East Asian Thought
Final Paper

The final assignment will be a 12-15 page research paper (3000 word minimum, due March 13 or March 16) on one of the main figures or traditions studied during the term. Your paper should include biographical and other contextual information about the thinker or tradition in question, but it must also deal with the ideas of the thinker or tradition, as well as the significance of these ideas within the broader history of the East Asian intellectual tradition. In order to help you develop an appropriate thesis for your paper, you will be required to submit a 1 page (250 word minimum) paper describing your final paper topic, together with an annotated bibliography of the sources that you intend to use (due on February 23). The topic paper should identify the issue that you wish to explore in the final paper and explain how you intend to pursue your research; you may not have a fully developed thesis at this point, but the topic paper will help you define a particular question that you hope to answer through your research, which will ultimately evolve into your thesis. The annotated bibliography should be divided into two sections: one for “primary sources” and another for “secondary sources”; altogether, your bibliography must include a minimum of seven “academic” sources (i.e. peer-reviewed books and journals, as opposed to non-academic websites), at least two of which must be “primary sources.” Each source should be followed by an “annotation” that summarizes the source, assesses its reliability, and reflects on its relevance to the project. To give you some ideas to get you started, I’ve provided a list of “Potential Paper Topics” later in this handout; feel free to revise any of these topics however you see fit, or develop a topic of your own choosing. The final paper must include appropriate citations for both direct and indirect quotations using “Chicago Style” footnotes, as well as a final bibliography (without annotations). Since I take plagiarism very seriously, I strongly recommend that you become familiar with the boundaries of academic honesty and don’t attempt to transgress them. If you have any doubts regarding what does or does not constitute plagiarism, please refer to the college’s plagiarism policy. Essays that contain significant instances of plagiarism will receive a 0 and be reported to the Office of Academic Affairs. Since this paper is worth a significant portion of your final grade (35% for the paper plus 10% for the Topic Paper/Annotated Bibliography), you should expect to devote a considerable amount of time to this project; towards this end, I will be happy to meet with you individually to provide further guidance at any stage in the process.