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Instructions and Essay Questions for Final Term Paper


Final Term Paper (40% of the overall assessment)

Please read this carefully before you begin working on the paper.

Choose ONE of the four questions below. Each question requires that you discuss two texts from the syllabus.

Write an essay of 2,000 to 2,200 words in English OR 2,200 to 2,400 characters in Chinese.

A word count should be included in parentheses at the end of the paper. This word count is strictly observed; any additional words beyond the limit will not be included in the assessment.

This is to follow the convention of many academic and professional publications where word limits are strictly enforced because of the constraint of space and purpose of short papers.

1. Its ability to provide a well-reasoned, well-informed, detailed and authentic analysis on the question and the relevant texts;

2. Its originality, presentation, and persuasion. In addition, you should comply with the generally accepted styles of academic citation.

Refer also to the detailed Rubrics on Blackboard for qualities we look for in your paper.

Please read it carefully before you begin writing. Lastly, it always helps to think of a title for your paper.

The “Assignment Number” should be 99. The Word or pdf file should be named, for instance, 99_LeeSophie. In the same way you have submitted your reflective journals, put your paper through VeriGuide as required by University policy. Then upload the VeriGuide cover page together with your paper onto Blackboard. *Please keep in mind that the University has a policy of zero-tolerance for plagiarism.

Submission deadline is 11:59pm, Dec 19, 2021 (Sunday).

All late submissions are subjected to a deduction of 5 marks PER DAY out of the total of 100.

Please also note that the closer to the deadline you submit, the more likely there would be a Blackboard and VeriGuide system congestion.

Please take this into account when you manage your writing schedule.

*A note on approach: The two texts (maximum three texts) should be considered as being in a productive relation with each other. (The texts that have been engaged with in the Reflective Journals could be employed again here in the Term Paper.)

Attention should be given to how particular ideas spark each other off to give rise to more ideas and questions.

There is no necessity that one text is discussed after the other, but even in the case that you do so, the argument should be so structured that it shows the relations between the texts. The quality of integration of these ideas is an important component that contributes to the quality of the paper. 


1. In the book The Way of Love (2002), scholar Luce Irigaray says, “Our rational tradition has been much concerned with ‘speaking about’ but has reduced ‘speaking with’ to a speaking together about the same things.

”Irigaray proposes instead, that “speaking with” is to do with “real exchange between ourselves.” (7) In a different context, in the book killing rage: ending racism (1995), scholar bell hooks also addresses the importance of bonding. She says, “beloved community” is where “loving ties of care and knowing bind us together in our differences.” (263-4) She cites the example of how “black and white folks who struggled together for racial justice […] were bound by a shared belief in the transformative power of love.”

(265) You are curious about their thoughts and find them related and relevant to understanding specific events in the contemporary world today. Compose a conversation between yourself and two or three thinkers (from two or three different texts) in the In Dialogue with Humanity syllabus to analyze these events of your choice.

2. Is peace a state of no conflict? What is your vision of peace? Have you acted or made plans to act in pursuit of this vision? In 2015, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2250, which, among other resolutions, recognizes “the important and positive contribution of youth in efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security” and affirms “the important role youth can play in the prevention and resolution of conflicts.”

( In response, the United Network of Young Peace Builders (UNOY)among other organizations is formed. ( You are inspired to propose to UNOY your vision of peace as inspired, motivated, or challenged by the ideas you’ve engaged with in the course In Dialogue with Humanity. Compose a speech that serves to advocate peace in a particular geographical region or a community, as informed by the texts you have studied.

3. Once upon a time, Marx, Confucius, Socrates, Jesus, Prophet Muhammad, Smith, Huang, Rousseau, Zhuangzi, and Buddha lived in the same world as you did.

You all spent time together, pondering about the meaning of human life. All of a sudden, one day, you find yourself alone in a drastically changed world where all of these thinkers had been exiled for public interest.

As a university student seeking the truth, you are puzzled by this new policy. You are particularly inspired by scholar Alasdair MacIntyre’s reflection on the purpose of the university:

Submitting your term paper

“[U]ndergraduate education has its own distinctive ends, that it should never be regarded as a prologue to or a preparation for graduate or professional education, and that its ends must not be subordinated to the ends of the necessarily specialized activities of the researcher.

But it is not just that undergraduate education has its own ends. It is also that undergraduate education, when well conducted, is in key part an education in how to think about the ends of a variety of human activities […].” (“The Very Idea of a University: Aristotle, Newman, and Us” in British Journal of Educational Studies, Vol. 57, No. 4, 2009: 362).

You are compelled to write an open letter to your fellow undergraduates to advocate the returning of two or three of these thinkers for specific purposes. What is your understanding of the present and imagination of the future that would need these particular thinkers back? You don’t necessarily have to agree with them to advocate for their return.

Instead, you value highly the chance to further deliberate with them to tackle with the unfinished business of this world, including challenging them in pursuit of the truth. Be as critical as creative.

4. Formulate your own thesis or topic of inquiry, engaging with any TWO texts from the syllabus. *For this question, consultation with your teacher is COMPULSORY.

An outline MUST be emailed to your teacher no later than 12 noon, Dec 3, 2021 (Friday) and a meeting to be set up for consultation in the week that follows before you could begin writing up the paper. Anyone who fails to do so should not attempt this question.

*Your primary materials should be the texts from the In Dialogue with Humanity syllabus. You may bring in other relevant sources outside of the syllabus, but they should not outbalance the discussion of the ideas from texts we have studied together. Excerpts in the Extended Readings on Slavery we studied together should NOT be regarded as one text for this assignment.

*If you work on Question 4, writing and submitting an Outline is a MUST, but this is optional for Questions 1, 2, and 3. I am happy to review and discuss your outline with you face-to-face, for any question you are attempting.

Please plan early so that there is ample time for me to formulate comments and for you to fine-tune your ideas in response. 

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