Discuss the role of rocks, water, paths and plant arrangements in Chinese garden.

| March 14, 2016

 
CHIN2288-RESEARCH TOPICS FOR THE TERM PAPER
Topic 1: Discuss the role of rocks, water, paths and plant arrangements in Chinese garden.
– What kinds of rocks are used in Chinese garden? How are they arranged? Why are rocks used in
Chinese gardens? What is the symbolic meaning of rocks in Chinese gardens?
– What are the special features of water surfaces in Chinese gardens and parks?
– What are the main types of garden paths? Why are garden paths are shaped as zigzag, rather
than linear?
– Concerning plant arrangements, what plants and flowers are common in Chinese gardens? How
are they arranged? What are the symbolic meaning of the plants and flowers?
Suggested thesis statements (Your thesis statement will be the focus of your research.
You need to pick just one of the following):
– Rocks, water, paths and plant arrangements constitute the special features / elements of
Chinese gardens. (Your paper will look into all these four special elements in Chinese gardens.)
– Rocks, paths and plant arrangements constitute the special features / elements of Chinese
gardens. (Your paper will look into all these three special elements in Chinese gardens.)
– Rocks and plant arrangements constitute the special features / elements of Chinese gardens.
(Your paper will look into all these two special elements in Chinese gardens.)
Topic 2: Analyze causes to the changes in women’s roles in China today.
– What are the traditional gender roles for women in Chinese culture?
– What are some significant changes in women’s roles in contemporary Chinese culture?
– What are some of the causes to such changes? Can you identify three of them? Is globalization
one of the causes? What is the most significant cause? (Your answer to the last question can be
your thesis statement.)
As Kang Liu points out in his article “Media boom and cyber culture: television and the Internet in China,”
media and communications have played a crucial role in China’s historic transformation since 1979,
particularly in the globalization process. Choose one of the following topics (3-5), and analyze ways in
which television OR the Internet have impacted contemporary Chinese culture.
Topic 3:
– Analyze the case of Li Yuchun and Zhou Bichang, winners of the “Super Girl” (Chaoji nusheng) of
Hunan Satellite TV, a program modeled after the popular US television show “American Idol.”
(Kang Liu, p. 329) What does it indicate about the changes in the value orientation (jiazhi
quxiang) in contemporary Chinese culture? What are the causes to such changes? (Your answer
to one of these questions is your thesis statement.)
Topic 4:
– There are various new TV programs in China today. Analyze one or a couple of new TV programs.
How does it / do they reflect new cultural trend(s) in China today? In what ways does it / do
they indicate the changing or new values in Chinese culture today? (Your answer to one of these
questions is your thesis statement.)
Topic 5:
– Analyze the Internet as alternative media and public forum. Conduct a case study with one or
two of the major commercial portal companies such as sina.com (xinlang), sougou.com (sougou),

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sohu.com (souhu), or netease.com (wangyi) to show or illustrate how the Internet generates
new forms of culture and social interaction. Your thesis statement could be something like:
commercial portal companies such as sina.com (xinlang) and sougou.com (sougou) have played
a significant role in generating new forms of culture and social interaction.
Topic 6: Analyze implications of the changes in family law in Post-Deng China.
– You may focus on one issue, for example, divorce. Your discovery of one major implication can
be your thesis statement.
Topic 7: Analyze the social and ethical implications of guanxi.
– What are the key elements in guanxi? What are the social and cultural roots or context of these
elements? How do these elements affect the working of guanxi? These may provide a basis for
your discussion of the social and ethical implications of guanxi. Your argument, that is, what you
believe to be the major social and ethical implication of guanxi will be your thesis statement.
Topic 8: Analyze the relevance of Confucian values in contemporary world.
– Discuss Joseph Levenson’s critique of Zhang Zhidong’s formula, ‘Chinese learning for substance,
Western learning for use’. (Zhong xue wei ti, xi xue wei yong ????,????). Why did
Levenson think that this formula would not work? (Sor-Hoon Tan, “Modernizing Confucianism
and ‘new Confucianism,’ pp. 136-137) Do you agree with Levenson? What role do you think
Confucianism should play in the process of modernization or globalization in Chinese culture? Or
what Confucian values may be relevant to the contemporary world and in what ways? (Your
answer to the last question can be your thesis statement.)

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