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Topics in History: Religion and the Calendar in East Asia

This history course, open to first-year students, begins with an examination of the Chinese almanac—a folk classic that has been published annually for the past millennium, and reflects the popular Daoist, Buddhist, and Confucian religious traditions that are central to an understanding of Chinese social life into the twenty-first century. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the role of religion in Chinese life, both today and in the past, as well as the lunar calendar, key festivals, and important life cycle rituals as they work through the text of the almanac [in translation]. They will learn to “read” the Chinese calendar with the aid of supplementary materials. We will spend a significant amount of time comparing Chinese and Japanese calendars, as well as the religious and cultural practices that are linked to them in each society. Students will read a wide range of literary, historical, and ethnographic works to supplement their studies, and the instructor will make liberal use of his own field experience to give context to the readings. No prerequisites.

Course Number

HIST 210 C1


LaFleur, Robert A.



Course Format


Course Format Description

Synchronous online course meeting twice each week (Monday and Wednesday). Attendance at synchronous activities is required. Asynchronous activities will include recorded lectures, videos, and ethnographic observations, as well as reading and writing assignments. Students will also meet in small groups that they schedule themselves, as well as in individual appointments with the professor before some assignments.

Time Slot

Early Morning



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