of outdoor skills training, e-learning, classroom activities, and participation in an adventure leadership expedition to the Qinling Mountains of Shaanxi, China. The ancient capital city of Chang’an (present day Xi’an in Shaanxi province) during the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE) was pivotal to the establishment of a golden era of the Silk Road. This is because Chang’an was a densely-populated city that served as a centre of trade and a political capital of the overland Silk Road. The plains and rivers of the Qinling Mountains that intersects Xi’an and its surrounding areas are some of the places from which the Han Chinese civilisation emerged, including the definitive Daoist philosophy and religion. Xi’an, together with node cities like Chengdu and Chongqing, are also important economies in the modern Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, aiding in enhancing logistical connectivity and thus development of various industries. Contemporary infrastructural projects and railway constructions in these nodes are thus not disjunctions in Chinese history, but are gradual revivals of a significant ancient route for global trade. This course affords students the opportunity to get first-hand experience of local cultures, architectures, and geographical features, and to conduct textual research into civilisational history and Han philosophies. At the end of the course, students would be able to better comprehend the relationships between the circumstances surrounding the rise and fall of Han civilisation, and the Chinese construction of the global trade system, past and present.
Credit Units: 2.5
Presentation Pattern: Every July