Assignment 3: project paper – comparative essay

Assignment 3: Project Paper  Comparative Essay

This “Assignment 3” writing assignment is a comparative essay focused on topics encountered in our HUM 111 class. The project will be based on research but will reflect your views and interpretation of the topic. This project is designed to help you stretch your mind and your abilities as an organized, innovative, and critical thinker. If approached properly, it should also be fun!

Choose one (1) of the topics from the list of topic choices below. Read the topic carefully. Write a three to four (3-4) page paper (750-1,000 words) that follows instructions and covers each part of the topic. (The title page and References list do not get included in this word count).

For the topic you choose:

1.     Establish a clear thesis about your topic as part of the introductory paragraph (often the thesis is the last thing one determines after doing the basic research and outline; however it will be placed in the first paragraph of your paper).

2.     This is a comparative essay. Comparison approached properly will require some critical thinking on your part. Use a point-by-point approach for the essay. That means, if comparing subject A with subject B, don’t do the first half of the essay on subject A and then the second half on subject B–that will seem like two (2) separate essays and comparisons will tend to get lost. Instead, you should be mentioning both subjects in most of your paragraphs as you compare them throughout the essay. Comparisons will identify similarities as well as contrasts.

3.     Do not try to do everything on your two (2) subjects. You should end up narrowing your focus to a few insights and issues about the subjects being compared. And, from those fairly specific points of comparison, you will develop a thesis and glean some lessons.

4.     Follow closely the instructions below for your specific topic.

5.     Include a concluding paragraph at the end. This paragraph will, in some way, refer back to the thesis established in your first paragraph, since now you have demonstrated and supported it. It may be here that you also include your observations relating your study to the modern workplace or society (see your topic). Try to finish with flair!

6.     Use at least four (4) good quality academic sources, with one (1) source being the class text. Note: Wikipedia and other similar Websites do not qualify as academic resources.

 

Topic Choices  Choose just one (1) of the topics below:

  • Qualities of the Hero: Comparing Gilgamesh and Odysseus. Write an essay comparing these two (2) heroic figures from ancient epics of different cultures, especially focusing your analysis on the sources about their encounters with monsters: Gilgamesh encounters the monster guarding the forest, Humbaba, in Tablets 3-5 of the Epic of Gilgamesh (seehttp://www.ancienttexts.org/library/mesopotamian/gilgamesh/; scroll down to the Tablet links; think of “Tablet” numbers like chapter numbers).” Odysseus encounters Polyphemus the Cyclops in Book 9 of The Odyssey (see http://www.theoi.com/Text/HomerOdyssey9.html; from line 105 to the end). Your paper should:  

a) Compare Gilgamesh and Odysseus as to their heroic qualities, noting similarities and differences, using specific examples from the epics.

b) Summarize what this indicates about differences between ancient Mesopotamian and Greek cultures in their ideals and expectations.

c) From this comparison, suggest ways that current cultural ideals and expectations shape modern notions about role models and heroes.

 

  • Confucius and Aristotle on Virtue. Write an essay comparing these two (2) ancient thinkers on the concept of virtue or good ethical character and conduct. Stay focused on the issue; keep any biographical or other information short or limited. As much as possible, analyze their writings (in translation, of course), using Confucius’ Analects (athttp://classics.mit.edu/Confucius/analects.html ) and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (at http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.html ). Your paper should:

a) Compare the teachings of Confucius and Aristotle on what constitutes virtue or good ethical character and conduct, noting similarities and differences in specific ideas or emphasis.

b) Consider what your findings suggest about differences between ancient Chinese and ancient Greek culture.

c) From this comparison, suggest ideas of virtue that can apply to ethics in a modern setting, such as a diverse workplace.   

 

  • Comparing Sculptures of Ancient India and Greece. Write an essay comparing the way gods and humans were depicted in sculpture in ancient India and Greece, and identify the cultural values and ideals that these art works reflect in each case. Your paper should:      

a) Using specific examples, compare the way gods and people were depicted in the sculptures of ancient India and Greece, noting similarities and differences.

b) Identify the cultural values and ideals that these art works reflect for each society.  

c) From this comparison, suggest a modern situation of artistic expression and the ways it reflects or counters prevailing cultural values.   

 

  • Comparing Ancient Skeptics. Write an essay comparing Lucretius and Wang Chong (=Wang Ch’ung), skeptical philosophers of ancient Rome and China. They were skeptical about popular religious and spiritual beliefs and widely-held superstitions. Lucretius was an Epicurean philosopher of Roman culture (Chapter 6). Wang Ch’ung was a thinker in ancient Chinese culture (Chapter 7). Focus your comparison on their writings as found at http://www.humanistictexts.org/lucretius.htm and http://www.humanistictexts.org/wangchung.htm#On Not Flying to Heaven. Your paper should:

a) Using examples from their writings, compare these two (2) thinkers on their views about specific subjects and on their approach in explaining and expressing their skepticism.

b) From this comparison, identify popular beliefs in each culture that seem similar and those that seem different.

c) From this comparison, suggest any modern situation in which materialist skeptics confront spiritual and religious beliefs, and comment on the considerations of free expression and cultural respect.     

 

  • Comparing Ancient Male Rulers. Take any two (2) of these rulers and write an essay comparing them: Ramses II, Shihuangdi, Constantine, Ashoka, Pericles, or Charlemagne. Select rulers from different cultures. You may also propose (for approval or not) a ruler not listed. Avoid lengthy quoting or lengthy close paraphrasing from biographical sources. Make it YOUR comparative analysis. Your paper should:

a) Compare the two (2) rulers in terms of their situation and methods of rule and their apparent ideals and practices, noting similarities and differences. Use specific examples.

b) Consider what your study suggests about the cultures over which they ruled, identifying any similarities and differences between the cultures.

c) From this comparison, suggest lessons about different types of effective leadership in the world of modern business and / or modern politics.   

 

  • Comparing Ancient Female Rulers. Compare the Tang Empress Wu Zetian (also known as Empress Wu or as Wu Zhao; ruled China around 690-705 AD) with either the Pharaoh Cleopatra (ruled Egypt around 51-31 BC) or the Pharaoh Hatshepsut (ruled Egypt around 1478-1458 BC). You may also propose (for approval or not) a female ruler not listed. Avoid lengthy quoting or lengthy close paraphrasing from biographical sources. Make it YOUR comparative analysis. Your paper should:

a) Compare the two (2) rulers in terms of their situation and ascent to power, their methods of rule, and their achievements and resourcefulness, noting similarities and differences. Use specific examples.

b) Consider what your study suggests about the cultures over which they ruled, identifying any similarities and differences between the cultures.

c) From this comparison, suggest lessons about different types of effective leadership by a female in the world of modern business and / or modern politics.   


The Project Paper will be graded on:

1.     The level to which the instructions were followed for the paper generally and for the specific topic.

2.     The establishment of a clear thesis about your topic.

3.     The adequacy and relevance of information, examples, and details which support the general thesis.

4.     Covering each part of the topic as instructed, including the comparisons, the consideration of ancient cultural differences, and the reflection on lessons for modern society or the modern workplace.

5.     The quality of your research and your persuasiveness using critical reasoning.

6.     The use and acknowledgement of a minimum of four (4) required references (the class textbook plus at least two (2) other quality academic sources) documented using the APA style –including both the use of a proper References list and the use of proper in-text citations.

7.     Adherence to standard rules of grammar, punctuation, paragraphing, and mechanics, and general clarity of presentation.

 

Your assignment must follow these formatting requirements:

  • Be typed, double spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch margins on all sides. Both in-text citations and a References list are required. Citations and references must follow APA style format. Check with your professor for any additional instructions specific to the selected topic. (Note: Students can find APA style materials located in the course shell for guidance).
  • Include a cover page containing the title of the assignment, the student’s name, the professor’s name, the course title, and the date. The cover page and the reference page are not included in the required page length. For our purposes, you may omit any abstract page.

The specific course learning outcomes associated with this assignment are:

  • Explain how key social, cultural, and artistic contributions contribute to historical changes.
  • Explain the importance of situating a society’s cultural and artistic expressions within a historical context.
  • Examine the influences of intellectual, religious, political, and socio-economic forces on social, cultural, and artistic expressions.
  • Identify major historical developments in world cultures during the eras of antiquity to the Renaissance.
  • Use technology and information resources to research issues in the study of world cultures.
  • Write clearly and concisely about world cultures using proper writing mechanics.

 

 

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