Cao Cao

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Cao Cao

Unread postby Mike Mullany » Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:34 pm

I'm taking an ancient China class, and am doing a report on Cao Cao. I'm having a hard time finding some good historical info on him. I need to list 5 research points with a thesis statement by next Thursday (Feb 11 2010) I am recently new back to school, and have no background or context for him to come up with 5 points to research. Could someone point me to some good info I can go through, to get some basic background info. Sorry if this is a bit elementary for most of you, but any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby Lady Wu » Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:33 am

Welcome, Mike, to SoSZ!

You might want to go through the Cao Cao-related threads in the Sanguo Yanyi Symposium section to see what topics about The Man strike your fancy, and then develop your points from there. One week isn't a lot of time but if you've identified a theme that you want to work on, and let us know the length/source requirements of the essay (also helps to know what level of school this is for), we might be able to throw pointers your way.
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby Mike Mullany » Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:29 pm

Thank you Lady Wu. I went to my school library, and decided to do something on Khubilai Khan instead, there was a few more hard copy books on him. I have a feeling I will be using this board though foe ideas, I just need to get a bit better aquainted with it. I'm a 36 yr old upper junior in college (just went back) and it is a 7 pg paper with 5 hard copy books as sources. I can only use 2 internet sources.
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby Lady Wu » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:14 am

Mike Mullany wrote:Thank you Lady Wu. I went to my school library, and decided to do something on Khubilai Khan instead, there was a few more hard copy books on him. I have a feeling I will be using this board though foe ideas, I just need to get a bit better aquainted with it. I'm a 36 yr old upper junior in college (just went back) and it is a 7 pg paper with 5 hard copy books as sources. I can only use 2 internet sources.

Mike, I'm glad you switched to Kublai Khan then---way more book sources on him than on Cao Cao! (In English anyway!)

My Yuan/Mongol history is quite flaky but I'm sure there are other people on the board who know the subject better than I do. :P Good luck with your essay!
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sun Feb 07, 2010 8:58 am

My knowledge on Mongol's is rusty but I'll try and help where I can!
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby Jebusrocks » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:37 am

Do you have any ideas as to what ur thesis statement will be about? Do you want any specifics, such as his role in the creation of the Yuan Dynasty, his expansions, both successes and failures, or his personal life in general?

Also, Kublai ain't what you'd call "ancient"... but yea you'll probably find more sources on him than any other Chinese rulers in a western library; other than perhaps Chin Shi Huang who would imo, make a much more interesting subject to write a report on
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby Mike Mullany » Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:35 pm

Thanks everyone. I've really only found two good sources, a biography on him by Morris Rossabi, and the Mongol Empire by Michael Prawdin. I've started writing it and my 5 research points are how he oversaw the Buddhist/Taoist debate, ruling in favor of the Buddhists, but not imposing strict penalties on the taoists. The public aid programs he began, namely the feeding of the poor. The elevation in status he gave to artisans, and physicians, and his general concern for peasants. Then I want to discuss all he did for merchants as well, and then lead in to all the public work projects this led to, such as the extending of the canal, and the building ofpostal stations, and roads. I'm still playing around with the thesis, but I guess it will be along the lines of how many of Khubilai's policies, benefited many different types of people. What does anyone think? I do not feel very confident.
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby agga » Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:02 pm

"daily life in China on the eve of the Mongol Invasion" by Jacques Gernet is something I read in high school back when i first started learning about China - which I did because *first* I was obsessed with Genghis Khan. you might have a look at that book to show you what the 'before' was life, to contrast with what the Mongols did under Kubilai Khan and his predecessors.

i would recommend that you don't make your thesis points so hagiographic - Kubilai Khan may have been good for China in some ways, in that he ruled over a unified China as an emperor of a relatively stable state, the first time China was really in such a condition since the Northern Song. and, in reunifying China, the Mongols set the stage for the Ming.

but, the Mongols ruled as outsiders, draining wealth from the Chinese people and sending it north, by adding on a new layer of Mongol aristocracy, which became wealthy and which didn't exist before the Yuan - they existed in addition to the pre-extant, local Han gentry. the ultimate purpose of Mongol rule, whatever Kubilai's domestic policies, was to impose taxes on Han people and use that to enrich the Mongols and their associated non-Han northern allies. as a result, Han people were poorer, worse off, with the rule of Kubilai than they would have been with native government. the Yuan never sinicized, never got past this impulse to loot China (a tradition going back 2000 years), which is why they failed so quickly - compare and contrast with the Qing.

i mean, you can argue with all of this. just don't give Kubilai Khan too much credit for how much he cared for peasants, when his armies undoubtedly murdered hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of Chinese peasants. did he make up for it in the way he ruled? I doubt it.. by including some negatives re Kubilai Khan and the Mongols, you can cover more bases, and maybe feel more confident with your theses..
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby Mike Mullany » Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:05 am

Thanks for the reply agga. You know, the problem is you are asked to hand a thesis and 5 research points two weeks into a class about someone, and you have absolutely no background about this person at all. I agree with everything you say about Khubilai not being all good for China from the biography on him I am reading. I do not know a thing about any of the Chinese Dynasties you mention. We are studying the Zhou in class right now. The professor also insists on taking a position and defending it. Which I find very hard to do about something you are just learning anyway. I personally very rarely find I take a 100% position on anything. I like to think I can always see another point of view. I actually tend to play the devils advocate. So I kind of look to attack these things from that angle. So is this how history classes and history papers usually are? Take a position even if you do not really believe it 100%. FWIW, from whatever research I have done on him so far and the Mongols in general, I do find absolutely fascinating.
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby agga » Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:54 am

mike, i guess you're right. it's been probably 10 years since i took a class like that, having to defend theses. i get too opinionated with these things. and, i agree on the Mongols, it's a really amazing story, especially Genghis Khan's life - what came after , with his descendants, was a huge change in the world order. I read Harold Lamb's "Genghis Khan" when i was a kid and thereafter was a huge admirer, which I know is twisted, but plenty of others feel the same way. when it comes to historical figures of real magnitude, there's Alexander and Temujin, and that's kind of the end of the top rank. Lamb's book is kind of fictionalized i think, so you probably can't use it as a reference. same with "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World", which I also liked a lot (by Jack Weatherford, an economist I think) - I thought it was great but it got a lot of complaints on historical details.

anyways, all of Chinese history is great to read about. go look up Yue Fei from the Song dynasty, that's a great one to know (if you want to know a single thing about the Song)..
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