History 233 / AAS 233 – The Rise of Modern China – Instructor: Ryan Yokota

Fall 2018 – Final Take Home Essay Prompts

The final essay exam is worth 35% of the total grade for the class. Please follow these standards:

1) Include student name, name of class, and instructor name single-spaced at top of first page.

2) Use a double spaced 12-point Times/Times New Roman font for body with 1-inch margins.

3) Use footnotes for all citations according to the Chicago Manual of Style


Answer both of the following two essay questions, for a minimum of three pages each. These two

essays together should total a minimum of six pages and a maximum of eight pages. In writing these

essays, please refer specifically to class readings and lectures, including the 2013 Third Edition of The

Search for Modern China textbook. Outside readings are neither allowed nor are necessary for

completing this exercise. Plagiarism is not allowed and will result in a failing grade. Put both essays

together in the same .doc or .pdf document and upload them to the D2L final exams submissions folder.

Essay Prompt 1

On page 499 of SFMC, Spence mentions a quote by a minority group member in China that reads “A rock

does not make a good pillow, nor a Han Chinese a friend.” Using the course readings by Frank Dikötter,

Dru Gladney, and Evan Osnos, combined with references to class lectures and the film “Tibet: Cry of the

Snow Lion,” explain the meaning of this quote, and in doing so describe 1) The history of minority

relations in China described by Dikotter and Spence; 2) The manner in which minority groups are

depicted in China, as described by Gladney; and finally, using Tibet as a case study, 3) Examine the

nature of the transition from tribute-trade system state to regional minority region in China. Refer to

class lectures and readings by Fairbank on the tribute-trade system from week 1 for additional

references in formulating your answer to these questions.

Essay Prompt 2

In the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the image of the “tank man” seemed to encapsulate the

popular discontent that had emerged and was increasingly calling for reforms towards democracy.

Using class lectures, SFMC, and readings by Louisa Lim, Han Dongfang, and Evan Osnos, the “Readings

on the New Authoritarianism,” and references to the film “The Gate of Heavenly Peace,” describe: 1)

The history of the 1989 democracy protests in terms of how they arose, what they demanded, and how

the government responded; 2) Discuss the debates surrounding discussions of the New Authoritarianism

by Wu Jiaxiang and Rong Jian, and the justifications used to deny the timeliness of democratic reforms,

and 3) Discuss the long term implications of the Tiananmen Square protests described by Lim and Osnos

in the government’s turn away from class struggle to nationalism.

In assessing this midterm, the following criteria are critical to keep in mind when developing your essays,

and will constitute a rubric for grading these essays:

1) What is the main thesis of the essay? This should be clearly stated in the first paragraph.

2) What are the main points used to support this thesis? Provide concrete examples and

judiciously use selected quotes from the readings. Back up all assertions with evidence.

3) What conclusion is reached by considering this evidence? What does it say about Chinese


4) The best essays show strong control over the readings and make them speak to each other.

5) Do not use “I” statements in the essay, and refrain from casual language or passive voice.

The final essays must be uploaded to the D2L dropbox by 8:15 p.m. on Monday, November 19, 2018.

No late papers will be accepted. No exceptions to this deadline will be made. No separate final exam

will be held.

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