This course examines the complex worldviews of China’s Han period, the centuries that follow its unification and the establishment of its empire. The momentous changes of this period shaped traditional and contemporary views of history and society, philosophy, and religion, and as a result are still relevant today. This course will look at Han “thought,” a word chosen for its range, including religion, state ritual, social conventions, moral philosophy, and thinking about the natural world. It covers both elite and popular culture, and pays particular attention to two works of the second century B.C.E.: the Shiji (i.e., Records of the Historian) or the Huainanzi.