ASIA/HIST 1420, Gender Roles in Early Indian
Choose at least three of the six primary sources from the list below and discuss what the texts tell us about gender roles in early Indian and Chinese society. You must talk about both societies and compare the different texts and traditions you discuss.
You could address questions such as: What expectations are placed on men and women? What freedoms, restrictions, and responsibilities do men and women have as they go through life? What do family structure and relations look like? How does the rise of Buddhism in
either or both societies change peoples’ options? You do not have to answer all of these
questions, nor are you limited to them.
1. “Varna-Dharma, or Organization of the Four Castes”; “The Origin of Mixed Castes”; “Marriage and Householders Duties”; “The Position of Women” a. Embree, Ainslie T., ed. Sources of Indian Tradition Vol. 1: From the Beginning to 1800. 2nd ed. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988. (No author.)
2. The Analects
a. Slingerland, Edward, trans. Confucius Analects. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2003. (No author.)
3. “Admonitions for Women”
a. Ban, Zhao, “Admonitions for Women.” In Hawai’i Reader in Traditional Chinese Culture. Edited by Victor H. Mair, Nancy S. Steinhardt, and Paul R. Goldin. 186-189. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2005.
4. “The Mother of Meng Ke of Zou”
a. Liu, Xiang, “The Mother of Meng Ke of Zou.” In Exemplary Women of Early China: The Lienü Zhuan of Liu Xiang. Edited by Anne Behnke Kinney, 18-20. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014.
5. “The Ethics of Theravada Buddhism”: “The Morals of the Monk”, “Care of the Body”,
“Buddhism and Everyday Life”
a. Embree, Ainslie T., ed. Sources of Indian Tradition Vol. 1: From the Beginning to
1800. 2nd ed. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988. (No author.)
6. “Biography of the Great Compassionate One of Xiangshan”
a. Jiang, Zhiji, “Biography of the Great Compassionate One of Xiangshan.” In Under
Confucian Eyes. Edited by Susan Mann, Susan and Yu-Yin Cheng, 31-44.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.
In addition, you are encouraged to use all other relevant primary sources from the
course, including sources quoted in lecture.
Your essay must focus on analyzing the primary sources. To support your primary
sources analysis, provide historical context from lectures and from Holcombe ch.1-3 (these are
secondary sources). Demonstrate your understanding of the course material by being specific
and nuanced in your analysis. You may not use any materials from outside the course without
prior written permission from the instructor.
● Your essay should be 1400-1600 words (excluding notes and bibliography).
● The essay is due Friday, March 18, 23:59. It must be submitted in UM Learn as an MS
○ Essays will be accepted up to 48 hours late for a penalty of one point (of 18) on
the assignment. No work will be accepted beyond 48 hours.
○ Earn an extra 1 point on this essay (up to the maximum of 18) by meeting with a
course-based writing tutor. See the course syllabus and the writing tutor
presentation on 3/3 for more details about appointments and scheduling.
○ Since this is a course that meets the University Senate’s W requirement,
students must complete all essay assignments with a passing grade to pass the
● The first paragraph of your essay must clearly state your thesis.
● Citations must follow Chicago Style.
● You must include a bibliography (also in Chicago style)
● Information from lectures does not need to be cited UNLESS you are citing primary
sources from the slides, or directly quoting text from the slides or from the professor’s
speech. To cite lecture material, cite the day the lecture was delivered, and if the source
was not the professor (e.g. you’re citing a quote from The Analects that appeared on a
slide one day), then tell us the source. You do not need to provide any other information.
Lecture citations should appear in footnotes only, you do not need to add them to the
○ Example proper lecture footnote citation: Quote from The Analects in lecture,
May 31, 2022.
● Do not collaborate with anyone in any way. This is individual work.
● Do not use translation software. You must write the essay in English yourself. Gender Roles in Early Indian
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