Here are several requirements for the midterm paper, in addition to those articulated in the appendixes to the syllabus (also added below):
It needs to be submitted in the class. Delayed submission without a compelling reason will be subjected to penalty.
length: 5-6 pages, double spaced, size: 12 points;
references: 6 references at least. If on-line sources are used, you shall limit them to three items (a book/article first published in a traditional way [i.e. on paper] before it was made available online may be counted as a non-online source).
You may write on a topic from the list proposed by me (see below). In case you wish to write on a topic of your choice, you need to submit an outline to me and get my approval before starting to work on it.
Suggested Topics for the Mid-term Essay (Asia 382: Chinese Buddhism)
1) Elaborate on two essential teachings preached by the Buddha Sakyamuni;
2) From Prajna to Madhyamika: Buddhist understanding of Emptiness (Sunyata)
3) Discuss the blending of Neo-Taoism and Prajna Buddhism under the Eastern Chin Dynasty in terms of politico-social background, and intellectual milieu.
4) Analyze Madhyamika doctrine of “two-tired truth” in connection with its theory on sunyata.
5) Compare Kumarajiva’s two chief disciples: Seng-chao and Tao-sheng (their doctrinal innovations and historical status)
6) The Madhyamika criticism of human language and conceptualization
7) Cooperation and Competition: Buddhism and Taoism in China of the First Five Centuries
8) Analyze the Social, Cultural and Philosophical Sources behind the Confucian-Buddhist Conflicts during the First Five Centuries
9) Discuss Buddhism’s Social functions in the Modern Western Society: A Case-study of a Local Buddhist Temple in Vancouver
SUGGESTIONS FOR RESEARCH PAPER FORM:
(I) Style Issues of which you need to be aware before and in the course of preparing your Papers
Follow the advice in Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, revised by J. Grossman and A. Bennett (6th edition), except as modified below.
Prepare all papers on a computer. Save multiple backup copies of your work. Print a day early.
Organize your paper around a controlling idea or thesis, presented in a clear structure, usually corresponding to an introduction, a main body and a conclusion. For example, the first paragraph should identify the topic, state your thesis and indicate your approach. The subsequent paragraphs should develop arguments in support of the thesis according to the indicated approach, and the last paragraph should explain the significance of your thesis for better understanding the topic within a larger context or field of inquiry.
Avoid passive voice. Write with active verbs. Always say who does what to whom and how.
Use a good dictionary and thesaurus to select the best vocabulary to convey clearly your precise meaning. Do notuse abbreviations, contractions, slang, colloquial expressions or pejorative terms.
Be specific. Identify crucial people and events: give exact figures and dates. Avoid generalizations.
Explain all specialized terms, scholarly concepts, and/or foreign vocabulary. Try to avoid jargon entirely. Your roommate should be able to understand what each sentence means.
Proofread. Beware missing words, awkward transitions, and/or unclear antecedents.
Document allinformation (not just quotations, but also facts, dates, generally accepted interpretations, and scholarly opinions) by citing authoritative sources. Even information from class lectures must be documented.
Include a complete and accurate bibliography.
Do notuse a separate title page. Do not use binders or plastic covers. Staple the upper-left corner.
Place your name, course number, and date, single-spaced, in the upper-right corner of the first page. Place a concise title, which clearly indicates the topic and thesis of the paper, in the center of the first page, one line below the date and two lines above the first paragraph.
Number all pages after the first one.
Use a letter-quality printer, an easily readable font (12 point), and double space throughout (body, block quotations and documentation).
Do not right-justify the text. Do notbreak words with hyphens at the end of lines. A ragged right margin is easier to read.
Underline or italicize titles of monographs and periodicals, as well as foreign words. Donotplace quotation marks around foreign words. Avoid idiosyncratic underlining (for emphasis, etc.).
Avoid excessive capitalization; use lower case for technical terms, theories, doctrines.
Avoid lengthy quotations. Write in your own words and be concise. Every word must convey important information.