This course investigates the history of China from pre-historic times to the mid-seventeenth century. During this span, the classical formulations of Chinese thought were founded, as were the basic structures of the imperial-bureaucratic system of government. However, China did not then proceed from the classical period to modern times with little to no change, as many have long assumed. Instead, numerous social, intellectual, political, and cultural trends transformed the country in profound ways. Students will analyze general changes and continuities over time, but they shall also delve deeper into questions about the nature of the so-called classical formations, the effects of constant interactions with borderland peoples, and the day-to-day lives of families and commoners, among other topics.