Three Kingdoms Society Essay

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Three Kingdoms Society Essay

Unread postby Zhang Yang » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:20 pm

I am undertaking an Extended Project Qualification which involves a 5000 word essay, and I've chosen to discuss the relationship between the social classes in the Later Han and Three Kingdoms. i.e. the composition of the different social strata and more specifically how/if it was possible for people of lower class to rise into positions of prominence and join the nobility. So i'll be looking at civil and military positions, as well as the people close to the Emperor, the recommendation system and about the life of the commoners as well. I considered discussing the role of the non-Chinese tribes too but i'm not sure where they would fit in with the essay.

I was just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on any topics or examples to include, and if anyone could recommend any (english language) resources which might be useful for the subject. Aside from SGZ, De Crespigny and Mark Lewis' 'China Between Empires' i'm struggling to find anything else relevant xD

Any help would be much obliged, and i would hope to post the work here once completed ^^
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Re: Three Kingdoms Society Essay

Unread postby Sun Fin » Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:21 pm

I wrote a 3500 word essay about how the Sun clan went from lower class (possibly merchants) to Sun Quan being an Emperor in a very short period of time. I did write it in 10 hours and re-reading it now I grimace at the grammar etc. But I was planning it for the best part of a year so you might find some idea's you could use in your essay. Anyway if your interested PM me or leave your email address here and I'll send it.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Society Essay

Unread postby epaminondas146871 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:01 pm

Personally, I would make 5000 words into 15-20 paragraphs, which gives you some room, but that depends on your level, requirements, and style.
So you will be discussing
a.) composition of social strata (general)
b.) how/if possible for lower class to rise into nobility (specifically)
1. civil+military positions
2. people close to the Emperor
3. recommendation system
4. life of commoners
5. role of non-Chinese in tribes (considering)
So if a.), and b1. through b5. are their own sections plus an overview for b.), then you have seven topics too work around in 25 paragraphs. Intro paragraph initially, so then 14-19 more... then give 2-3 for a.)... 1-2 for b.)... and then use a paragraph, maybe two to cover the five subtopics...
You can also use these examples to form paragraphs/sections.
Using Hu Che-er as an example for b.5 you can make another paragraph, apparently he was not Chinese. You can also use Menghuo and/or the Nanmans for this. The Xiongnu and other Northern peoples would work as well.
For people close to the emperor (b.2), I can't think of a better example than Huang Hao, and also the other corrupt official in Wu with a later emperor.

I hope this is helpful...
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Re: Three Kingdoms Society Essay

Unread postby agga » Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:40 am

if you read Sima Qian's history of the early Han dynasty (i haven't read much of the Han/Hou Han Shu, at least not in order), you get a really good idea of how the nobility crustified over the first century of the Han - it's full of rumors about their weird personal lives, oblique mentions of their relationship with the people they ruled, etc. I bet if you read through Ban Gu's history, in order, you could get a real good sense of the state of, at least, the upper social structure.

really i'm just telling you what i'd like to read myself, but getting at those primary sources couldn't hurt, could it?

(i see that Burton Watson, who did the Sima Qian translation, also translated a set of Han Shu chapters - the title sounds pertinent: "Courtier and Commoner in Ancient China. Selections from the History of the Former Han")
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Re: Three Kingdoms Society Essay

Unread postby Zhang Yang » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:57 pm

Thanks for the assistance, these resources look very promising!
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