For Wednesday you need two things. 1. A short paragraph exploring why you are interested in your paper topic and 2-4 substantive specific research questions that you might want to answer. More interesting papers tend to answer how and why questions. Almost anything you choose will have to be focused further. Use this opportunity to take a first stab at it. Be aware that to come up with good questions, you’ll have to do a lot of reading first. 2. Three references, at least one of which ideally should come from the library (i.e. a book). The point is to prove that your proposed topic has specific sources, both primary and secondary. (This means don’t give me overview books of a whole period like textbooks and encyclopedias.) All references should be in full bibliographic format. You can use the format on the syllabus, or another – but be consistent across sources. I list below some broad topics for papers. It is not comprehensive. It is fine if you think of other topics you want to do.
One requirement of the paper is that it should be should be focused on environment or disease issues in China. (If you have an internationally-oriented paper, the paper should concentrate on the Chinese side of things.)
While it is not required, it is my suggestion to pick 1-2 case studies such as a particular environmental or disease incident because it conveniently has a beginning, middle, and end making it easy to organize. Use these case studies to explore broader political, legal, cultural, international relations, etc. issues you have. You can also compare and contrast case studies that are in two different locations or even China and another country. You do not have to focus on crises – it is fine to write a paper exploring things that or working or that answer neutral questions – like how are environmental ideas or hygiene patterns taught in China?
It is absolutely required that all papers have an argument that you spend the paper proving. In this paper you should pretend you are a lawyer making your case. Therefore, do not just describe how an event happened, instead say “This event happened because of these three reasons and not for the other possible five. I will proceed to prove it through A, B, and C evidence.”
(Many of the following topics could be made more specific by focusing on one gender; one ethnicity; a particular age group, a particular time period, a specific area; rural vs. urban China, a particular disease; a specific polluting industry, etc.)
Traditional philosophies about Chinese medicine and the environment
Chinese medicine, taiqi, qigong today – or as they evolved over the last 100 years
Rural or urban public health/primary health care
Migrants and health
Minorities and health
STDs, HIV/AIDS, sex education
Chronic diseases – smoking, heart disease, lung cancer, obesity, diabetes
Cancer – genetic & environmental/pollution based
Women’s health, maternal/child health, the one/two child policy
Food safety and security – organics, and local sourcing
International health threats and negotiations with the international community – SARS, Avian flu
Education/propaganda both in school and outside of it about health, climate, and environment – messages and reception of them
Environmental pollution (earth, water, air) – policies, practices, protest, politics
Chinese medical trade in endangered species
Water management – dams, irrigation, apportionment of water, desalination, water efficiency strategies, wells, fluoridation, and poisoning from deep wells
South-North Water Transfer Project
International water negotiations and potential wars
Climate change in China and as part of its international relations
Green energy in China, Green energy as part of China’s international relations
Indigenous environmental and health practices
Indigenous environmental rights vs. government development plans
Security paper: pick an environmental, health, or food topic and analyze it from the Chinese government’s perspective as a security issue.
Rhetoric analysis paper: Examine how rhetoric on a particular topic has changed over time and what was going on between the lines; or compare rhetoric about a particular topic to the reality on the ground
Fictional paper: changing representations of one of the above topics in fiction
Visual analysis paper: changing representations of one of the above topics in comics, movies, posters, etc. (These papers must have some written sources as well).