Format: This paper must be written on a computer, double-spaced, with numbered pages, and in a 12 point font. Margins should be neither unreasonably small nor unreasonably large. There should be introductory and concluding paragraphs: the former to say what you are going to do, the latter to sum up what you have just done. I expect that your papers will be carefully thought out and carefully written.
*Topic Meetings in early October, Bibliography by Oct. 22.
*Working draft for peer review on
*Polished draft for provisional grading (submitted electronically) on Nov. 8.
*Final Draft by noon on Sunday, December 12 (the day before classes end).
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Theme: Your paper for this course will entail the interpretation of some element of East Asian life, religion, or society, exploring and examining the meaning of a piece of art, music, ritual, story, or anything else that draws your interest. You may either interpret this in its own right--i.e., show me how and why this is meaningful to East Asians, and what it reveals about the Chinese or the Japanese worldview, or you can engage in some thoughtful comparison between your topic and some related subject (for example, the parallels and differences between theories of enlightened government in ancient China and in the Enlightenment). Although comparisons across time and cultures must be handled carefully, they can prove enriching and enlightening. Whatever your choice, you must move from description to analysis, from detailing the "WHAT" of your topic (What it is, when it is done, what sort of things go with it), to the "WHY" (Why it's important, what it this reveals about the tradition, why we should care). What you are really trying to do is to convey some sense of what this MEANS to the people INSIDE the tradition. .
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Criteria for Grading: Your paper will be evaluated on 5 criteria:
This paper is meant to involve research, which means that you must have sources. Depending on your topic, a variety of sources (interviews, books, magazines, WWW) may be appropriate. Except in unusual cases, no more than half of your sources can come from the World Wide Web. Furthermore, those web sources you cite must be evaluated for their reliability. For some helpful criteria to help you evaluate the reliability of web sources, click here.
Citations: Since you will have sources, you must also document these sources, to acknowledge where your material has come from. Such documentation is essential for you to avoid plagiarism, one of the forms of academic dishonesty expressly forbidden by the student community code. Part of this documentation will come at the end of your paper, in your list of sources/bibliography. The other important part of this documentation will come in the body of your paper, in your citations of these sources. These three links (e.g., plagiarism, list of sources, and citations) contain important information to which you must pay attention: examples of different sorts of plagiarism, and some general rules and examples for doing these two types of documentation. Please read them carefully and follow them in good faith. If in doubt, consult the relevant authorities, such as Write For College, The Chicago Manual Of Style, or similar sources. Drafts lacking adequate citations will be subject to the various penalties for academic dishonesty, with the penalty based on the severity of the infraction.
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Academic Honesty and Dishonesty:
Computer Excuses: Don't even think about them. In the real world, you are screwed if you don't back up your data.
Introductions and Conclusions: Ideally, your paper's opening paragraph should give your reader a good idea of what your paper is about, and should foreshadow your eventual conclusions (i.e., hint about them, so that the reader knows something of what to expect). The paper's conclusion should reiterate the paper's most important points, in a way that condenses the paper's contents for the reader. For further stylistic suggestions (having more to do with sentence construction and word choice), click on Strongly Recommended Stylistic Suggestions, which I hope will help you to write stronger and tighter prose.
I will be available to help you throughout this process, and hope that you will use me as a resource, adviser, and a sympathetic but critical listener.
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Last modified 29 August 2010