FIRST ANALYTICAL PAPER DUE on 7 March 2019
This is an important assignment and it will be graded
“What Should I Do?”
• It is worth 75 points
• Length and Format: Two-page; 500-word maximum, 1” margins, 12
point type; Times New Roman typeface; Word count in the heading;
Page numbers in the upper right-hand corner
• Cover page is not necessary
• What you can use for this paper: primary and secondary sources
assigned before and on 7 March 2019, plus your textbook
• Use of outside materials will result in a significant reduction in your
• QUESTION: Can I use extra sources from the Atwill sourcebook?
• QUESTION: Can I use Wikipedia? What about Britannica?
• What kind of topics should I write on?
--You decide. But there is a list of themes to help you get started.
--These are assignments about making arguments and drawing
insights based on limited information contained in the course
• You may write on any theme of significance.
• Themes may involve:
(1) The historical significance of Canton in modern Chinese history:
from the Canton system to Sun Yat-sen
(2) Change and limitation of the Taiping Rebellion
(3) The impact of Qing’s reforms on its collapse
(4) The nature of the Qing’s multiethnic empire;
(5) tensions between Han Chinese and Manchu rulers;
(6) The impact of global changes on China’s imperial history;
(7)the fluid boundaries among rebels, reformers and revolutionaries;
(8) The incomplete transition of China from empire to nation-state.
• Take note that this list is not exhaustive, but you may find it useful.
“What Should I Do?” II
• Titles: Give the paper a title. A good title suggests an
--Some examples of bad titles: “Chinese History;” “Opium Wars;”
“Mao’s China;” “Chinese Warlords;” etc.
--Better titles: “Two sides of the same coin: the reason for the GMD
and CCP alliance and conflict;” “Old wine in new bottle: the
mentality of monarchists in Republican China,” etc.
• Citation: without citation you will need to re-submit the paper.
• Yet, formal footnotes are not necessary. Simply cite the source in
parentheses in the text. Examples: (Tanner Textbook, 146);(Atwill,
208); (Zarrow, xx); (Columbia Online Sourcebook, Name of the
Source, page of the PDF document, web link).
• QUESTION: I am paraphrasing the primary source. Do I need to cite?
• What about secondary sources (i.e. your textbook and lectures)?
Dang Right It Is Analytical!
• The Analytical Paper is your chance to use primary and secondary
sources to make an argument about history.
• It focuses narrowly on a few pieces of evidence, but should have a
• It is not descriptive, but explanatory, arguing from specific evidence
to general conclusions. Start from primary sources and work out.
• So where should I start?
--Primary sources—Topic/Theme—Research Question—Thesis
--Rather than starting with an idea, let something in the primary
sources suggest questions and the thesis to you.
• Secondary sources (the Tanner textbook, lectures, scholarly articles,
or the introductory material at the head of each primary source) will
be helpful to put these primary sources in context, but these
secondary sources will not be the focus of the paper.
Wang’s Four Rules for Historical Analysis
It’s all about sources, but they lie
Disaggregate people, geography, and concepts
From divergence to convergence
Making your thesis explanatory and original
Topics/Subjects versus Arguments/Theses
Example from history:
Topic: “Discrimination against Japanese Americans during World War II.”
Thesis: “Government officials allowed discrimination against Japanese
Americans not because it was in the nation’s interest but because it
provided a concrete enemy for people to focus on.”
Avoid value judgments and empty generalizations
• Communism is unethical.
• The reason for the Qing’s decline is primarily because of the rule of
Empress Dowager Cixi.
• Hong Xiuquan’s utopian land reform is impractical so that is why it
• Chiang Kai-shek is a better leader than Mao.
• The Boxers United in Righteousness are a bunch of illiterate and
xenophobic peasants and must be crushed.
Don’t quote out of the text’s original context!
• Now we are asked not only to pursue a small, an insignificant skill
(i.e. mathematics) but also honor foreigners as teachers. Since
foreigners are known for their treachery, it is extremely doubtful if
they will reveal to us all of their secrets.
--Woren, “Memorial Objecting to Western Learning” (Atwill, 3.12)
Dang Right It Is Analytical! II
• Be careful with the sources!
• A paper should have a clear thesis which is explanatory and original
• Avoid value judgments and empty generalizations which cannot be
proven with historical evidence
• Do not project past onto present or vice versa
• Paragraph construction
--The topic sentence of the first paragraph is your thesis statement
--Every paragraph should have an identifiable topic sentence
--Everything in a paragraph should relate to that topic sentence
• Make logical links between evidence and your thesis
• Write with clarity and specificity
--Passive voice leads to sloppy historical thinking
--Use simple past tense
--Write in the third person if possible
A Few More Things to Remember
Email cut-off date and time for questions and inquiries: 5 March 2019 at
I need only one electronic submission to the Blackboard
Plagiarism will not be tolerated (see section on Academic Integrity below).
For papers not conforming to the format guideline, there will be a fivepercent deduction per violation of these rules (i.e. use of a 10 point font
and .05 inch margins will result in a total ten-percent reduction (five
percent for each violation)).
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