Length: 7-10 typed pages (12 pt font, double spaced), not including a Works Cited Page
Due: Submit through Canvas by 11:59 pm on 6/4/21
Why write a paper?
The purpose of the paper is to use a case study of a group of people (or person) in a particular place doing some sort of popular religious practice, that will help to address a broader problem, a debate or issue about popular religious practices and their role in Chinese and other societies. Keep in mind that the people, place, practice, and problem on which you focus do not have to be specifically mentioned in the syllabus, but you should strive to define each of these as narrowly and specifically as possible.
Remember that while your proposal focused on the significance and viability of your question, now your final paper will focus on supporting your thesis as the most likely (but not the only possible) answer to your question and explaining how this answer advances our understanding of one or more issues in Chinese popular religion.
Elements of the Paper
Writing is an art, not a science. Thus, there is no specific format to follow, but a good paper will contain all of the elements below in a logical and readable flow.
Final Paper is not a title. Please give your paper a name that (1) will get the readers attention and make them want to keep reading and (2) give them some idea of what it is about. Often, these two elements are separated by a colon. For example, The Rites are Wrong: Devaluation of Ritual among Confucian Revivalists in Boston, MA.
Background Information/Literature review
You do not need to explain all of Chinese history or the general background of the religious tradition with which your question is associated. But you should provide enough relevant background to your specific case study for the reader to understand how it helps us understand a broader problem in Chinese religious life. In doing so, you should briefly describe similar questions asked and research done by other scholars and relate your own question to their work.
For example, Sangren argues that Chinese female deities represent ‘the contradictory demands, roles, and expectations confronting women in the culture of Chinese domestic life (5). Huang et al show that women have become powerful leaders in Buddhist and Taoist monasteries and civil society organizations, but such commitments often involve renouncing family life or otherwise reaffirming patriarchal values (118-119). Thus, I will be examining the domestic lives of Guan Yin spirit mediums who are also mothers in contemporary Singapore in order to determine how they relate to patriarchal traditions.
Note: I refer to class sources for convenience. You should find sources more specifically related to your specific practice and problem (and perhaps your place and people as well).
Your question should be debatable, that is, there is no definitive right’ answer, so your thesis will be what you believe to be the most likely answer to it. If you can only think of one potential answer that a reasonable person would believe, then your question is not debatable. You might find it useful to introduce and refute counterarguments (other potential answers to your question), but you are not required to do so. Just make sure to clearly state your thesis, ideally in the introduction to your paper.
Each paragraph should center around a main idea relevant to your thesis that you introduce in a topic sentence. There is no ideal number of paragraphs, but in general, shorter and more focused paragraphs are easier to read, so try to keep them to around one half to three quarters of a page in length. Remember to use topic sentences and transitions to lead the reader through your thinking.
Your paper should use at least 5 academic sources relevant to your topic to support your thesis and relate it to what other scholars have argued. Keep in mind that for sources to be relevant, not all of the Ps have to match. For example, you might relate recent immigrants worshipping at a San Francisco Guan Yin temple to similar communities in other Chinatowns around the world, or other religious organizations popular with Chinese immigrants in the US, or other studies that focus on the same problem as your question.
For the most part, you will rely on peer-reviewed, academic sources, but you can also cite primary sources like religious texts, firsthand accounts of participants, or journalistic descriptions, but keep in mind these do not count toward your minimum of 5 academic sources.
if any, direct quotations. Instead, you should paraphrase (and cite!) background information from your sources, and more importantly, summarize arguments scholars have made about your topic and explain how your own question relates to their work and/or how their work can help answer your question. In order to demonstrate an understanding of the subject, you must reference a minimum of three peer-reviewed, academic sources. It is expected that you will have more on the final paper.
Please, please, please remember to properly cite ALL the information that you get from sources by authors last name and page number, whether it is a direct quote or paraphrased.
Tie everything together with a compelling statement of why your thesis matters and how it helps us to understand Chinese societies and the role(s) of popular religious practices more broadly. This should go beyond restating your thesis and summarizing evidence to suggest broader implications of your thesis. Dont be modest and understate your point here; make the reader feel they have read something important and worthwhile.
List all sources cited in alphabetical order starting with the authors last name. You may list sources in AAA, Chicago, MLA, or APA style as long as in text citations can be traced to the works cited page, which contains all the publication information necessary to find the source.