History Critical thinking Assignment on Chinese Cultural Transmission


Additional Points re: Critical Bibliography/Research Project
For ARTS2663 Korea and Japan: Chinese Cultural
2020 T2
Note that the overarching guidelines for the Critical Bibliography/Research Project
are contained in the Course Outline. I emphasize that these are general guidelines:
roughly 1200 words, roughly 6 sources, roughly 200 words per source, etc., with a
total maximum of 1,500 words.
This is a specific assessment, aimed at helping you learn how to better structure an
argument and engage with critical thinking. And it is not an annotated bibliography.
So follow the directions as below.
You will read more than you necessarily focus on in the Critical Bibliography
(hereafter, CB) itself. (The relevance of this point is addressed below). I emphasize
the following four points:
First, your CB will have 3 part structure; see below.
Second, if you do not follow this basic structure/template, you will be marked down
very severely.
Third, you need to provide accurate citations for all direct quotations and paraphrases.
Given the length of this CB, you will need to paraphrase—that is use your own words,
to explain what someone else has said—for the most part, and be sparing with your
use of direct quotations. Therefore, you will reserve your use of direct quotations for
things that somebody said really well (and you cannot match) or things that are too
difficult to paraphrase. For something this size, about 100 words at most should be
direct quotations. Part of the research is your ability to paraphrase.
Fourth, your CB should be well written, with clear sentences and proper punctuation;
make things short and clear, and don’t try to be fancy.
(I) Title/topic + brief introduction which contextualizes your research and gives a
clear thesis/statement of the topic of your research. The point here is to highlight your
research question and what relevance it has to the course, and moreover, to do so
briefly. For example: “During the late 16
th century, the relationships among the three
major East Asian countries were dramatically restructured. Crucial to this
restructuring was Japan’s invasion of Korea, which led to the involvement of Ming
China in aiding Korea. Among other things, this event ultimately complicated Korea’s
traditional relationship with China. The research topic I pursue here is the effects
Japan’s invasion had on diplomatic relationships in East Asia. In assessing this
question, I analyze below seven significant sources, the arguments of which vary to
different degrees….”
(II) Body, which consists of the analysis of the individual sources: Each section re: each
source should be headed with the full details of the source:
For Books: Author’s Surname, First Name (Date of publication). Title of Book [in
italics]. Place of Publication: Name of Publisher.
For a Chapter in a Book: Author’s Surname, First Name (Date of publication).
“Title of the Chapter” [in quotes], in Title of Book [in italics], ed. [Name of the
Editor]. Place of Publication: Name of Publisher: page numbers of the chapter.
For an Article: Author’s Surname, First Name (Date of publication). “Title of
Article” [in quotes], Name of the Journal [in italics], vol. and/or number: page
numbers of the article.
In these individual sections, you assess/analyze the source vis-à-vis your topic, giving
specific page numbers as needed, but you might also refer to other sources (i.e., crossreference; for details on designating page numbers, see below). Some of these other
sources might be ones you have chosen to focus on; however, in some cases, you
might have read something which only has limited use. In either case, you can refer to
these other sources parenthetically. That is, if you are addressing a source by Smith
and Williams (i.e., one of your sections), you might want to refer to something by
Thompson—even though you are not devoting a section to something by Thompson.
For example: “Although Thompson (2008) has emphasized….the arguments put forth
by Smith and Williams are particularly helpful in contextualizing the economic
conditions in which….”
In that case, “Thompson (2008)” would be listed in your list of references.
Designating page numbers within the body: If you are directly quoting something
or paraphrasing a specific portion from one of your individual sources, then you
simply put the page number/s in parentheses. The reader will know that the page
number/s refer to the main thing being discussed. This is like a book review.
For instance—and to keep with the previous example—if you are discussing Smith
and Williams, then you simply put the page number/s as “(p. ? or pp. ?-?).” The reader
will know that that page number/s applies to Smith and Williams. For example:
Smith and Williams argue that Chinese influence on XYZ “had diverse
consequences,” but they later conclude that these consequences “are still not
completely understood” (pp. 14, 19). [Why (pp. 14, 19)? Because the first
quote comes from p. 14 and the second is from p. 19. And in structuring things
like this you show that you have understood the full scope of the argument,
and are able to strip it down to its basic parts; in short, you are saving space
and showing an ability to read critically and analytically).
However, if you are discussing another source while dealing primarily with Smith and
Williams, then you will put an internal/cross-reference. So to keep with the same
Although Thompson (2008)* has emphasized….the arguments put forth by
Smith and Williams are particularly helpful in contextualizing the economic
conditions in which….
Although Thompson has emphasized that “the development of Japanese XYZ
followed its own internal logic” (2008, p. 46), the arguments put forth by
Smith and Williams are particularly helpful in contextualizing the economic
conditions in which that development occurred.
Although it can be argued that “the development of Japanese XYZ followed
its own internal logic” (Thompson 2008, p. 46), the arguments put forth by
Smith and Williams are particularly helpful in contextualizing the economic
conditions in which that development occurred.
*: When you see something like “Thompson (2008)”—that is, just a date, but no page
numbers—it means that the author is referring to the work in its entirety or giving a
very brief summation of its main ideas. Generally, you need to be careful when doing
this, unless you are very, very good, have read the work in its entirety, and know a
lot—particularly how that work fits into a broader body of scholarship.
Note: You should think of how to order the sequence of your sources so as to be as
efficient as possible. Ask yourself: “Should this come before that, etc.?” For instance,
“If I start with Smith and Williams, will that allow me easily to transition into the
piece by so-and-so (either because there is a continuity or contrast between the two)?”
The good arrangement will allow your CB to flow—and save you time and energy in
the long run!
Due to the way this Critical Bibliography is structured, there is no need for
footnotes. The only reason one might have a footnote/s would be to briefly explain
something that is difficult to integrate into the main body. In that case, if a citation is
needed, then follow the format as above.
(III) Conclusion: Here you can provide a summary of your research, what you have
learned, what questions you see as worthy of further study, etc. After doing research,
one generally learns about one’s mistakes as well, and it is also possible to gently
point out one’s deficiencies. For instance, if one were looking at the effects of Japan’s
invasions of Korea in the 16th century: “In summary, the sources analyzed above tend
to agree that the Japanese invasions were perhaps the most important event in East
Asia in the 16
the century, even though, as described above, there are differences in the
details they emphasize. Due to the constraints of this project, however, a number of
other important but relevant issues had to be neglected. Chief among these is the
question of how Japan’s economic and material culture might have benefitted from
these invasions. Indeed, a close reading of Tools of Culture: Japan’s Cultural,
Intellectual, Medical, and Technological Contacts in East Asia, 1100s–1500s might
suggest other ways of assessing the question.”
(IV) Reference List: This is Alphabetical by Surname, and the format is the same
as above. Here you will list only those things that you cited (i.e., any that you
cross-referenced, as described above), but which were not part of the Body (i.e.,
individual analyses of your main sources). In short, there is no need to repeat things
for which you have already given full citations/references. Therefore, you might or
might not have a Reference List; it all depends on whether you cite things that
are not part of the main sources in the Body. Make certain that you do not put
things in a Reference List that you did not actually cite; that is called “padding,” and
it is frowned upon.
I emphasise that the citation structure as used in this Critical Bibliography makes
things as simple and as clear as possible, for you and me. The reason is that there are
numerous referencing styles (and modifications on them, as well), and none are
perfect. (For an overview of References, see: Williams Library Guides, see
https://libguides.williams.edu/citing [accessed 28 May, 2020].) Even people who
write a lot (academics and other professionals) go crazy dealing with various
citation/referencing complexities. And I don’t want you spending energy on that. I
want your energy instead spent on shaping and thinking through your research topic.