Early twentieth century Chinese asked whether the modern term “economy” could be usefully translated into the traditional Chinese context. To revisit this question, this course will examine the texts that they and historians since have taken as the main sources of early Chinese economic thought and history. These include selections from Mencius, Shiji, Hanshu, Guanzi, Debate on Salt and Iron, as well as Precepts for my Daughters. We will read these in light of traditional commentaries and modern anthropological and literary approaches to economic writing and practice, including Mauss, Polanyi, Goux, Bourdieu, Bray, Liu. Topics will include genre, rhetoric, and gender. We will ask how the early Chinese instance might affirm or revise the comparative models we engage. Some reading knowledge of classical Chinese required.