Students are responsible for eight response papers based on the course readings. In addition, there is a 10-15 page final term paper based on a topic of the student's choice.

Paper Topics

1. Memoirs

Choose several different personal memoirs that discuss the experience of individuals or families in China during the twentieth century. (Use at least three books, but one of them may come from the class syllabus.) Compare the social status of the narrators and contrast their experiences. Try to link the political events described in the textbook with the way these events were experienced by the narrators. Which national events were the most significant personally, and which great political events had no personal impact? Comment also on the writers' style, accuracy, and the believability of their accounts.

2. Film and Chinese History

Discuss and analyze two or three films of different types that discuss historical events. Compare their presentation with that given in written accounts. Which aspects do the filmmakers emphasize? Do they distort the record of the past to produce a dramatic story or to promote a political point of view? Is this practice inevitable in film, or is it possible to make an "objective" account?

Student Work

Final Paper (PDF) (Courtesy of Xuemin Chi. Used with permission.)

Chinese Cinema in the 1980s and 1990s (PDF) (Courtesy of Emily Cheng. Used with permission.)