Japn, Chin, Asia 499W

Japanese/Chinese/Asian Studies Senior Seminar

Spring 2014

R. Loftus Walton 144

Email: rloftus;
voice mail 6275

Course Description and Requirements

The Senior Seminar is the paramount experience for students majoring in Asian Studies, Chinese Studies and Japanese Studies. This year there will be two International Studies seniors working with our group as well. Students are expected to integrate knowledge from different classes in their field and engage the core knowledge and important issues of their field as a critical reader and writer. There are four possible forms of research available for the senior seminar. The professor of this course will approve specific formats for each student after consulting on with the student on his/her topic and her/his readiness for the senior experience. The students’ work will be subject to several stages of criticism and rewriting. The students will defend their research near the end of the semester; upon completion of the final revisions recommended by the committee, a successful defender can submit his/her final work to the professor.

The objective of the Senior Seminar is to develop a senior project that will consolidate and integrate the student's knowledge of Japan/China or Asian Studies and the field of Japanese/Chinese/Asian Studies. Students will be expected to integrate knowledge from different classes in their field and to demonstrate the core knowledge of and the important issues in their field as a critical reader and writer. Therefore, the most basic Student Learning Objecyive for this course is

Learning Outcomes:

Students will carry out a self-designed research and writing project grounded in the scholarly literature of the field as measured by the completion of a successful senior seminar paper read by at least two cooperating faculty members. The Asian Studies Faculty and the members of the Department of Japanese and Chinese expect students to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate basic language proficiency in an Asian language

  2. Demonstrate a broad cultural knowledge of China, Japan or other Asian societies

  3. Demonstrate interdisciplinary understanding of China, Japan or other Asian societies by completing an interdisciplinary project for this course

  4. Demonstrate writing proficency as defined by the Writing Rubrics by successful completion of a written senior project

Important Course Guidelines:
•Unexcused absences will negatively affect the course grade. Students must make up all work missed to receive credit.
•The professor reserves the right to refuse or penalize late assignments.
•Cheating or plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students found to have cheated or plagiarized will fail the course. Please see http://www.willamette.edu/cla/dean/policies/plagarism.html for university policy.
•All accommodations authorized by the Office of Disability Services will be honored. Students requesting accommodation should notify the professor as early as possible. Please see http://www.willamette.edu/dept/campuslife/policies/index.html for university policy.

NOTE: For every class hour, there is an expectation of 2-3 hours work outside of class.  Since our class meets twice a week for 90 minutes so you should expect to do 6-98 hours outside of class engaged in course-related activities such as research, reading, going to the library, working with librarians, drafting your thesis, doing peer reviews for classmates' thesis drafts, etc.

Basis for Evaluation un the Senior Seminar:
• Attendance 10%
• Jan. 30 Project description with bibliography 5%
• Presentation on your Project to the class 5%

• Drafts (5% x 3) 15%
First draft due Feb 20 at in class.
Second draft due April 3 in class.
Third draft due May 6 by 12:00 p.m.
The first and the third drafts must be reviewed by the first (and the second) reader(s).
The second draft must be reviewed by the first or second reader and a peer reviewer in class.

• Peer Reviews 5%
In class Feb. 20-25

• Defense 10%
In class Apr 22 and 24

• Final Paper 50%
Final version due May 6

Each student will have a second reader other than me where appropriate, i.e., a member of the Asian Studies faculty who has relevant expertise in your topic area.

Varieties of Senior Projects:

There are four possible varieties of senior project available for the senior's in this seminar.

1. Senior Research Paper
2. Review Essay + Research Questions
3. Biography with Commentary
4. Translations with Commentary

The professor of this course will recommend in consultation with the student, a suitable style for each student after consulting on the student’s topic and readiness for his/her senior experience. The students’ projects will be subject to several stages of criticism and rewritings. The students will defend their research near the end of the semester and, with the final revisions recommended by the committee, a successful defender can submit his/her final work to the professor. The length of your senior paper should be be approximately 25-30 pages. Longer is fine. Since this is a writing-centered class, we will spend time in conferences about your work in process, as well as in reading and revising drafts of your work with peers and with your instructor as well.


DETAILS on these four varieties:

1. Senior Research Paper (see WISE, Research Style Examples, “Research Paper.pdf” file as an example)
Original study with a clear thesis and arguments
• Structure
Reviews on previous studies (called “literature reviews”)
Thesis/Hypothesis/Research Question (finding a niche in the previous studies)
Arguments (presenting evidence, analyses and discussion)
• Length – 25~30 pages (double-spaced)
• References (15~20 or more)
• Use of a primary source in Chinese or Japanese is not required but strongly recommended

2. Review Essay + Research Questions (see WISE, Research Style Examples, “Review Essay.pdf” file as an example)
Summarize different interpretations of the issue in previous studies, comment on them and generate your own research questions.
• Survey existing literature on a certain topic.
• Choose 4~5 books to review. Students need to read the entire book carefully.
• Summarize each author’s main ideas and different interpretations of the topic. For example, “The Road to WWII.”
• End with research questions
• Length – 25~30 pages (double-spaced)
• Reference (3~4 books)
• Use of secondary source, i.e., books in English.

• If students cannot find 4~5 books on the same topic, book reviews for unrelated books might be possible. Consult the instructor.

3. Biography with Commentary (see WISE, Research Style Examples,“Biography.pdf” file as an example)
Research on a particular person in the field and write a biography of that person.
• Selection of the person
Sufficient written materials in primary and/or secondary sources that the person produced and/or are written about the person are required.
• Writing a biography
Read and analyze the written materials
        Justify your choice of the person by explaining the individual’s significance or legacy
Offer your own unique perspective or insight into the person's life

• Length – 25~30 pages of text (double-spaced)
• References (15~20 or more)
• Use of a primary source in Chinese or Japanese is not required but strongly recommended

4. Translations with Commentary
• Translate materials in Chinese or Japanese into English with your own commentary.
• Translation
Literature (novels, short stories, poems, etc.)
Non-literature materials such as journal articles, academic books, etc.
• Commentary
Introduction (background information)
Significance of the materials to the field (Why did you choose these materials to translate?)
• Length – minimum of 15~20 pages of text for the translation and 5~10 pages for the commentary (double- spaced); details to be worked out with the instructor
• References (5 or more). This does not mean translating 5 or more materials. Five or more references from other sources that will be necessary to write your commentary.

On January 30, students will make an initial presentation on their research design to the class.

On February 20, a first rough draft will be due with bibliography. 10-12 pages; 3 copies: 1 for me, 2 for Peer Review; you should also show your 2nd reader a copy, too. In class, be prepared to give a brief summary of where you are and how you will proceed.

NOTE: During the course of the semester, there will be a total of 7-8 weeks--or more than half of the semester--without regularly scheduled class time (though one of those weeks will be dedicated to conferences with students on their progress). Having these kinds of significant blocks of time for reading, reflection, research, and writing is what should make the Senior Seminar different from all the courses you have taken up until now. If somehow, you do not use your time well and wind up devoting only the same amount of time you would devote to a large paper in another class, then you have robbed yourself of a valuable experience. It is time you will never get back!! Therefore, it is critical that you do not procrastinate and squander this valuable time. Consider what the great Japanese writer Natsume Soseki had to say about senior thesis writing in his early 20th century novel Kokoro.

"While the others, it seemed, had been busy for some time collecting their material and accumulating notes, I alone had done nothing except promise myself that I would start work on my paper right after the New Year." [Ouch! Don't go there!]

"I did indeed begin in the early part of January, but it was not long before I found myself in a state of mental paralysis. [By all means, avoid mental paralysis!]

I had fondly imagined that, by merely thinking vaguely about a few large problems, I was building up a solid and almost complete framework for my paper. I discovered my folly as soon as I began to work seriously." [Watch out for that pitfall!]

"(M)y thesis had to be finished by the beginning of April. I counted the number of days that were left to me, and I began to lose confidence." [Gambatte! Don't lose confidence!]

"From then on my thesis hung over me like a curse." [Oh, no! Let your thesis be your passion not your nightmare!]


Do you want your senior project to hang over you "like a curse?" Of course not! There are two keys to avoiding this fate:

1. Pick a topic/project that you are passionate about.

2. Adhere to the following key dates:

1. Jan. 30 Student Submission/Presentations of their Preliminary Research Designs--one or two paragraphs describing your project and your preliminary bibliography

2. Feb. 20, First Rough Draft due --10-12 pages; 3 copies: 1 for me, 2 for Peer Review; you should also show your 2nd reader a copy, too.

3. April 3, 2nd Draft Due; this will be your First Complete Rough Draft; 3 copies, please: 1 to your 2nd Reader, 1 to me, and 1 for Peer Review by a class member

4. April 22 and 24, Thesis Defense in class: 5-10 minute Presentations of Final Research Project with 5-10 minutes for Q&A/Defense of your thesis

5. May 6, Final Paper due by 12:00 pm. Please send the final draft of your senior thesis WITH A COVER PAGE to Sandra Dubuque<sdubuque> as a Word Attachment

To recap, your first COMPLETE rough drafts will be due shortly after Spring Break.

Your final, complete, but still "rough" draft will be due April 3.

The revised, final version of the paper will be due in class on Tuesday, May 6.


Famous Zen saying:

"There is no perfect teacher.. . . The point is to make a sincere effort to become a perfect student of an imperfect teacher."

Fujita Issho, Zen Teacher


Prelimnary Schedule


Jan. 14 Initial Meeting: Bring Paragraphs and Bibliographies for 2-3 possible projects as appropriate

Jan. 16 Library Session with Doreen Simonsen <dsimonse>2nd floor Hatfield Library feel free to email her your tentative topic ideas


Jan. 21 Read and discuss some of the Sample Projects available on WISE

Jan 23 Read and Discuss "Japan the Ambiguous and Myself" Oe Kenzaburo's Nobel Prize acceptance speech, a PDF available on Wise under "Resources"

See also Kawabata yasunari's Nobel Prize for LiteratureAcceptance Speech, "Japan, the Beautiful, and Myself" for reference

Possibly a Second essay by Oe, "Japan's Dual Identity: A Writer's Dilemma" a PDF if there is interest

"Virgin Road" Long Vacation "Long Vacation"??








Jan. 28 No class

Jan. 30 5 minute presentation on your topic, and hand in a couple of paragraphs, similar to a rough draft of your Introduction, that describes your project and its presumed outcome.

February 4-Feb. 18 Working on Your Own; Consultations with Loftus or your 2nd Reader

Feb. 20 First Rough Draft Due--10-12 pages, including a clear Thesis Statement/Research Question and your bibliography

Peer Review of First Rough Drafts, 8-10 pp.

Click below for more information on how to develop a

Thesis Statement



Senior Seminar Complete Schedule – Spring 2014



Activities/Things Due




Come with 2~3 topics with some bibliography for each



Library Session with Doreen Simonsen <dsimonse>, Hatfield 2nd Floor




Go over sample projects



Consultation/Or, Reading and Discussion




No Class--Prepare brief presentation of project for next class



5 Minute Presentation of your topic and sources; submit 1 page project description with bibliography of at least 10 items




No Class Individual Consultations



No Class Individual Consultations




No Class Individual Consultations



No Class Individual Consultations




No Class Individual Consultations



FIRST Rough Draft Due-10-12 pages;

Extra copies for Peer Review




Continue Peer Review as necessary







Individual Conferences with Me and/or 2nd Reader



Individual Conferences with Me and/or 2nd Reader





Work on Your Own

"I decided that I had only been able to complete about one-third of the work that I should have done by then. The unpleasant feeling that I had not worked hard enough was one that I had often experienced before...

Soseki, Kokoro




Work on Your Own




Work on Your Own






SPRING BREAK sprbreak MARCH 24-28










"With bloodshot eyes, I worked like a madman... Everyday I worked as hard and as long as I could."




SECOND Rough but COMPLETE Draft Due





Schedule Individual Conferences with Second Reader


Sunday 4/13


Individual Conferences with Second Reader





Individual Conferences with Second Reader



Review/Prep for Thesis defense





Oral Thesis Defense

Oral Thesis Defense



Last day of class, Class evaluations

Complete Final Revisions

"I was free at last."
Soseki, Kokoro







By 12:00 pm (WALTON 144) Submission of Final Copy Hard Copy to Loftus, E-copy to Sandra Dubuque <sdubuque>







Senior Lunch TBA














April 3 First complete rough draft due in class: 3 copies for Peer Review, etc.

Please bring 3 copies of your first draft to class, one for me and one each for two of your peers.

April 8-10 Continue Working on Rough Drafts and preparing for Thesis Defense

Sunday April 13 Senior Summit



April 22-24 In-Class Defense of Senior Projects


Final Version Due May 6, 12:00 pm

Please send your final draft of your senior thesis electronically as a Word Attachment WITH A COVER PAGE to me and toSandra Dubuque <sdubuque> > by12:00 pmTursday May5. The department will bind each thesis and retain one of these bound, clean copy for our files. We will provide you with one bound copy. If you wish extra copies for yourself, please take it to the Copy Center with the copy request form signed byJanet or myself and arrange to pay for the extra copies yourself.


"My professors apparently did not have as high an opinion of my thesis as I did.

I was, however, allowed to graduate that year." [Yaaaay!]

Soseki, Kokoro