Final Paper Assignment
Due Friday, December 7, uploaded through Oncourse.
Your final G380 written assignment is a paper of 1750-2000 words (about 6-7 double-spaced pages) analyzing a biographical chapter of Sima Qian's Shiji. About one half of Sima Qian's comprehensive history of China to about 100 B.C. is composed of biographies. In some cases, the biographical chapters focus on a single individual; in some cases, a number of people are grouped together because of some common characteristics, and discussed in sequence in a single chapter.
This assignment offers you five different chapters of approximately equal length to choose among, and asks you to do the following:
1) Prepare a two-page summary of the chapter text, focusing on the sequence of major events in the lives of each person (prepare this first -- it will help you clarify the basic structure of your chapter)
2) Write an analysis that addresses appropriate questions from the following list:
You may choose any of the following chapters, selected from Burton Watson's partial translation: Records of the Grand Historian, volumes 1-2 (available in pdf files through Oncourse >> Resources >> Paper Project Readings):
You will encounter many more person and place names than you will recognize. You need attend only to the most important. In some cases, figures are referred to in multiple ways; for example, the Han founder may be referred to as "the governor of Pei," "the king of Han," or Gaozu, depending on the period under discussion.
Certain sections of the online readings will be relevant to these chapters of the Shiji. Sections of particular importance include: "The Rise of the Han," "The Reigns of the Early Han Emperors," "The Reign of Wu-di," and "The Fortunes of Confucianism."
Papers should be written with appropriate attention to vocabulary, syntax, and formal style. Bibliographies do not need to be included unless you cite sources beyond the Shiji chapter you select and online course text material.
Consult the Writing Guide on this website; it provides standards for form. (The guide is meant for you to consult to check that you're on track; it's long and dull to read through and you don't need to.) Writing style and formal presentation will be a component of the grade for this paper; if you submit a paper with many errors of grammar, sloppy word choice, and so forth, I'll take that into account.
This paper is due Friday, December 7, uploaded through Oncourse.