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Sociology in Ancient China
Transcript of Sociology in Ancient China
Question # 1
How and why did urbanization happen during the Song dynasty (cause) and what was the result (effect) of it occurring?
In the matter of urbanization of cities during the Song dynasty, sociology wasn’t necessarily the main driving force, sadly. But, it still played a role in urbanization (duh) and that is what I am here to tell you about. Well, I'm not actually here, but my Prezi is here to save the day! Sociologically, urbanization was mainly caused because of the growth in trade and commerce, in other words, interaction. But there were also many things that played a part in the growth in trade and commerce. For one thing, the way rich people interacted in society contributed to the growth in trade and commerce. The wealthy people that were in China at the time wanted many different luxuries. This demand for luxuries by the wealthy encouraged lots of trade (interaction) within China in order to get a hold of these luxuries to please the wealthy. So basically, the snotty attitude of the rich people in China somewhat caused urbanization (sort of). It also called for many more people to work different jobs so they could satisfy these rich people. This way, the wealthy people would not want to leave from China. People had the opportunity to move to the make a living off of jobs like merchants, traders, peddlers, and shopkeepers in the city. These people that were able to get jobs and make a living made people in the countryside jealous and they wanted to move into the cities because they were financially stable.
How and Why Urbanization Occurred During Song Dynasty (pt.1)
Another thing that helped grow commerce was the new rice and water transportation. By creating a new rice that was drought resistant and able to grow faster, the farmers could plant more crops and harvest more food. Because of the growth in agriculture, and the surplus in food, China could support a larger population. With the ability to support this larger population, even more people were willing to move to the Chinese cities and stuff themselves with food! With water transportation, the Chinese farmers were able to ship their rice on the Grand Canal, one of the many canals that ran through China. By doing so, it was a big win for them as well as the boat owners. It was much cheaper and faster to move goods by water than by land, so the boat owners got lots of business, and the farmers got their goods shipped for a lower rate. Also, people could go boating and dive into the water! But it was mostly the first thing.
How and Why Urbanization Occurred
During Song Dynasty (pt. 2)
The last thing that boosted the growth in trade was currency. There was so much buying and selling going on in China because of the increase in interaction within China, that the government needed more currency. In the 11th century, they decided to mint tons of copper coins, to the point where there was a shortage in copper! But the coins were too heavy to carry along the Silk Road on that long journey. So instead of sitting around and whining and keep having to struggle, some Chinese merchants decided to do the right thing. They started to use paper money. The idea of paper money caught on, and trade and interaction went up even more! For all of these reasons, lots of people moved into the Chinese cities and urbanization occurred.
How and Why Urbanization Occurred During Song Dynasty (pt. 3)
After urbanization, sociologically, a new way of interaction was revived - Confucianism. Confucianism changed the way people, especially families, interacted. Now you might be thinking that the kids held the power in the family and the adults were disrespected. Even if you didn't think that (which you probably didn't), you are still wrong... hopefully. For one thing, in Confucianism, family was considered the most basic unit of society. Everyone had to respect his or her parents, and put the family’s interests before their personal interests. That sounds sooo fun... It was also mandatory in Confucianism that everyone in the family married. This way, the family lines could continue and the male heirs could make offerings like food to their ancestors. Women and children’s value in the family also somewhat changed. When women married, they had to leave the family. But as long as she gave birth to a son, she would be treated as an ancestor to her sons and her son’s sons and were given a respected place in the family. However outside the family, the Song dynasty was considered to be a decline in women’s power. Women were less active in politics, often seen on the streets, and they were not usually allowed to remarry if they became a widow. Also, footbinding began in the Song dynasty. Footbinding was a very low status symbol and also very painful.
Results of Urbanization During
Song Dynasty (pt. 1)
Children, however, were highly valued in the Chinese family system. That is because we are awesome (no its not)! They were actually valued mainly because they kept the family lines going. But not only Confucianism came as a result of urbanization, there was also lot more activity going on in China like a lot more trade. Also, many hobbies and board games emerged as a result of the growth in the cities. There was a lot more employment in China because of the increase in public work projects and the more people that kept coming in meant more wealthy people that arrived in China. This somewhat boosted economy too. So really, sociology played a pretty decent part in urbanization during the Song dynasty and the results of it. YAY!
Results of Urbanization During
Song Dynasty (pt. 2)
Foreign Contact Under Ming
Foreign Contacts During Tang
Foreign Contacts During Song
Foreign Contacts During Han
Foreign Contact Under Yuan
Question # 2
How, and to what extent, did China’s approach to government and foreign contact (networks) affect the success, or lack of, for each of the following dynasties (200 – 1600) : Han, Tang, Song, Yuan (Mongol), and Ming.
By: Praneet Bhoj
Sociology had to do with basically all foreign contacts because sociology is the interaction between people. So, I (my Prezi) will be talking about all of the foreign contacts. The first dynasty, the Han, were somewhat open to foreign contact. But they had some foreign issues to deal with. Dun Dun Dun... The main thing was the threat of raids from the Mongols, and some Turkic tribes like the Xiongnu tribe. That must have been great... To protect themselves, the emperor of the Han, Wu-ti, built on the Great Wall. Whether it was bribery or an extremely high tech motorcycle that was able to transform into a plane that could fly over the wall, the tribes were somehow able to get past the Great Wall.
The Han needed horses to fight but the only horses they had were small ones. They were about the size of my pinky. Actually that isn't true, but the emperor began hearing of new large and strong horses from foreign lands. The emperor really wanted these horses so he sent a man named of Chang Ch’ien to a city called Fergana, Uzbekistan to retrieve these horses. They went into the capital, took the horses, and left - sort of. There was actually more to it. At first, the interaction was peaceful and just talking - emperor Wu-ti offered gold coins for some of the horses. But things became more violent after the king of Fergana rejected the Han’s offer.
When that happened, emperor Wu-ti marched an army into Fergana's capital and attacked. But the first time they tried to attack, they actually could not succeed. But, emperor Wu-ti was determined to get those horses, so he sent an even larger army into the capital of Fergana and successfully attacked. His men were able to return to the Han empire with 3000 male and female horses. The Chinese then began breeding these horses for use in the army. Their somewhat openness to foreign contact definitely paid off. After the expeditions, there were a lot of good results from it. One of these results is a life lesson - never say "no" when someone asks you for horses. But there were actually some bigger and more important results. Because of Chang Ch’ien’s expedition, the Han were able to open up eastern parts of the soon to be Silk Road. Also, with the new horses they obtained, the Han were able to drive the Xiongnu away from northwestern China. China’s power spread across the Tarim Basin, and the trade routes became safer. People from the west were also trading with the Chinese.
The Chinese soon found out that silk was very precious to westerners, so they opened up a trade route to the west and the Silk Road was formed. Horses, cattle, furs, hides, ivory, cucumbers, walnuts, sesame, figs, alfalfa, pomegranate, some new skills (such as using grapes to make wine), and jade, which was very precious to the Chinese. In return for these items, the Han sent things like furs, spices, jade, iron, ceramic, bronze objects, and silk. They were doing so well, then the law and interaction within the empire itself (the other part of sociology) came back to bite the Han. Not literally, of course. The Han emperor viewed peasants with a very low status. So, they gave them very little power, but forced them to pay large taxes. After a while of this, the peasants decided that was enough. They eventually rebelled and brought the empire down.
I'll trade you
this for that
The Tang dynasty welcomed foreign contact in their empire, which is why they did so well. The Tang were proud of themselves for letting people of many cultures in like Turks, Uighurs, Jews, Tocharians, Sogdians, Chams, Khmers, Javanese, Singhalese, Arabs, Persians, and Indians. Huh, that must have called for a bunch of translation centers... The majority of foreigners were Arabs because of the Arab empire that just formed. Some foreigners decided to come to China, make a profit, then return home. Well that's not very nice! But others decided to permanently settle there because of the great trade and interaction there. Sometimes foreigners got more power than Chinese because they could become chief.
But it's a good thing that most of these foreigners adopted Chinese rule. If a foreigner committed a crime against a person from the same country, then the laws of that foreign country would apply. However if a foreigner committed a crime against a person from another foreign country or a native Chinese, then Chinese law would come into play. Because of the kind culture within the empire, trade and interaction was flourishing. The Chinese would send out items like silk, porcelain, paper, iron, new ideas and technology, and jade, and received things like ivory, cotton, perfumes, spices, medicine, and horses. The Tang also got lots of new ideas. The upper class in the dynasty were open to ideas and products from other cultures. Foreign food was eaten a lot by Chinese, and they learned how to make many new foods. They learned how to make sugar from cane and how to make wine from grapes. I hope they learned to make pizza - it's sooo delicious! They also ate things like spinach, garlic, mustard, and peas, and especially liked cakes that were fried in oil or steamed.
New forms of entertainment came in too. New music arrived, plays and storytelling were introduced, and the Persian sport Polo became very popular. The wealthy also began sitting on chairs instead of floor cushions which became a new status symbol - I have no idea why chairs became a status symbol. Some great new ideas in fashion and technology emerged also. Foreign contact was doing very well, however, near the end of the Tang dynasty, the government started to close their doors to the outside world. This was because the Uighurs began attacking.
The Uighurs used to be allies with the Chinese, but then a trade conflict occurred between them which sparked the attacks. I bet they were fighting over chairs... The Uighurs were then not allowed to pass themselves off as Chinese in any way - they were not allowed to marry Chinese women, and they couldn’t wear Chinese clothing. The government then decided that all foreigners were evil, and violence broke out against the foreign merchants in the cities. Also, people began attacking Buddhists, because they believed in a foreign religion. And finally, in 845, all foreigners were persecuted. But even though there were restrictions, people still tried to trade with foreigners by going by sea because the sea is so exciting! By the end of the Tang dynasty, sea routes were doing pretty well because of improved ship building techniques and the invention of the compass. Speaking of the end of the Tang, the Tang dynasty, like the Han, were brought down by rebellions. When a new emperor arrived on the throne, many natural disasters were happening and destroying people's crops. But, the emperor was very ignorant and didn't care about the people and how they were not getting food and were suffering. The people noticed this, and were very displeased. They rebelled against the emperor and brought the Tang down.
After the Tang dynasty, somebody had to take over, so the Song dynasty showed up. The Song were open to foreign contact, however they had to first hold off their enemies like the Khitans, Jurchens, and Mongols. Actually, it was pretty much only the enemy because the Jurchens and Khitans were defeated by other tribes. But the Song had to buy the Mongols' peace since they were not military dominant. They paid things like silk and money to the Mongols. To get this money, the Song were open to foreign contact and trade.
The Song did a lot of trade with their neighbors. Just for clarification, these are not the neighbors as in house neighbors, in case you didn't know (which you probably didn't). Anyway, the Song sent things like tea, silk, copper coins, paper and books, porcelain, lacquerware, jewelry, rice and other grains, and ginger and other spices. This is what they would use to pay for the Mongols' peace. They would then receive things like silver, horses, camels, sheep, and things sent from Persia and India like cotton cloth, precious gems, incense, and perfumes.
There was also a lot of sea trade going on during the Song dynasty. By sea, the Song traded with countries like Korea, Japan, and some southwest countries. During the Song time, sea trade was actually doing better than overland trade because the Chinese sent missions to southeast countries to encourage them to trade with China. That's smart. The Chinese boats were seen all over the Indian Ocean and some fragments of Chinese porcelain were found even as far as Africa!
The large amounts of sea trade came because of the Chinese technology. With their technology, they were able to make bigger and better boats than their competitors. The Song was also the revival of Confucianism as I talked about in the previous question. The Chinese were doing well and they accepted the Confucianism. But sadly, the Mongols just decided to attack and took over China.
Like the Tang, the Yuan (Mongol) dynasty also welcomed foreign contact. Talk about copycat... When the Mongols came into power, the Silk Road became very safe. They set up stations every 20 miles so the merchants could find a place to get food and sleep. This allowed for great exchange of lots of things. The Chinese traded silk and porcelain, and received medicines, perfume, and ivory. Though majority of the people to travel the Silk Road were merchants, some other people, like Christian missionaries, traveled it to. The missionaries were on a quest to convert Chinese to Christians, as well as get Kublai Khan to form an alliance with Europe to get the Muslims out of power in the Silk Road. But even though both of these goals failed, the Christian missionaries still contributed by bringing some new ideas to China. Along with the silk road, sea trade also did well because of the new ships and compass.
All of this interaction with foreigners really benefited the Chinese. Many of the foreigners brought new and special skills. For example, Muslim architects built the Mongol capital city, Dadu (present-day Beijing) and Persians brought advanced knowledge of astronomy, math, water management, and medicine. The Mongols really liked this trade because of their past of walking around... More specifically, their background of a nomadic tribe tought them the importance of trade. And under the Mongol rule, foreigners had a higher status than the native Chinese because the Mongols themselves were foreigners. Foreign merchants were really appreciated and were given many favors. You might be thinking that they got money for sitting around on the couch at home, but their favors weren't that great.
But the merchants still did get pretty good advantages. For one thing, they were allowed to rest and secure supplies in postal stations. Also, the merchants didn’t have to pay taxes, which was mandatory in traditional China, and they were allowed to speak their foreign language without the Chinese being able to learn it. Along with that, the merchants were provided great assistance. It wasn't the kind of assistance you and I will get when we are old and live to be 136 years old. The Mongols created things called Ortoghs, which were basically merchant associations. The Mongols realized that caravan trade could be very expensive for merchants because they had to support many men for a long time. Many of these caravans didn’t even make the whole journey because they were either robbed or, more often under Mongol rule, destroyed by natural disaster. These things could ruin a merchants’ holdings.
But the Ortoghs were like a super hero. They made the merchants able to distribute resources to support a single caravan. If they didn’t make it, the losses would be shared so no single merchant was put out of business. If they made a profit, that too was shared. Also, loans were given at a low interest to merchants, as long as they belonged to an Ortogh. Many foreign visitors were also appointed to official positions in the government. One of these people was Marco Polo, and interaction really went up because of him. He went on a 3.5 year journey to China, where he finally reached the court of Kublai Khan. Kublai Khan really liked Marco and enjoyed the stories of his travel so he sent Polo on many tours through China where he got an idea of what life was like there. He took his understandings back to Europe, where he told many people about China and how bad it was. Just kidding, he actually did quite the opposite. This got the Europeans interested in trading there and China got a lot of business off that. Meanwhile, the Chinese were getting more and more frustrated by this foreign rule. Eventually, they rebelled against the Mongols, which lead to their empire’s demise.
The final dynasty, the Ming dynasty, was also somewhat open to foreign contact, however certain things had to occur. The Ming dynasty felt that China was the greatest and that they should be respected more by foreign countries. Basically, they thought they were the best, like the Miami Heat are the best basketball team. So many countries wanted to be connected to China. This would basically mean they would become tributaries to China. If the ruler of these countries acknowledged their “humble submission” to China, they would receive military protection, acknowledged rulers, and were allowed to trade with China. Whenever ambassadors from these tributaries came, they had to honor the emperor by doing something called a kowtow in which the person kneels three times, and touches their head to the ground each time they kneel.
In return for paying tribute, the ambassadors would receive special gifts and were allowed to trade in the official market. So really, it was great to be a tributary to the Ming dynasty. But even though he had many tributaries, the emperor of the Ming dynasty, emperor Chengzu, wanted even more tributaries. So, he made one of his trusted advisors, Zheng He, “Admiral of the Western Seas”. The emperor trusted him because they were friends since Zheng He was a teenager. That's not a long time at all... The emperor sent Zheng He to go to other lands and convince them to be tributaries as well as explore the new lands. At first, Zheng He only made 7 expeditions, and he couldn’t go farther than India. Your first thought may be thinking that this guy was horrible at his job, but he started to do better. He began to reach places like the Persian Gulf and even the east coast of Africa! Also, Zheng He was also a Muslim, so that made it easier for him to get people from the Arabian Peninsula to become tributaries to China.
These expeditions proved to be very successful. After all of his expeditions, at least 30 of the places he visited became tributaries to China. Not so bad anymore! Lots of rulers and ambassadors came to show their respect to emperor Chengzu. Zheng He not only returned with success, he also brought many goods back such as sashes made of gold thread and decorated with pearls and gems, medicinal herbs, spices, dyes, ivory, gems, pearls, zebras, ostriches, lions, leopards, and even giraffes. But after Zheng He’s death, things in the Ming dynasty began to close their doors. This was because by that time, a new emperor was on the throne. The culture and daily lives in the Ming dynasty used to do pretty well, but this new emperor messed everything up and basically cause the Ming dynasty to end.
For one thing, the new emperor held the peasants at a low class. Also, The government needed money to fight off enemies. The emperor decided to quit all the expensive expeditions and banned almost all foreign contact. Any foreign contact that was to be done had to be approved by the government. Also, the officials wanted a certain type of government. This desire for such a perfect government made it hard for them to adapt to sudden changes or different circumstances. Remember those low class peasants? Well they noticed this new, weak government and were able to bring down the Ming. Hey that rhymes! (bring down the Ming) Well anyway, we aren't talking about rhyming, we can save that for after school. We are talking about sociology (foreign contact/interaction), which played a big role in shaping China.