“Is the Song Dynasty Modern”?

The Song Dynasty (960-1278) brought a renewed foundation to Chinese culture, one that persisted in some form down to the early 20th century and the fall of the last imperial dynasty in China, the Qing (1644-1911). Some have argued that the changes wrought by Song rulers amount to the beginning of an East Asian modernity. In your essay, you should attempt to answer their question, “Is the Song Dynasty Modern”? You should consider a definition or definitions of “modernity” in your answer and consider to what extent the Song Dynasty fits these criteria. Your response should also take into account both positive and negative rationales given in response to this question, regardless of your own assessment.

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