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Question Description

I) Short version:

As the syllabus states: “Students will complete a [five to] ten-page (double-spaced) critical essay on one aspect of imperial China [namely, Confucianism as the ideology of state], analyzed in historical context. The paper should present (i) a well-formulated thesis, (ii) clear supporting arguments, (iii) persuasive evidence for each supporting argument, and (iv) a conclusion that synthesizes the central arguments.”

II) Detailed version:

As I stated in my announcement:

• Length: Your final term paper should be 5 to 10 pages double-spaced (I have reduced the length from 10 pages to five to ten; everything else being equal, longer papers will receive a higher grade.)

• Due date: Your final term paper will be due at the end of finals week, on Nov. 19, 2020, at 11:59 PM.

• Topic: Confucianism as the ideology of state: Critically analyze, in historical context, Confucianism as the ideology of the state in imperial China. That is, explain the basic tenets of Confucianism and how these work to establish, preserve, and reinforce the social order; explain how Confucianism is presented in these texts as an ideology that can order the state. This has been a theme throughout my posted lectures, please use the lectures to help you. For example: (1) in the Analects, some of the key tenets are filiality, ritual, virtue, humaneness, rightness, and the noble person. How do these establish, preserve, and reinforce the social order? (2) In Mencius, as I explain in the lecture, we see examples after example of Mencius arguing that Confucianism will order the state, prevent rebellions, increase population, and even defend against invaders. (3) In the Great Tang Code, we see many examples of Confucianism being used to justify harsh punishments. Use these and other examples to show how Confucianism is asserted to bring order to the state. This paper should allow you to incorporate many of the primary sources assigned in the course, and to use any written notes you have made to help you write your paper.

• I will NOT accept papers on any other topic without prior permission. That is, in exceptional circumstances, I may consider a proposal from a student to write on another topic, requiring that you MUST (1) first submit the proposal well in advance of the paper due date, and (2) receive written permission from me.

• Sources: Use only the PRIMARY sources assigned in class (that is, de Bary, Sources of Chinese Tradition); do not use the translators’ introductions. The most important sources are Analects and Mencius. You may also consider using Classic of Documents, Great Tang Code, Han Yu’s Essentials of the Moral Way, and Zhu Xi,’s Great Learning and Mean.

• Use assigned readings ONLY: I will NOT accept a paper using sources not assigned in class. In particular, do not use the internet; do not use sources not assigned in class. Your paper must make good use of the readings assigned in class and the lectures. Use ONLY reading materials assigned in the class and lectures. In exceptional circumstances, I may consider allowing a student to use sources not assigned in class, requiring that you MUST (1) submit a request to use other sources well in advance of the paper due date, (2) make a persuasive argument for using the sources, and (3) receive written permission from me.

• Lectures: Make sure to listen to and use the material in the posted lectures.

• Format: Five to ten-page (double-spaced) critical essay with thesis, supporting arguments, supporting evidence, and conclusion. No title page, no bibliography, no footnotes, no headers, no footers, and no special style. That is, I do not require that you use a particular style manual: you may use any style that you are familiar with, including Chicago Manual of Style, MLA, APA, etc.; your grade will be based on the content of the paper, not the style. For citations, simply use short citations with the page numbers from the textbook, for example: (Analects, p. 47).

• Plagiarism: if you plagiarize you will NOT pass this course. Please make sure that no part of your paper is plagiarized. Please make sure to properly cite all your sources and use quotation marks.

• Rubric: The following is the rubric for grading your papers:

A: This paper presents (i) a well-formulated thesis, (ii) clear supporting arguments (which serve as the topic sentences for the individual paragraphs), (iii) persuasive evidence for each supporting argument (which constitutes the body of the individual paragraphs), and (iv) a conclusion which synthesizes the central arguments.

B: This paper has specific defects, including the thesis statement, supporting arguments, evidence provided, or numerous mistakes in grammar or spelling.

C: Although it may be well-written, this paper is primarily summary, without a clear thesis, supporting arguments, or conclusion. It is often the result of inadequate preparation, ignoring the stated requirements of this paper, and written hurriedly at the last moment.

D: In addition to lacking a thesis, supporting arguments, and evidence, paper has further defects, including numerous errors in grammar and spelling, highly informal or inappropriate writing. It has often been written in extreme haste in hopes of minimally satisfying the assignment; tricks are often used to reach the required number of pages, including lengthy quotations, and large fonts, margins, and spaces between paragraphs.

F: A plagiarized paper will receive zero points and may be reported to the Dean of the College.