The final project for this course is the creation of an 8–10-page research paper that will incorporate both primary (historical) sources and secondary (scholarly) sources. The primary goal of History 301 is for students to learn more about the cultures of Japan, China, India, and Africa, while examining the ways in which those cultures interacted with the Western world. You will take a closer look at this mission by focusing on a key event or time period in history during which a person, group, army, or explorer caused Eastern and Western ideas to come together. Topic suggestions for your paper can be found in the sections below. You may use one of those directly or as inspiration for a different topic.
The purpose of this assignment is multi-layered. It encourages you to make connections among the themes of different modules in the course in a more focused historical moment. By incorporating primary and secondary sources, you will develop further abilities to synthesize complex ideas based on logical deduction and reasoned interpretation of existing course materials. Furthermore, you will hone your ability to locate refined and reliable commentary by judging each potential source and writing about it in a professional written voice.
The project is divided into three milestones, which will be submitted at various points throughout the course to scaffold learning and ensure quality final submissions. These milestones will be submitted in Modules One, Three, and Five. The final paper will be submitted during Module Seven.
In this assignment, you will demonstrate your mastery of the following course outcomes:
Demonstrate an advanced level knowledge of the development of cultural traditions in the non-Western world(KNOWLEDGE)
Critically analyze ideas from both primary and secondary sources (CRITICAL AND CREATIVE THINKING)
Develop arguments based upon primary and secondary sources and articulate those ideas in the written and spoken word (COMMUNICATION)
Feel free to propose and develop your own idea (upon instructor approval) or to use one of the following:
Influences of African kingdoms on the Greco-Roman empires
A cultural comparison of explorers Zheng He and Christopher Columbus and their travels to the New World
The observations of Marco Polo in his famous journey East
The journey of Jesuit priests throughout Asia
o A narrow topic might trace Jesuit priests specifically in India, China, or Japan and investigate the consequences of their arrival.
Compare and contrast Japanese religious ideals in the sixteenth century: Shinto, Buddhism, and Catholicism.
Akbar’s Din-i-Ilahi (the Indian Emperor’s “Divine Faith” built out of the beliefs of multiple Eastern and Western religions)
Compare and contrast the Tang and Song dynasties of China with the Italian Renaissance through historical themes (art, science, technology, etc.).
The Mughal Empire and the British Empire
o A narrow topic might trace the cause of the British takeover of India, the implementation of British legal systems, the use of Indian Parsi and
Sepoy in administering the British Empire, or the adoption of a parliamentary system following the Indian independence.
The role of Western people and ideas during the Opium Wars or the Taiping Rebellion in China
The European “Scramble for Africa”
o A narrow topic might select a single African colony and investigate the changes that occurred under European imperialism.
The development of a Japanese–German partnership during World War II
The relationship between India and Japan following decolonization after World War II
The cultural differences between East and West are so significant that one might assume there has been very little interaction among these cultures in history.
However, these groups have not been isolated from each other. Examples of Western visitors to China, Japan, India, and Africa are found throughout history. The consequences of these interactions reveal some of the underlying causes of cultural differences among these areas that still exist today. How did members of these areas react to ideas, institutions, and the cultural ideals during moments of historical interaction? Select one example of interacting cultures in history and explore how individuals or groups reacted to the exchange of ideas. Ultimately, how have moments of interaction changed these civilizations?
The creation of this research paper will include the following critical elements upon which your grade will be based. Be sure to pay close attention to these elements.
Specifically, the following critical elements must be addressed in your final paper:
Include an arguable thesis statement. The thesis statement should be well-phrased and set up the natural organization of the paper. The thesis
statement should be included in the introduction paragraph of your paper. The thesis statement is the argument you are supporting throughout the
paper with scholarly evidence.
Place the chosen culture into a historical context through the inclusion of historical information regarding the country, religion, civilization, time period, dynasties or kingdoms, primary people involved, and any other relevant information.
Your paper must compare Western and Eastern elements for the chosen topic, such as elements from Japan, China, India, Africa, or a combination of
those AND an element (an explorer, an idea, a religion, an interaction, an empire, etc.) from Western civilization. Discussion of the comparative elements from the two regions should be throughout the paper to provide a comprehensive comparison.
Analyze how members of your chosen topic react to ideas, institutions, and the cultural ideals during moments of historical interaction. Consider how the individuals or groups reacted to the exchange of ideas and how the interaction changed the civilization.
You should analyze scholarly evidence to include in your paper that fully supports your thesis statement. You should include at least four primary sources and four secondary sources. Scholarly evidence can be included as specific examples, quotes, detail, events, or statistics to support the argument of the paper.
Conclude with an analysis of the consequences of these interactions that considers how the cultural exchanges benefited both groups and are evident in the current day.
Milestone One: Topic Proposal
In Module One, you will submit your topic proposal. Review the suggested topics and take some time to explore different topics before making a final decision.
The topic proposal should include two full paragraphs: one paragraph explaining the topic itself, and a second paragraph containing ideas for exploring that topic in a way that satisfies the paper requirements. For example, your topic may be the British Empire. The primary paragraph would provide information about the British Empire’s presence in Asia, and the second paragraph would explain how this topic would be explored thematically, in order to satisfy the requirements of the assignment. You will include a research question or potential thesis statement in your topic proposal. This statement should be arguable, as a thesis statement willset up a paper to allow for someone to argue against its basic premise. Avoid sentences that are mere observations. This milestone is graded with
the Milestone One Rubric.
Milestone Two: Annotated Bibliography
In Module Three, you will submit your annotated bibliography. Begin the annotated bibliography with a statement of your argument. The sources that follow must include at least two primary sources and three secondary sources. You will include at least four primary sources and four secondary sources in your final project. No general website sources should be used. Your textbook does not count as one of these sources. For assistance in finding reliable scholarly and primary sources, please use the Guide to Research document found in Modules One and Three. Each assignment will need to be listed using the Chicago-style citation
This milestone is graded with the Milestone Two Rubric.
Milestone Three: Rough Draft
In Module Five, you will submit your rough draft. The rough draft should include as much of the completed paper as possible. The rough draft must be 5–6 pages
in length (including references). All citations in the rough draft must be in Chicago-style footnotes with a bibliography on the final page. This milestone is graded with the Milestone Three Rubric.
Final Submission: Research Paper
In Module Seven, you will submit your final project. It should be a complete, polished artifact containing all of the critical elements of the final product. It should reflect the incorporation of feedback gained throughout the course. This submission will be graded with the Final Project Rubric.