Write a 3 page essay for a linguistic class.

Write a 3 page essay for a linguistic class. Requirement is here and the topic has been choose as “Civil service
Examination system between Chinese, Korean, and VietnamIntroduce what is civil service
Examination?, I will attach the outline for the paper and other materials for you. All the work has to be original Thank you!Requirement of the paper:First Paper: ?Comparing Asia? (3-5 pp.) Select a set of issues, texts, or visual artifacts from different Asian countries and reflecton them through comparison. Think about the challenges and gains of the comparison you are undertaking. You can also compare and contrast media stories about Asia to the texts we are reading in this class. A ?thesis paragraph? for your paper will be due two weeks before paper due-date in drop-box and you will sign up to meet with section instructor to discuss your topic further.(The ?thesis paragraph? should include: captivating title, indication of what you will examine, statement about why you chose that topic and what you would like to say about it).


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Xuan Zhang
Professor Catherine V. Yeh
Thesis Paragraph Paper 1
Civil service Examination system between Chinese, Korean, and Vietnam
Introduce what is civil service Examination
-Recruitment method for ruling elites & Bureaucracy
-Chance for upper mobility
Exam the relationship between Confucianism and Civil service Examination
-Confucianism is the base of the exam
The advantage and disadvantage of Civil service Examination
Civil service Examination?s impact on other East Asia countries
-Ended in Korea until 1894. Lasted for 936 years
-Vietnam: let more and more ordinary people get educated. Improve the spread of
-Japan: Abandon the Civil service Examination. Noble who took power don?t
want poor people to share their power.
Compare Modern examination system to ancient Civil service Examination system
(similarity and improvement)
? Cinema
Comprehensive index starts
in volume 5, page 2667.
Civil Service Examinations
?? ?
The civil service examination system, a
method of recruiting civil officials based on
merit rather than family or political connections, played an especially central role in
Chinese social and intellectual life from 650
to 1905. Passing the rigorous exams, which
were based on classical literature and philosophy, conferred a highly ­sought-?­after status,
and a rich literati culture in imperial China
ivil service examinations connected various aspects of premodern politics, society, economy,
and intellectual life in imperial China. Local
elites and the imperial court continually influenced the
dynastic government to reexamine and adjust the classical curriculum and to entertain new ways to improve
the institutional system for selecting civil officials. As a
result, civil examinations, as a test of educational merit,
also served to tie the dynasty and literati culture together
Premodern civil service examinations, viewed by
some as an obstacle to modern Chinese ­state-?­building,
did in fact make a positive contribution to China?s emergence in the modern world. A classical education based
on nontechnical moral and political theory was as suitable
for selection of elites to serve the imperial state at its highest echelons as were humanism and a classical education
that served elites in the burgeoning ­nation-?­states of early
modern Europe. Moreover, classical examinations were
an effective cultural, social, political, and educational
construction that met the needs of the dynastic bureaucracy while simultaneously supporting late imperial social structure. Elite gentry and merchant status groups
were defined in part by examination degree credentials.
Civil service examinations by themselves were not an
avenue for considerable social mobility, that is, they were
not an opportunity for the vast majority of peasants and
artisans to move from the lower classes into elite circles.
The archives recording data from the years 1500 to 1900
indicate that peasants, traders, and artisans, who made
up 90 percent of the population, were not a significant
part of the 2 to 3 million candidates who usually took the
local biennial licensing tests . Despite this fact, a social
byproduct of the examinations was the limited circulation in the government of ­lower-?­level elites from gentry,
military, and merchant backgrounds.
One of the unintended consequences of the examinations was the large pool of examination failures who used
their linguistic and literary talents in a variety of nonofficial roles: One must look beyond the official meritocracy
to see the larger place of the millions of failures in the
civil service examinations. One of the unintended consequences of the examinations was the creation of legions
of classically literate men who used their linguistic talents
for a variety of nonofficial purposes: from physicians to
pettifoggers, from fiction writers to examination essay
teachers, and from ritual specialists to lineage agents.
Although women were barred from taking the exams,
they followed their own educational pursuits if only to
compete in ancillary roles, either as girls competing for
spouses or as mothers educating their sons.
© 2009 by Berkshire Publishing Group LLC
Pu Songling (1640??1715), a failure many times himself,
immortalized the travails of those trapped in the relentless machinery of late imperial civil service examinations
in his many stories that parodied the examination system.
His most famous portrait sketched ?The Seven Likenesses
of a Candidate?:
A licentiate taking the provincial examination
may be likened to seven things. When entering
the examination hall, ­bare-?­footed and carrying a
basket, he is like a beggar. At ­roll-?­call time, being
shouted at by officials and abused by their subordinates, he is like a prisoner. When writing in
his cell, with his head and feet sticking out of the
booth, he is like a cold bee late in autumn. Upon
leaving the examination hall, being in a daze and
seeing a changed universe, he is like a sick bird out
of a cage. When anticipating the results, he is on
pins and needles; one moment he fantasizes success and magnificent mansions are instantly built;
another moment he fears failure and his body is
deduced to a corpse. At this point he is like a chimpanzee in captivity. Finally the messengers come
on galloping horses and confirm the absence of
his name on the list of successful candidates. His
complexion becomes ashen and his body stiffens
like a poisoned fly no longer able to move. Disappointed and discouraged, he vilifies the examiners for their blindness and blames the unfairness
of the system. Thereupon he collects all his books
and papers from his desk and sets them on fire;
unsatisfied, he tramples over the ashes; still unsatisfied, he throws the ashes into a filthy gutter. He
is determined to abandon the world by going into
the mountains, and he is resolved to drive away
any person who dares speak to him about examination essays. With the passage of time, his anger
subsides and his aspiration rises. Like a turtle dove
just hatched, he rebuilds his nest and starts the
process once again. (Elman 2000, 361)
This account is, of course, fictional, but its cultural
content lays out in full relief the psychological strain that
candidates experienced inside and outside the examination compounds.
Women along with Buddhist and Daoist clergy
were excluded, so the pool of candidates in late
Berkshire Encyclopedia of China
imperial ­China??­as in contemporary education circles
­worldwide??­was exclusive. Because of the requirement
to master nonvernacular classical texts, an educational
barrier was erected as the hidden curriculum that separated those licensed to take examinations and those who
could not because they were classically illiterate. The circulation of partially literate nonelites and lesser lights as
­w riters-?­for-hire was an unintended byproduct of the civil
examination?s educational process and explains the value
of examinations for the many and not just the few in premodern China.
When modern reformers summarily decided to eliminate the civil service examinations in 1904 the Qing
dynasty (1644??1912) undermined its longstanding partnership with ­gentry-?­merchant elites. The dynasty fell before a
new schooling system could be put in place empirewide.
With hindsight one can see that civil service examinations had served both imperial interests and literati values.
Along with the examinations the dragon throne (symbol
of dynastic government) and its traditional elites also collapsed in the ­t wentieth-?­century Chinese revolution.
Examinations as Socio-?
Cultural ?Glue?
In addition to their governmental role, imperial Chinese
civil service examinations played a central role in Chinese social and intellectual life from 650 to 1905. Beginning in 1400 imperial examiners were committed to the
?Learning of the Way? ­(neo-?­Confucianism) as the state
orthodoxy in official life and in literati culture. From 650
to 1200 literary talent and classical learning had been
tested as important, ­dual-?­t rack educational proficiencies. A unifying philosophical orthodoxy was not widely
influential in the examination halls until Chinese literati
deemed that they needed to speak with a single cultural
voice at a time when the political unity of the empire had
been squashed by the Mongol conquest (1240??1368). Han
Chinese classical scholars built a new cultural and educational fortress around the bequeathed ­neo-?­Confucian
teachings of the literati of their beloved but vanquished
Southern Song dynasty (1127??1279).
Civil service examinations reflected the larger literati culture because they were already penetrated by imperial interests and local elites who together formed the
© 2009 by Berkshire Publishing Group LLC
Civil Service Examinations
Detail from the e­ ighth-?
­century painting Literary Gathering, by Tang
dynasty artist Han Huang.
Ink and color on silk.
One component of the
civil service examination was the writing of an
­?Eight-?­Legged Essay? that
adhered to rigorous structure and exactitude. One
slip of the pen in the formation of a written classical Chinese character was
cause for failure.
classical curriculum. Gentry and merchant status groups
were defined in part by their examination credentials. The
intersections between elite social life, popular culture,
and religion from 1400 to 1900 also reveal the full cultural
scope and magnitude of the examination process in the
1,300 counties, 140 prefectures, 17 provinces, as well as in
the capital region, where they were administered. These
regular testing sites, which in terms of the role of police
surveillance in the selection process operated as ?cultural
prisons,? elicited the voluntary participation of millions
of ­men??­women were excluded from participating in this
aspect as ­well??­and attracted the attention of elites and
commoners at all levels of society.
The demise of civil service examinations yielded
consequences that the last rulers of imperial China and
reformist gentry generally underestimated. The Manchu court was complicit in its own dismantling after the
forces of delegitimation and decanonization were unleashed by reformist Chinese gentry, who prevailed in
­late-?­n ineteenth-century education circles in the 1890s
and convinced the imperial court to eliminate the institution in 1904.
Education reform and the elimination of examinations
were tied to newly defined national goals of ­Western-?­style
change that superseded the conservative goals of reproducing dynastic power, granting elite prestige, and affirming the classical orthodoxy. The ideal of national unity
replaced dynastic solidarity as the sprawling, multiethnic
Manchu empire became a struggling Chinese republic. It
was later refashioned as a multiethnic communist nation
© 2009 by Berkshire Publishing Group LLC
in 1949. With the Republican Revolution of 1911, the imperial system ended abruptly, but its demise was already
assured in 1904 when the Qing state lost control of the
education system.
Power, Politics, and
Classical philosophy and imperial politics were dubious
partners during the Ming (1368??1644) and Qing dynasties
when Song classical interpretations became the orthodox
guidelines for the examination system. Ming and Qing
appropriations of that orthodoxy as a ­single-?­minded and
monocular political ideology affected politically and socially how literati learning would be interpreted and used.
The mark of the late imperial civil service system was its
elaboration of the examination model through the impact
of commercialization and demographic growth when the
reach of the process expanded from metropolitan and provincial capitals to all thirteen counties. In addition, the
upsurge in numbers of candidates was marked by degree
inflation at the lower levels. Palace graduate ­degree-?­holders
dominated most positions of higher office. Officialdom
became the prerogative of a slim minority. As the door
to official appointment, civil service examinations also
conferred social and cultural status on families seeking to
become or maintain their status as local elites.
Competitive tensions in the examination market explain the ­police-?­like rigor of the civil service examinations
as a systematic and stylized educational form of cultural
hegemony (influence) that elites and rulers could both
support. Imperial power and bureaucratic authority were
conveyed through the accredited cultural institutions of
the Ministry of Rites, the Hanlin Academy, and civil
service examinations. Political legitimation transmitted
through education succeeded because enhanced social
status and legal privileges were an important byproduct of
the examination competition to enter the civil service.
Fixed quotas based on the ratio between successful
and failed candidates demonstrated that the state saw educational access to the civil service as a means to regulate
the power of elites. Government control of civil and military selection quotas was most keenly felt at the initial
licensing stages for the privilege to enter the examination
selection process at the county level. In 1600 China had
Berkshire Encyclopedia of China
perhaps 500,000 civil licentiates in a population of 150
million, or a ratio of 1 licentiate per 300 persons. By 1850,
with a population of 350 million, China had only 800,000
civil and military licentiates, but still only about a ­half-?
­million were civil, a ratio of 1 per 1,000 persons.
Because of economic advantages in south China (especially the Yangzi [Chang] River delta but including the
southeast), candidates from the south performed better
on the civil service examinations than candidates from
­less-?­prosperous regions in the north, northwest, and
southwest. To keep the south?s domination of the examinations within acceptable bounds, Qing education officials maintained the official ratio of 60:40 for allocations
of the highest jinshi (literati eligible for appointments) degree to candidates from the south versus the north, which
was slightly modified to 55:10:35 by allocating 10 percent
for the central region.
The overcrowded examination hall became a contested site, where the political interests of the dynasty,
the social interests of its elites, and the cultural ideals of
classical learning were all compromised. Moreover, examination halls empirewide were supervised by literati
officials, who were in charge of the military and police
apparatus when so many men were brought together to
be tested at a single place. Forms of resistance to imperial
prerogative emerged among examiners, and widespread
dissatisfaction and corruption among the candidates at
times triumphed over the ­high-?­minded goals of the classical examinations.
Literacy and Social
The monopolization of ?cultural resources? by local elites
depended on their linguistic mastery of nonvernacular
classical texts tested by the state. Imperial examinations
created a written language barrier that stood between
those who were allowed into the empire?s examination
compounds and those classical illiterates who were kept
out. In a society with no ?public? schools, education was
monopolized by gentry and merchants who organized
into lineages and clans to provide superior classical educations. The Mandarin vernacular and classical literacy
played central roles in culturally defining high and low
social status in Chinese society. The selection process
© 2009 by Berkshire Publishing Group LLC
Civil Service Examinations
permitted some circulation of elites in and out of the total pool, but the educational curriculum and its formidable linguistic requirements effectively eliminated the
lower classes from the selection process. In addition, an
unstated gender ideology simply assumed that women
were ineligible.
Literati regularly turned to religion and the mantic
(relating to the faculty of divination) arts to understand
and rationalize their chances of success in the competitive
local, provincial, and metropolitan examinations. Examination dreams and popular lore spawned a remarkable
literature about the temples that candidates visited, the
dreams that they or members of their family had, and the
magical events in their early lives that were premonitions
of later success. Both elites and commoners used fate to
describe the forces operating in the examination marketplace. The anxiety produced by examinations was a
historical phenomenon that was experienced most personally and deeply by boys and men. They encoded fate
using cultural glosses that had unconscious ties to popular religion.
The civil service competition affirmed a classical curriculum that consolidated elite families into a culturally
defined status group of ­degree-?­holders that shared (1) internalization of a common classical language, (2) memorization of a shared canon of classics, and (3) a literary
style of writing known as the ­?eight-?­legged essay.? Elite
literary culture was in part defined by the civil service examination curriculum, but that curriculum also showed
the impact of literati opinions about education. The moral
cultivation of the literatus was a perennial concern of the
imperial court as it sought to ensure that the officials it
chose in the examination market would be loyal to the
ruling family. For the literatus it was important that the
dynasty conformed to classical ideals that literati themselves had formulated.
The bureaucracy made an enormous financial commitment to staffing and operating the empirewide examination regime. Ironically, the chief consequence was
that by 1800 examiners no longer could read each essay
carefully. Final rankings, even for the ­eight-?­legged essay,
appeared haphazard as a result. Although acknowledging
the educational impact of the curriculum in force, one
should guard against portraying weary examiners with
so many papers to read as the dynasty?s ?thought police,?
operating inside the examination halls trying to impose
orthodoxy from above. Overall, however, examiners as an
interpretive community did uphold canonical standards.
They marked their cognitive world according to the moral
attitudes, social dispositions, and political compulsions
of their day.
Fields of Learning
In the nineteenth century the examination curriculum
increasingly conformed to the statecraft and evidential
research currents then popular. In the late eighteenth century the Qing dynasty had initiated ?ancient learning?
curricular reforms to make the examinations more difficult for the increasing numbers of candidates by requiring
mastery of not one but all of the Five Classics. In addition,
the formalistic requirements of a new poetry question
after 1787 gave examiners an additional tool, along with
the 8-?­legged essay ?grid,? to grade papers more efficiently.
Later rulers failed to recognize that an important aspect
of the civil service examinations was the periodic questioning of the system from within that gave it credibility
from without.
Literati fields of learning, such as natural studies and
history, were also represented in late imperial civil examinations, particularly in the reformist era after 1860. Such
inclusion showed the influence of the Qing court and its
regional officials, who for political reasons widened the
scope of policy questions on examinations in the 1880s
and 1890s.
Delegitimation and
Radical reforms were initiated to meet the challenges of
the Taiping Rebellion (1850??1864) and Western imperialism. Even the Taipings instituted their own ­Christian-?
­based civ …
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