East Asian Thought
Midterm Paper

The midterm paper is a 4-5 page essay (1000 word minimum, due on February 9) exploring the historical significance of a “primary source” passage from the assigned readings on Daoism (Laozi and Zhuangzi), Legalism, or Huang-Lao that was not discussed in class (though you may use material that was discussed in class to elucidate the meaning of your chosen passage). Your paper should begin by quoting the passage that you wish to focus on (or just the relevant parts if it is too long to cite in its entirety). You should then provide an introduction in which you state your “thesis” (i.e. the main point that you hope to demonstrate in the body of the essay). Your exegesis of the passage should explain not only the meaning of the text as it relates to the fundamental principles of the tradition with which it is associated, but also how it contributed to that tradition’s response to the sociopolitical chaos that arose from the collapse of the Zhou feudal order during the Spring and Autumn (722-481 BCE) and Warring States (475-221 BCE) periods. Your argument should be supported through relevant quotes from both “primary” sources (i.e. the original writings of authors from the period in question) and at least four “secondary” sources (i.e. works that discuss various “primary” and “secondary” sources). All references — both direct quotations and indirect references to the ideas of another author — should be properly cited using “Chicago Style” footnotes.