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.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Confucius and the World—Fifty Analects Assignment

On this date on Round and Square's History 
[a] Confucian RL
Fifty Analects
HIST 150
Spring 2017
Now that you have read six different translations of Confucius's Analects, and studied a range of books about the Analects and the surrounding Confucian tradition, your "job" is to choose fifty (50) passages in the text. Really think about it (them), and choose wisely. You will be "living" with those passages for the remainder of the course.

Type them out in a word document. No matter what form you choose (see below), you must write the chapter (juan) and number from the Analects in the following manner: "2.1". Do not write it in any other way (2,1, 2-1, j.2/1, or anything else).

You may choose any of the following three options for your main text.
     [a] Write down the Chinese characters
         [2.1] 為政以德譬如北辰居其所而眾星共之  (put in punctuation only if you wish to).
     [b] Write down an English translation (all fifty) from "one" translator (e.g. Annping Chin)
     [c] Write down your "favorite" English translation from any author you choose.

Once you have all fifty passages in a Word file, write a brief essay (500-1000 words) that "reviews" your fifty choices. What themes can you find in your choices? Why did you choose them? Write a brief review essay of your choices.  
***  ***
Due in my office (MI 111)
by 5:00 p.m on Sunday, April 16, 2017.
[b] Relentless RF
Add the word count and your Beloit College mailbox number to all papers!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

China, East Asia, and the Pacific World—Source Paper II (Advice)

On this date in Round and Square history

[a] Gateway RF
There are two posts in this assignment (the "prompt" and "advice").
Click below for the other section of this assignment:
Writing From Sources A                    Writing From Sources B
Chinese History and Culture 
History 210
Autumn 2017

Writing From Sources
Stylistic Matters 
*Use Chicago-style footnotes or endnotes for this paper (check my style sheet for instructions, and make sure that you know how to use them before you begin writing).
[b] Examination Cubicle RF

*Although you will list your sources at the beginning of your paper, please include a bibliography that includes the full reference to all of those sources, as well as any others you might use for a quotation or paraphrase in your paper.

*The sources at the beginning of your paper should be written in an effective “shorthand” that makes it apparent to the reader what you will be analyzing. The full source reference will appear in the bibliography (see above), as well as in any footnotes you might use. For example, you should note the chapter or name of the source at the beginning of the paper—just enough to get your point across (e.g. Susan Mann, “Jining 1893-1895). Please refer to the examples on pages two and three.

*Use accurate (and perfect) Chicago-style citation, and use this paper as an opportunity to display your skills. Many websites have clear and accurate footnote/endnote descriptions. Use them to make sure that everything except “citation challenges” are perfect. One of the clearest explanations is on the Chicago Manual of Style Online website. Please note, however, that I insist that you use the “N” and “B” examples; ignore (for our class) “T” and “R.” In short, I do not want in-text citations. Use either footnotes (bottom of the page) or endnotes (end of the document), and, now that you have been practicing all semester, show your skills.


Examples of Footnote and Endnote Formats
Items listed in the bibliography at the end of the paper (note that the last name comes first here).
          Ebrey, Patricia. Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook. New York: Free Press, 

          Mair, Victor. The Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature. New 
          York: Columbia University Press, 1994.

Footnotes or endnotes (first reference to a book; note that the page number follows the last comma—there is no need anymore for use of “p.” for “page”). Note the first name/last name format—which is not the same as that used in the bibliography.

          Patricia Ebrey, Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook (New York: Free Press, 
          1993), 154.

          Victor Mair, The Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature (New 
          York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 617.

Subsequent references to books (there will be many of these for Mair and Ebrey; pay attention to this “shorthand” style). Example:
          Ebrey, Chinese Civilization, 277.
          Mair, The Columbia Anthology, 725.
          Ebrey, Chinese Civilization, 3. 
[c] Working RF

Reading the Sources 
This assignment is for a source analysis paper, not a traditional persuasive essay. It is meant to give you a hands-on experience in working with historical sources. It is “artificial” in the sense that you will not be working in an archive, but it is no less serious for that. My best advice is for you to make separate copies (this may cost a few dollars, but will be worth it) of each of the readings you choose.Yes, that means I am encouraging you to go to a copy machine (or a scanner) and make a copy of the poems in Mair (or the texts in Ebrey) with which you plan to work. It also means that you should make a copy of the fifteen-page section in The Talented Women of the Zhang Family that you have selected (these are, of course, just examples).

When you have finished your scanning (then printing) or your copying, you will have a bundle of texts in front of you—an artificial and miniature archive. Now is the time to go back through them, underlining and marking key points that will help you to form an argument. This is different from reading in preparation for class, when you should be trying to understand the documents in the wider context of our class discussions. You will now be reading them to help you construct an argument about a theme in Chinese history and/or culture. As you make your notes on the individual texts (some primary, some secondary), it helps to have a blank sheet close by, on which you can start to sketch an outline for the developing argument.

Give yourself enough time for this. The ideal situation is to choose (and copy) your sources well before you write the paper, which leaves you time to work through the texts and their implications during low-pressure study periods of thirty minutes here and there, long before the due date is imminent. Pressure is overrated.
[d] Writing RF

Writing the Paper
Audience, audience, audience.  As you begin to write your paper, have a clear audience in mind. Think of your essay as a way of both arguing a point and patiently explaining the historical and cultural themes that the texts raise. The best way to maintain the correct perspective on audience is to imagine a small group of Beloit College professors who know little about China (imagine Steve Wright, Donna Oliver, Patrick Polley, and Pablo Torals). They are all very intelligent, and know how to construct a superior argument. They need you to teach them about China.  To the extent that you remember this, you will excel; to the extent that you fall into the habit of writing just for your professor, you will err. Remember this.

Your paper should lead the readers through the texts and through an argument about Chinese history or culture.  Let us take the following example. You choose to write a paper about women and marriage in China, selecting an array of sources that includes Ban Zhao’s advice for women, “Women and the Problems they Create,” and several poems from Mair. You also choose a passage each from the books by Mann and Spence (secondary sources of, say, ten pages each dealing with women’s education and women writers, respectively). You read the texts carefully, and, as you begin writing your paper, you maintain a balance between explaining the genres and cultural frameworks of your texts and making your key point (your thesis). The thesis remains important. Let us say that your thesis is that women had significant room for creative social and even literary action (agency) within the traditional patriarchal household, and that the Western “narrative” about women’s life in China treats them (mistakenly) as merely passive figures—pawns among powerful men. If you were writing a traditional paper, you would state that clearly in the first few paragraphs and then find texts to support your point. It is an important skill to develop, and an ability to frame a thesis will help in this assignment.
[e] Foreground (background) RF

A source analysis paper such as this one is different, though. Let us say that your thesis statement is the same as above (women have “agency”). Your paper will develop slightly differently as you make your argument. You will give a great deal of context from your sources.  Indeed, your sources will figure far more richly in your paper than in most traditional persuasive essays. You will spend time showing, for example, how Ban Zhao’s admonitions for women work as a narrative form—how she proceeds in a contrapuntal manner that gives context to her seemingly “no exceptions” rhetoric. You will break down the verbal (and possibly even rhyme) schemes of the poems you analyze. You will, in short, open the world of the texts to your readers as little worlds unto themselves. This kind of paper argues a thesis and teaches cultural context. Your mission will be both persuasive and illustrative. You will persuade through your argument about female “agency;” you will illustrate (and instruct) by placing your texts in an interpretive universe that helps your readers—who don’t know Chinese culture well—see how the argument fits Chinese culture.

This kind of paper can be a joy to write, at least once you develop familiarity with it.  It is a necessary skill, too, because writing for audiences unfamiliar with your topic is central to academic life.  The source analysis paper encourages you to take the persuasive essay form you learned in junior high school and high school and give it the kind of cultural and historical nuance that we have developed in our class discussions.  You might want to think of your explanations of how the sources “work” as a kind of “thickening” of your argument.  We will discuss this in class, but the key ideas to remember are: sources, audience, argument, and context.

There are two posts in this assignment (the "prompt" and "advice").
Click below for the other section of this assignment:
Writing From Sources A                    Writing From Sources B
[f] Chatty RF

Monday, March 27, 2017

China, East Asia, and the World—Source Paper I (Prompts)

On this day in Round and Square history
 27 March 2016—
[a] Library...of Congress RF
There are two posts in this assignment (the "prompt" and "advice").
Click below for the other section of this assignment:
Writing From Sources A                    Writing From Sources B
Chinese History and Culture 
History 210
Spring 2017

Writing From Sources
Read the following assignment carefully and reflect for a few moments upon what historians really do when writing about the past—blending the sources and their analyses into readable and intelligent essay form. Then, using the knowledge you have gained through reading your assignments, choose six to twelve documents that revolve around a general theme that interests you, and which you would like to pursue further.  Once you have chosen your topic and sources, please e-mail this information to me (see below).  The deadline for the preliminary work is Wednesday, April 12, but I encourage you to send it earlier.  Finally, write a medium-length (3,000-word) essay from the sources you have chosen.  The paper is due as an e-mail attachment (.pdf file) by 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 23. Make sure it is on-time.
As you write your historical source analysis, imagine that you are writing for intelligent people who know little about China, and that your task is to convey an honest, interesting picture of some aspect of Chinese social, cultural, political, or intellectual life during the periods we have studied.  It might help to think of this as an extended reflection on six (or more) different sources, in which you write confidently and intelligently about your understanding of the themes in the documents.  Your main focus is the documents, and I encourage you to quote from them.  You should use the knowledge you have gained from general reading and lectures to set the historical context, but you will be judged mostly on your ability to grasp themes in and between the documents you have chosen.

Your balance of primary and secondary sources should be about 70% primary and 30% secondary. Engagement with both primary and secondary sources at the same time is a very important historiographical skill that requires practice. This assignment gives you an opportunity to work on the balance all historians must seek in their reading and their writing.

Just to get you thinking about possibilities, I have included some possible categories.  They are only intended as guides. You will need to refine them as you think about your paper.  These categories are intentionally broad, in order to encourage you to think about a wide variety of readings in your course books and supporting materials.  Your actual topic should be a good deal more focused.

            * women, gender relations, family...
            * rebellion, social disorder, war, banditry, famine
            * poverty, peasants, agriculture, tenancy
            * outcasts, rebels, “barbarians"
            * family life, social organization
            * bureaucracy, taxation, land ownership, government work
            * intellectuals, examinations, ruling
            * religion, spirits, ancestors, ghosts, “heaven....
            * myths, historical writing, and other narrative prose
[c] Book Buy RF

Remember that choosing appropriate sources is part of the assignment.  Part of the skill I am looking for is the ability to choose appropriate sources.  The better you know your readings, the better you will do when you choose from among your many class readings.

Your paper should be between 3,000 and 3,500 words, or approximately ten to twelve pages.  There is usually little to gain by exceeding 3,500 words.  If you do, you are likely writing for reasons other than a good grade.  This is fine, but not required.  If you “need” to write a longer paper (if you are compelled to write thirty pages on Qing bureaucratic culture, for example), please feel free to do so.  I will read every word, and comment accordingly.  3,500 well-written and well-argued words will put you in “95+” territory, though, so consider your other classes before using this assignment to begin your doctoral dissertation.
[d] Historical Source RF

The real problem lies with “minimalism.” I urge you to put enough time into your paper so that you write more than a handful of pages. Papers under 2,500 words almost always lack development and serious analysis of the sources. I admire efficiency when I see it, but don’t assume that it courses through your authorial veins. Papa Hemingway might write a beautiful 1,783 word masterpiece called “The Aged Literatus and the Yangzi” or “Goodbye to Munitions.” You’re not Hemingway…yet. Write 3,000+ words.

You may consult any other books you deem necessary, but your essay will be judged on your ability to write directly from the sources you have chosen.  While it is acceptable to choose a source or two from beyond our course materials, my intention is for you to make the most of the detailed syllabus we have studied in this class.  This assignment is meant to judge your ability to use primary and secondary sources.  It is not meant to be the final word on the subject!
***  ***
Your paper should have a title at the top of the page, followed by a “shorthand” list of your sources.  From there, space down twice and start your essay...(double-space the essay itself).  Examples

A Week in a Country Jail:
Peasant Uprisings, Social Disorder, and Punishment in Chinese Society
Thomas T. Hall
31 January 1970
          Ebrey: 51-53               Penal Servitude in Qin Law
          Ebrey: 271-279           The Yangzhou Massacre
          Ebrey: 318-322           Mid-Century Rebels
          Mair: 190-191             On the Cicada: In Prison
          Mair: 452                    They Fought South of the Wall
(Add several appropriate secondary sources, such as sections from The Gate of Heavenly Peace, History in Three Keys, or other materials.

Salt Miner’s Daughter:
Family, Gender and Social Relations in Medieval and Early-Modern China
Loretta Lynn
19 December 1970
          Ebrey: 42-46               Social Rituals
          Ebrey: 64-68               The Classic of Filial Piety
          Ebrey: 69-71               Wang Fu on Friendship and Getting Ahead
          Ebrey: 238-244           Family Instructions
          Mair: 264-265             Written on Seeing the Flowers...
          Mair: 274-275             Ballad of Selling a Child
(Add several appropriate secondary sources, such as sections from The Talented Women of the Zhang Family, Producing Guanxi, or other materials.

Heaven Says Hello:
Cosmology, Religion, and Popular Belief in Chinese Society
Sonny James
17 August 1968
          Ebrey: 77-79               Yin and Yang in Medical Theory
          Ebrey: 105-108           Tales of Ghosts and Demons
          Ebrey: 120-122           The Errors of Geomancy
          Ebrey: 280-281           Proverbs About Heaven
          Mair: 226-227             Presented to the Taoist Paragon Mao
          Mair: 371-386             Heavenly Questions
(Add several appropriate secondary sources, such as sections from The Gate of Heavenly Peace, Soulstealers, or other materials.

Come Live With Me:
Barbarians, "Otherness," and Foreign Beliefs in the 
Middle Kingdom and its Neighbors
Roy Clark
12 May 1973
          Ebrey: 54-56               The World Beyond China
          Ebrey: 97-104             Buddhist Doctrines and Practices
          Ebrey: 109-111            Cultural Differences Between North and South
          Ebrey: 169-171           Longing to Recover the North
          Mair: 209-213             Journey North
          Mair: 274                    A Fan From Korea
(Add several appropriate secondary sources, such as sections from The Gate of Heavenly Peace, The History in Three Keys, or other materials.

Somewhere Between Right and Wrong:
Education, Moral Learning, and Proper Conduct in Early China
Earl Thomas Conley
18 December 1982
          Ebrey: 38-41               Two Avengers
          Ebrey: 91-96               Ge Hong's Autobiography
          Ebrey: 128-131           The Examination System
          Ebrey: 195-199           A Schedule for Learning
          Mair: 254                    Don't Read Books!
          Mair: 580-589             An Explication of "Progress in Learning"
(Add several appropriate secondary sources, such as sections from The Talented Women of the Zhang Family, In One’s Own Shadow, or other materials.
***  ***
HIST 210—Chinese History and Culture
Paper Assignment
Source Paper Checklist

______ Read the assignment carefully and think about possible paper topics.  E-mail (or stop by and ask) me any questions you may have about the assignment.

______ Choose eight-to-twelve sources from an array of syllabus materials.  

______Create a provisional title for your paper and e-mail it to me with the sources in the "examples" form listed above. DUE NO LATER THAN Wednesday, April 12 by 10:00 p.m. 
[e] Representation RF

______ Carefully (re-)read your chosen sources in light of what you have learned from the course thus far.  
______Write an essay about Chinese society, culture, or politics by relying primarily on those sources you have chosen.  Your "audience" should be very intelligent people (such as your professors in other classes) who know relatively little about China.  You are the expert, but you must convey the cultural and historical details you have learned to someone who knows a good deal about academic argument.

For this assignment ONLY, you should not make a separate title page.  Center your title at the top of the first page, followed by your sources—exactly as shown in the examples on pages two and three.  Begin your essay immediately below.  Double-space the text of the essay.  Finally, put the word count number at the very end of the paper.

There are two posts in this assignment (the "prompt" and "advice").
Click below for the other section of this assignment:
Writing From Sources A                    Writing From Sources B
[f] Nooks and Crannies RF
Due as a hard copy in my office (MI 111)
by 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 23.

China's Lunar Calendar 2017 03-27

Click here for the introduction to the Round and Square series "Calendars and Almanacs"  
⇦⇦⇦⇦⇦ From right to left: ⇦⇦⇦⇦⇦
This is one in a never-ending series—following the movements of the calendar—in Round and Square perpetuity. It is today's date in the Chinese lunar calendar, along with basic translation and minimal interpretation. Unless you have been studying lunar calendars (and Chinese culture) for many years, you will likely find yourself asking "what does that mean?" I would caution that "it" doesn't "mean" any one thing. There are clusters of meaning, and they require patience, reflection, careful reading, and, well, a little bit of ethnographic fieldwork. The best place to start is the introduction to "Calendars and Almanacs" on this blog. I teach a semester-long course on this topic and, trust me, it takes a little bit of time to get used to the lunar calendar. Some of the material is readily accessible; some of it is impenetrable, even after many years.

As time goes on, I will link all of the sections to lengthy background essays. This will take a while. In the meantime, take a look, read the introduction, and think about all of the questions that emerge from even a quick look at the calendar.
Section One
Solar Calendar Date
Second Month, Twenty-Seventh Day
Monday, March 27

Section Two
Beneficent Stars 
(top to bottom, right to left)
Generational Branch
Three Linkages
Engendered Vapor

Section Three
Auspicious Hours
(top to bottom, right to left
23:00-01:00 Auspicious
01:00-03:00 Auspicious
03:00-05:00 In-Between
05:00-07:00 Inauspicious

07:00-09:00 Auspicious
9:00-11:00 Auspicious
11:00-13:00 In-Between
13:00-15:00 Inauspicious

15:00-17:00 Auspicious
17:00-19:00 Inauspicious
19:00-21:00 Auspicious
21:00-23:00 In-Between

The hours above are for Hong Kong. It is up to you if you want to recalibrate or to assume that the cyclicality of the calendar "covers" the rest of the world. This is a greater interpretive challenge than you might think.

Section Four 
Activities to Avoid  
(top-to-bottom; right to left) 

Lawsuits and Litigation
New Boats
Entering Water

Section Five 
Cosmological Information

Thirtieth Day (Second Lunar Month)
Cyclical day: guichou (50/60)
Phase (element): Wood
Constellation: Danger (12/28)
"Day Personality" Cycle: Open (11/12)

Section Six
Appropriate Activities
and Miscellaneous Information  
(top-to-bottom; right to left)

Appropriate Activities
Venerating Ancestors
Inquiring-into Fortune
Entering Study
Meeting Friends
Going Out (and about)
Marriage Engagements
Cutting-out Clothing
Moving Residences
Physician Visits
Repairing and Constructing
Raising Beams
Stove Work   

Earth Duffel 

Baleful Astral Influences
Water Scar
Upper Amputee
Five Voids

Section Seven
Inauspicious Stars
白 林
White, Copse

Section Eight
Miscellaneous Activities

厠 牀
Toilet, Bed