LTEA 120A: Chinese Films
Sample Term Paper Topics
LTEA 120A: Chinese Films
Term Paper Template
Keywords: A, B, C, D
Discussion of film 1
Discussion of film 2
(you could move between two films but must provide smooth transitions in between)
Bibliography listed in a separate page (at least 4 sources from the syllabus, items listed in required books and other references)
Author’s name, Book Title (City: Publisher, year).
Author’s name, “article title,” Volume Title, ed. Editor’s name (City: Publisher, year), pp. #-#.
Author’s name, “article title,” Journal Title, volume #, issue # (year), pp. #-#.
I. Commentaries • Purpose: to cultivate the habits of critical reading by making arguments and providing evidence • Content: identify an argument (not merely a topic) from a required reading (with direct quotations and page numbers) and discuss it in relation to the designated film of the day • Focus: your ability to articulate someone else’ argument and state your interpretation of a film in relation to that argument; mere factual information or plot summary won’t count as argument • Length: 1 double-space page or 350 words for each short paper; the portion in excess of the limit will not be graded for credit • Grading: out of 10 points for each commentary, 3 for identification of an argument and logical transition, 3 points for film discussion focused on details, and 4 for writing (grammar, expression, coherence, style) II. Final Exam • Purpose: to test your knowledge of readings and films and to develop your analytic skills with regard to authors, themes, and styles • Format: 4 short essay questions, each of them answered in 8 lines or less, focused on the texts and/or films covered in class per instructions • Grading: 5 points for each question, 20 points total for the final Writing Style Sheet • always indicate your name in the first page of your writing • in general, use the MLA reference style • for commentaries, no separate reference items are needed; but for the term paper, a complete list of works cited is required, and any incomplete listing would cost points • format the title of a film, a book, or a journal in italic or underline: Shower, Shower • indicate the title of an article in a journal or a volume with quotation marks • add in a parenthesis the author’s name (if not identified in the text), a short title (if an author has more than one cited work), and page numbers after all direct quotations: “…” (L. Lee, “Cinema” 37-38); use the author’s name, not the volume editor’s • be sure proper names are spelled correctly • in the Chinese case, remember the family name goes before the given name: Feng Xiaogang (hence, Mr. Feng rather than Mr. Xiaogang) • reduce functional phrases and repetitions like “I believe” or “in Leo Lee’s article, Lee writes …” • spell-check grammar and fix typographic errors • read your paper one more time before printing; hand-written corrections cost you points • for those in need of assistance with English writing, seek help from campus resources and your native-speaking friends
• Grading The term paper itself counts for 40% of your course grade. You will be graded on your mastery of the relevant facts and arguments, your originality in developing analysis, and the effective way your paper is organized and written. Specifically, originality = 2 points, analysis = 12 points (i.e., 6 points each film), writing = 16 points (i.e., legitimate title = 1 point, 4 listed key words = 2 points, structure = 2 points, transition = 2 points, grammar = 2 points, spelling = 2 points, in-text reference = 2, etc.), use of sources = 10 points (i.e., logical incorporation = 1.5 points each, complete citation = 1 point each). • Content First, your paper must be comparative; namely, choose to compare two of these films: Plunder of Peach and Plum, It’s My Day Off, Ermo, and Suzhou River. You may focus on a similar theme, a shared critical problem, or a combination of some of them. Second, your paper must be researched; namely, citing what critics have said about the directors and/or films you are discussing and indicating how you respond to their interpretations. You must use at least 4 print sources assigned in the syllabus. Each article in an edited book counts as one source, but merely listing sources without incorporating them in analysis does not make your paper a researched one. Third, your paper must be critical; namely, examining texts in detail and engaging different arguments in relation to the issues you are addressing. This also means that you have to maintain your own line of arguments while moving between primary and secondary sources. A summary of narrative plot or biographic information is descriptive rather than critical. • Form This is an individual assignment. Do not work on it jointly as you might study together for exams or team projects, because two papers similar to each other will likely lower grades for both papers. Do not submit a paper that you have submitted or are writing for any other class. The paper must be written in your words, not paraphrased out of a secondary source or plagiarize from any source You must give full bibliographical citations at the end of your paper on a separate page (exclusive of the page limit), and make sure your style is consistent throughout the paper. Papers must be typed, double-spaced (not 1.5 spaced), with one-inch or larger margins on all four sides of the page. The length is limited to 3 pages, excluding references. Most students do better writing a carefully edited three-page paper than writing a longer paper that is sloppy. Papers not meeting these specifications will be returned without grading. Faulty spelling, grammar, punctuation, and format style will cost you points, so proof-read your writing carefully.
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