Rural Life

Confucian ideas about family and relations between the sexes were usually imagined in the context of rural life. To what extent were families, ideas about sex roles, and actual relations between the sexes different in the cities? To what extent can family relations in that world still usefully be described as Confucian? Your readings about woman in Korea and Song China and your viewing of the Qingming shanghe tu can provide material for your argument. Additional readings from Jacques Gernet’s Daily Life in China will be posted to Quercus. The questions are meant to guide your thinking; they are not a proposed outline for your essay. The most important things in writing an essay are to develop an argument—an opinion about the topic—and to back up that argument with evidence, preferably evidence from primary sources. So, reference to the readings, particularly the readings from primary sources, is not only good practice, it it mandatory. In most cases, you should be able to write this essay using only the assigned readings; if you’d like suggestions for further reading, please come see me or your TA. Do not rely on Wikipedia or other online sources to supply anything other than the most basic of information (which is already avail- able in your textbook). Your essay should be 800-100 words long (5-7 pages, double spaced, in a normal font, with 1” margins). It is due October 27. Unexcused late papers will be penalized 5 points for each day they are late. If none of these topics appeals to you, you may write on another topic, but you must come see me so that we can talk about the feasibility of your proposed topic. If you choose to write about something else or modify the essay topic substantially, without receiving my approval (and not that of your TA), you will receive a zero (0) on the assignment. How you present your ideas matters almost as much as the quality of your ideas themselves. So, proof- read your essay, and if you’re unsure about grammar or other aspects of writing, have some one look over a draft of your essay: the writing centre at your college is an excellent place to start.

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