This survey course explores the origins and developments of classical Chinese traditions from ancient times to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The goal is not comprehensive coverage of the vast number of events that shaped the evolution of the imperial state. Rather, students are exposed to key ideas and social practices that defined the historical consciousness of the Chinese people and that continue to give Chinese culture its unique values today. Confucius (551-479 BC) was the first of many Chinese thinkers to place historical consciousness at the heart of individual and cultural identity. Speaking in the first person (a rare event), he said in the ANALECTS: "I was not born knowing the past. I love the ancients and seek earnestly to know their way." The humility and the ambition of this statement will guide our inquiries in this survey class as we examine closely key texts and major thinkers who sought, quite literally, to live in the light of the past. Love of ancients is not a common theme in progress-oriented Western historiography. Students will, therefore, be challenged to examine their own cultural assumptions as we delve more deeply into Chinese history. Here, truth is not something to be scorned, theorized away, or assumed to coincide with current social practice. Confucius' aim of seeking earnestly for historical truth is a goal for students in this class as well.