Posted: March 24th, 2015
• Notice that the essay is open-book and open-note.
• There is no time limit for writing the essay. Be sure to consult your notes as well as the readings as you prepare your essays.
• Prepare an outline, write a draft, let it sit for awhile, and then complete the final version before proofreading, editing, and rewriting.
• Note that worst case scenarios arise as the essay progresses. Computing systems fail regularly; protect your work by making backups as you proceed.
• Note too that these questions involve a great deal of material; you could write a book on any one of them. Your job is not to fill two pages with the first ideas that pop into your head but to answer the questions as thoroughly and comprehensively as possible and then refine and perfect your sentences until your ideas are expressed in just two pages. It is much more challenging to write a good two-page essay than a mediocre six-page essay. As you write and rewrite, cut dead wood in the writing rather than the good ideas in order to make everything fit.
• Any time a question asks “Which is better?” you should identify the standard on which you base your judgment. One who values security will likely answer differently than one who enjoys unrestricted opportunity. Do not assume that the reader automatically shares your assumptions about what constitutes “good” or “bad.”
First, select one question from the list A: Political/Economic Questions and one question from list B: Social/Cultural Questions below (two questions total)
A: Political/Economic Questions
1. Compare and contrast the alliance-based system of the Shang, the feudal system of the Zhou (Chou), the open system of the Warring States, and the centralist system of the Qin (Ch’in). What advantages and disadvantages might each have?
2. Trace the development of “China” through the Han Dynasty. How did “China” come to produce a powerful centralized system—as seen in the Han—from a wide smattering of primitive tribes in the Neolithic era?
B: Social/Cultural Questions
1. Chinese dynasties changed dramatically over time yet shared striking similarities as well. What various elements of Shang society can also be found in the Qin (Ch’in)? What elements disappeared?
2. Using occasional excerpts from the Analects of Confucius and the Tao-te ching discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the Legalist, Confucian, and Taoist (Daoist) systems. Which of the three systems would you rather live under, and why? Why not the others?
Second, identify your essays by placing the list letter and question number at the top (for example, A2, B1)……..
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