From Round to Square (and back)

For The Emperor's Teacher, scroll down (↓) to "Topics." It's the management book that will rock the world (and break the vase, as you will see). Click or paste the following link for a recent profile of the project:

A new post appears every day at 12:05* (CDT). There's more, though. Take a look at the right-hand side of the page for over four years of material (2,000 posts and growing) from Seinfeld and country music to every single day of the Chinese lunar calendar...translated. Look here ↓ and explore a little. It will take you all the way down the page...from round to square (and back again).
*Occasionally I will leave a long post up for thirty-six hours, and post a shorter entry at noon the next day.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Assignments: Writing From Sources (Final Paper)

Click here for the introduction to the Round and Square series "Assignments" 

On this date on Round and Square's History 
[a] Closing Strong(ly) RF
Japan, East Asia, and the Pacific World
History 210
Final Paper:
Revision and Reinvention
The Basics 
Reflect upon the topic of your first paper, and reread the original assignment. Now reread your original paper and form a "revision and reinvention" strategy. Select more sources from the works available to you on the course syllabus (including your skimming of the Lu source reader), and then make a new source list with 12-15 total works on it. 

You may keep some of the sources from your original paper, but only a few—this paper is meant to emphasize Japanese history and culture after 1600 (the Tokugawa period and the Meiji, Taisho, Showa, and Heisei eras. Write a new title, list your new sources, and write a paper on the same general topic of your first paper, but one that is original and fresh. 

DO NOT cut and paste items from your original paper. Not only will the exercise fail, but it is much more work than just reinvisioning your subject. This is a new paper on a topic that you have been thinking about all semester. Write that new paper now. 

3,000 words. Due in my office (hard copy) by noon on Monday, May 2.

Review Essay
As always, a good way to approach the assignment is to write a “review essay.”  You have already read many essays in the New York Review of Books, and have seen a number of authorial strategies being employed. In other words, you have a few models (highly and moderately successful) in front of you. The basic idea for your own assignment is as follows. Walk your reader through the sources you have chosen. 

Distinguish between primary sources and secondary sources as you write. Above all, imagine that your audience is like a New York Review of Books audience—there is at least one "expert" reading, but your job is to connect with smart readers who know very little about Japanese history and culture. Make the connections (and don't just write for an audience of one professor).

Additional Notes
This assignment asks you to engage your chosen sources and to touch upon the broader themes that we have discussed in the course. It does not require you to do “research,” and substantial outside work will almost certainly be counter-productive. Background information is occasionally useful (and you may have some from previous reading or coursework), but do not make the mistake of providing so much “background” or books outside of our course that you don’t deal fully with the assignment itself. 
Plot out some of the themes and take notes to make sure you have dealt with the full range of possibilities in the materials. Your skills in spotting themes in the Lu source readings will pay off a great deal in this assignment, as will the general historical and cultural knowledge you have gained from your other sources and from class sessions. Other than the final exam, this is your last assignment this semester. Sprint to the finish line; don't let up.

[1] This assignment is meant to tie together much of the work you have done this semester. Just as you must do on weekly quizzes, be sure to use the full range of your “sources” in your interpretations. Strive to "master" the Japanese sources from Lu's reader, and then to integrate broader understandings from class discussion, Round and Square, and the materials we have encountered in the Great Courses lectures.

[2] Don’t forget that I will be evaluating this assignment with the assumption that you are trying to explain these matters to “intelligent non-specialists" (exactly the way that New York Review writers must.  That means that I do not want you to “skip” those portions that you know I know. I want you to explain them. I want you to be the expert who is explaining these matters to someone who does not know much about Japan, but is certainly able to follow a complex argument. Imagine, for example, that you are writing for your FYI professor, with moi looking over her shoulder
[3] Follow standard Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) citation form, and use the style sheet as you proceed. This is a “formal” paper, and the style sheet’s guidelines should be followed closely. You need to have perfect citation styles (not one error) for single author books and single author articles. You have been practicing for three months, now. No errors.

[4] There should be a short bibliography of sources (class books and any outside materials that you have consulted) at the end of your document.

[5] Good luck. There is more than enough material to write any number of essays. Choose several good points, scenes, or themes. Then write one.

Due by noon on Monday, May 2. (Put a hard copy outside my door). 
Use the word count feature of your software and put the word total at the bottom of the essay, e.g. “3,262 words.”
[e] Lotus not procrastinate...RF

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