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Course Documents

Midterm Project: My Country and My People, 2019 Edition

For our midterm project, as a class, we will collaborate to produce a book of essays titled (tentatively) My Country and My People, 2019 Edition: A Brief Introduction to Chinese Culture by the DKU Class of 2022.

MCMP 2019 Table of Contents

Topics chosen by each student, and questions you might address

MCMP 2019 Topic Brainstorm Sheet

A list of possible "material carriers" for culture, grouped by topic area


  • Length: 1200-1500 words

  • Formatting: as always, please follow my formatting guidelines.

  • Citing your sources:

    • As well as a reference list (formatted in any citation style you wish) please summarize your research process for me in a paragraph.


  • Draft 1 due date: M-Tu Feb. 25-26

    • Optional early due date: 12 noon Fri. Feb. 22 (if you hand in draft 1 early, I will give you your feedback early)

  • Final draft due date: M-Tu Mar. 18-19 (in class)

  • Final copyedited chapter due: M-Tu Mar. 25-26

Step 1: Brainstorm possible topics

Working with your group, you will fill out a preference form listing the three topics you’re most interested in. For each topic, you will list three specific questions and three objects, practices, or concepts that could provide a focus for your project.

After the class has decided which vision for the book to adopt, and after I’ve compared all the preference forms, I’ll assign your group one of your three topics, and individually you can choose your own focus for your chapter.

Step 2: Do some research

Lin Yutang did not research his book. But we are living amidst the complexities of the 21st century, and you are only eighteen years old. I think we will write a better book if we all do a little research!

What kind of research you do is up to you. I could imagine you doing any of the following:

  • Conduct a survey

  • Conduct a few personal interviews

  • Read an academic article or two

  • Read some “popular” sources

  • Draw on personal experience

My only requirement is that you draw on two different types of sources in addition to personal experience. You’ll need to think about what kinds of sources are most suited to the question you are researching.

It’s up to you how much you collaborate with your groupmates. You could independently research three related topics, or you could all do your research together and write three individual chapters based on the same sources. You decide.

Step 3: Write rough draft

Based on preliminary research you will write a rough draft of your chapter. I will return it with comments and a soft grade, which is the grade this paper would get if it were submitted with no revisions.

For my expectations for what a successful paper will do, see MCMP 2019: A good paper will…

Note: Instead of (or in addition to) a reference list, please write one paragraph summarizing how you researched this paper. Write in such a way that it would be easy for me to find any articles or websites you used in your research.

For the final draft I will ask you to include a list with 1-3 suggestions for further reading (and/or watching or listening) if our readers want to learn more about this topic, and a short Chinese vocabulary list with key terms in Pinyin and Chinese characters, for the benefit of readers studying Chinese. But this is not required for the rough draft.

Step 4: Write final draft


  • I do not want hard copy this time. Please submit it electronically (as a .doc or .docx file) before class begins. Email it to my TA, Xiaonan (xiaonan.wang631@dukekunshan.edu.cn).

  • Important change: I have decided I do want a reference list as well as a one-paragraph statement (at the end, not part of the paper) describing how you researched your topic. You may format your reference list in any citation style you wish.

  • Word count: The word limit is 1500, but in some cases I have given permission to exceed it. If I’ve told you you can go over, you can go over. If I haven’t, please limit your essay to 1500 words. If you’re unsure, ask me.

  • Illustrations, Chinese keyword list, and “further reading” section: You do not have to include these at this point, but you may if you wish. This part of the essay will be due later, as part of the copyediting process (next week).

Step 4: Copyediting

Copyediting is the process of readying a manuscript for publication. It is different from editing. Editing usually refers to large-scale revisions to the structure and content of a piece of writing, while copyediting is about polishing a manuscript and making sure it looks good.

Working in groups of 3, please copyedit your classmates’ manuscripts. In each group, I recommend that each person’s manuscript be read by two other people.

Please see the copyediting instructions handout and style sheet for detailed instructions about how to do this, and about how you’ll be graded.

Citations and references should be formatted according to the Chicago Notes and Bibliography style. See MCMP: Citation Tutorial for details.

In addition, along with your chapter please include:

  • at least one illustration

  • a list of 1-3 recommended sources (articles, films, books, stories, music, whatever) that your reader could read, watch, or listen to learn more about your topic. (Preferably, at least one recommendation should be in English. If none are available, Chinese is okay.)

  • a short vocabulary list of key words or phrases in Chinese related to your topic, with characters, pinyin (including tone marks), and English meaning