Asian Civilizations from 1500 : essay


Asian Civilizations from 1500

Fall 2020



Essay 2 (1​ ,500 words)


Write an essay discussing and comparing the ideas presented in three of the following five texts.


  • Chen Duxiu, “Call to Youth”
  • Lu Xun, “What Happens after Nora Walks Out”
  • Na Hye Seok, “A Confession about My Divorce” (Full text available on UM Learn)
  • Ho Chi Minh, “Appeal Made on the Occasion of the Founding of the Indochinese Communist Party”
  • The Documents of the Korean Community Party


In addition to the three texts you choose to focus on from the list above, you may also use any other relevant course materials. You may not use any sources from outside the course.


Your essay must:

  • Introduce each text in a concise manner.
  • Provide the historical context in which each author formulated their ideas.
  • Explains what new ideas they proposed and in what sense they were new. In other words, in what ways did their ideas challenge existing social norms and perceptions?
  • Identifies shared ideas or differences between the three texts and makes a well-balanced comparison.
  • Discusses all of the three texts and offers a substantial textual analysis of each.
  • Avoid factual errors and misrepresentation of the texts under discussion. (Common factual mistakes from this semester include references to North Korea or South Korea during the time before the two Koreas existed, and misidentification of Indochina as India).


Submission Instructions

Please read the instructions below carefully. Your essay will not be graded if you do not follow the submission instructions.




  1. Abstract (250 words): Due November 24, 5pm (Tuesday)


Your abstract is a snapshot of your essay plan. It should include:

  • Which texts you plan to discuss in your essay, how the three texts you have chosen are connected to one another, what argument (a thesis) you would like to make by

comparing them, and (if applicable) what other course readings you plan to use to support your analysis.


  • You are strongly encouraged to use this material to develop your ideas for the essay and meet with me and/or the writing tutor for further discussion on your essay plans.


  1. Essay (1,500 words): due December 4, 5pm (Friday)


  1. Extension for revision *December 10, 5pm (Thursday): This extension only applies to students who meet the requirements stated in the syllabus (p 6-7).





  • 12 font (Times or Times New Roman), 1.0 inch margin each side, double-space & page number cmos_formatting_and_style_guide/chicago_manual_of_style_17th_edition.html


  • On the Top/Left corner of the first page (no separate cover page required)

Asian Civilizations from 1500

Essay 2

Your Full Name and UM ID


  • On the bottom/right corner of the last page Word count


Submission Venue

  • Post by the deadline indicated above on UM Learn.


  • File name (format: MS word document) Abstract: LastnameFirstname_Essay 2 abstract.  

Essay: LastnameFirstname_Essay 2.

Revision: LastnameFirstname_Essay 2 revision. (only those eligible)





1.     Course-Based Writing Tutors (CBWT)


The writing assignments for this course involve meeting with a writing tutor from the Academic Learning Centre. The writing tutors are experienced student writers who can support you with the following:


  • Understand the assignment guidelines
  • Clarify your ideas (e.g., your main argument)
  • Improve the structure of your paper so that ideas flow for the reader
  • Provide information and examples showing how to reference your sources


You can meet with a writing tutor for a 25-minute live online appointment to discuss your work or you can upload your paper and receive written comments. Students are encouraged to meet with a tutor in a live online (synchronous) appointment for their first appointment.


Each of you can make an appointment for each round (therefore up to 2 meetings) through the course-based writing tutor program.

  • Round 1 (for Essay 1 due on Oct 23): Oct 14-22
  • Round 2 (for Essay 2 due on Dec 4): Nov 24-Dec 3



It is the responsibility of each student to make their own appointments. Powerpoint Instructions for making appointments will be provided by the Academic Learning Centre no later than October 5th.


Please log in to the tutoring schedule and make your appointments early to ensure that you are able to make an appointment. The link will be provided before the appointment schedule is open.


You will be given an extension on your writing assignment if you meet with a writing tutor before the assignment deadline. The feedback from the tutor and the additional time will allow you to make revisions and improve the clarity of your writing. Please refer to the syllabus for further instructions for the extension eligibility and the process.


  1. How can I write a good essay?


Your essay has: 


  • A clear understanding of the topic
    • Read the prompt carefully.
  • A good understanding of the text(s)
    • Spend enough time to get the author(s)’ main points and arguments.
  • A concise summary of the text using your language:
    • Do not simply quote the text(s), but show how you understand the text(s). More quotes do not mean a better essay.
  • Structural coherence and writing clarity
    • Making an outline (bullet points) first is a good idea.
    • Introduction has a clear thesis sentence. Your readers know what you do in the essay after they read the first 150-200 words.
    • Do not repeat the same point.
    • A brief conclusion is needed.
  • Go back to the prompt and see if you really respond to the prompt.
  • Proper citation, referencing, and formatting.