1. How was the influence of Buddhism manifested in Indian civilization of the Gupta period? What factors tended to undermine the strength of Buddhism in India?
  2. Why did the Chinese pilgrim Fa Xian go to India in the early fifth century? What do we learn about India from his account?
  3. How did the government of Harsha differ from that of the earlier Gupta Dynasty?
  4. What similarities and differences were there between Gupta-era sculpture and classical Hellenic sculpture?
  5. Compare and contrast the cults of Vishnu and Shiva.
  6. Explain the meaning of this statement: "What the Periclean Age and the Augustan Age were for the classical civilizations of the West the reigns of Vikramaditya and Harsha were for India."
  7. Explain the significance of the Bhagavad Gita in the Indian religious tradition.
  8. Contrast Sanskrit drama with Western drama.
  9. What kinds of influence did India of this period exert on the West?
  10. Explain the assertion that the dominance of the state has been both China's greatest strength and its greatest weakness.
  11. The Qin Dynasty was very brief. Why was it so important for Chinese history?
  12. What were the major achievements of Qinshihuangdi, China's "first emperor"?
  13. In what ways was the Han Dynasty of lasting significance for Chinese history?
  14. Explain Emperor Han Wudi's major contributions to the strength of the Chinese state, examining both internal and external policies.
  15. What is referred to as the "Han compromise." What were the effects of this compromise on later Chinese history?
  16. In what ways was China's period of disunity similar to the period in western Europe following the downfall of the Roman Empire? In what ways was it different?
  17. What were the major factors that contributed to the reunification of China after the period of disunity?
  18. What did the short-lived Sui Dynasty accomplish that proved to be beneficial to the Tang Dynasty?
  19. Explain the purpose and effects of the Chinese civil service examination system.
  20. Describe changes in the position and role of the following groups in Chinese society: the aristocracy, farmers, women.
  21. What role did eunuchs play in Chinese history?
  22. What effects did the abolition of the practice of primogeniture have on later Chinese history?
  23. Outline the major economic changes in China from the Han to the Tang, with particular attention to the role of the state.
  24. List some specific technological advances in China from the Han through the Tang dynasties.
  25. In what sense is it incorrect to refer to Confucianism as a religion?
  26. What was Dong Zhongshu's contribution to Confucian thought?
  27. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Japan's geographic location and climate?
  28. How do you account for the fact that the position of women in Japanese society seems to have been higher in ancient times than later?
  29. What factors aided the spread of Buddhism in Japan? What effect did it have on the native Shinto religion?
  30. Japan imported many cultural items from China. Which were the easiest for the Japanese to assimilate, and which were the hardest?
  31. Why did Chinese characters prove to be inadequate in the development of a system for writing Japanese?
  32. What important differences were there between the Japanese imperial government and the imperial government of China upon which it was modeled?
  33. Why is it claimed that the Taika Reforms represent "the founding of the Japanese imperial system"? Why did these reforms not completely succeed?
  34. What climatic and other factors hampered the growth of human societies in Africa?
  35. How do you account for the emphasis on collectivism rather than individualism in African societies?
  36. What impact did the introduction of iron tools have on African societies?
  37. Explain the origins of the terms "Sahara" and "Sudan."
  38. What difference did the introduction of the camel have on African economic development?
  39. Summarize the role of Bantu-speaking peoples in the evolution of civilization in Africa.
  40. From what specific regions were African societies affected by contact with non-Africans through the operation of trade networks?
  41. In what ways did Egypt become a major Jewish population center?
  1. Read the Sanskrit drama Shakuntala and compare it with a drama of Aeschylus or Sophocles.
  2. Compare the role of Buddhist monks in education in India during this period with the role of Christian monks in education in the West during the Middle Ages.
  3. Read translations of poems by Li Bo and Du Fu to determine why the Tang period is considered a high point of Chinese poetry.
  4. Investigate the evolution of sculpture in northwestern India.
  5. Investigate the problem of the Ainu in the population of Japan. Explore their ethnic characteristics, probable origins, and present status.
  6. Compare the descriptions of India by the Chinese Buddhist pilgrims Fa Xian (5th century) and Xuanzang (7th century). (Translations can be found in Samuel Beal, Buddhist Records of the Western World.)
  7. Compare the sculpture and painting of the classical age in India with that of the classical (Hellenic) age in Greece.
  8. To what extent was the government of China's "First Emperor" totalitarian? From what sources did he derive his ideas about government?
  9. Examine the impact of Buddhism on philosophical thought in Tang-period China.
  10. Compare ancient Japanese and Chinese societies and social structures.
  11. Compare the impact of Bantu expansion in Africa with the impact of nomadic invasions in China.
  12. Compare Confucian and Buddhist views of women. Then compare the impact of Confucianism on women's daily lives with that of Buddhism.
  13. Explore further the idea that with regard to science, "the Western model favored analysis; the Chinese model favored synthesis."
  14. Examine the impact of Buddhism on artistic and literary developments throughout Asia.


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REVIEW: World Civilizations
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