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Course Documents

Paper 4: Lin vs. Hu, Grove, and Zhuang

due date: M-Tu Apr. 8-9

optional “early bird” due date: 5pm Friday Apr. 5 (papers received by this due date will be graded and returned before the others)

Scholars Hu, Grove, and Zhuang write, “Collectivism is… one of the basic orientations of Chinese culture.” Lin Yutang writes, “The Chinese are a nation of individualists.” What's going on here?

In a short (~800 word) paper, tell me how you make sense of this contradiction. Is one right, and the other wrong? Are both right and/or wrong at the same time? Is it a contradiction at all?

Some questions to consider:

  • Whose argument do you find more persuasive, and why?

  • How is Hofstede's discussion of individualism vs. collectivism relevant to this debate?

  • What do Lin Yutang, and Hu Grove and Zhuang, understand "collectivism" and "individualism" to mean? Are they talking about the same thing?

  • Both Lin and H, G & Z were writing at different points in the past. Are the things they write about still true?

  • What does this contradiction show? Why does this debate matter (or does it?)

  • Are "collectivism" and "individualism" a meaningful way to talk about cultures? Or do they just create misunderstandings and stereotypes? Is there a better way to classify and understand the behaviors and mindsets that Lin Yutang, H, G, & Z, and Hofstede are writing about?

A successful paper will:

  • Be written for an educated general reader

  • "Describe it before you comment on it"—in this case, this means summarizing the ideas you're responding to

  • Quote at least once, preferably more—but not too much

  • Follow Graff and Birkenstein's advice when it comes to summarizing and quoting (TSIS Chapters 2 and 3)

  • Support your points using evidence from the texts (Lin Yutang’s “Absence of the Social Mind,” the Hu, Grove, and Zhuang excerpt, and Hofstede Chapter 4)

  • Use voice markers (see TSIS Chapter 5) to make it clear when you are paraphrasing others' ideas vs. stating your own

  • Make the connections between your ideas clear (see TSIS Chapter 8)

  • Be written in English accurate enough that problems with grammar and usage do not significantly distract me from your ideas

  • "Go somewhere"—develop your ideas, take the reader on a journey. (Rather than just listing a bunch of reasons one after another.)

  • Engage me and enlighten me

  • Not be plagiarized

  • Follow my Rules of Thumb

  • Cite your sources and include a Works Cited list using MLA format

    • (Why MLA? MLA is most often used in the humanities, in papers that do detailed analysis of a few texts [rather than drawing on many different sources])