Dialogues Across Civilizations sets the histories of China and Europe alongside one another. Each chapter stands as an essay that imaginatively places historical individuals and events in proximity to one another and explores a specific topic?gender relations, rural politics, artistic renderings of nature, to name a few?through the stories of persons who reflected on similar questions but in different social and cultural settings. Through this juxtaposition, Chinese and European civilizations illuminate each other's achievements, problems, and limitations in a range of areas from urban history to religious faith.Privileging neither Europe nor China, this work offers an innovative move away from relativism and multiculturalism towards an analysis that focuses on relationships between social choices and consequences. As a result, both common and divergent perspectives on the human condition emerge for discussion. Drawing upon a rich literature of cross-societal studies, Dialogues Across Civilizations generates reflection on themes central to the study of world history as well as European and Asian history.
Introduction: Opening the European and Chinese Experiences -- The Social and the Individual: Thoughts from Kong Zi and Socrates -- Reflections on Gender Relations: Views from Ban Zhao and Christine de Pisan -- Patterns of Urban and Commercial Development: The Capital Cities Paris and Hangzhou -- Popular Protest and Rural Activism: The Utopian Visions of Thomas Müntzer and Hong Xiuquan -- Industrial Capitalism and the Nation-State: Otto von Bismarck and Sun Zhongshan -- Religion in Society: Huiyuan and Saint Augustine on Human Suffering -- Synthesis of Classical and Religious Traditions: The Lixue of Zhu Xi and the Scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas -- Philosophical and Environmental Perspectives in Nature Art: Claude Monet and Qi Baishi -- Conclusions and Epilogue: The Chinese and European Experiences in Contemporary Contexts