The History of the US and East Asia, 1850-Present

Final Paper Project:

Using our readings, supplementary library materials, lectures, and in-class discussions as a basis, examine an instance of an intercultural encounter between Americans and East Asians through the lens of an important historical event or phenomenon. Analyze this encounter from the perspective of both the American and East Asian participants. How do the perceptions of each group about each other either promote or complicate intercultural understanding on a personal, national, or international level? Some examples of important historical events/phenomena involving Americans and Asians include: Commodore Perry’s “Gunboat Diplomacy,” American missionary endeavors in East Asia, Japanese students in San Francisco in the early 20th century, American observers of Mao’s communist base in Yan’an, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, internment camps in the US, the atomic bomb controversies, the US-Occupation of Japan, the Korean War, and American relations with North Korea.

For this assignment, you will first write a polished draft of a short research paper of at least 8-pages that can be reviewed by your peers in class. It should include specific examples and quotes from both primary and secondary sources to support your examination of this encounter, while using proper citation methods learned to in class. During the last week of the course, you will have the opportunity to work in an assigned group and exchange your paper with student colleagues, who will mark-up, comment on, and grade your paper based on the rubric below. This peer-reviewed draft of the final paper will be worth 5% of your grade. The revised paper, where you will implement the suggestions of your peers to improve your assignment, will be due during finals week, and is worth 30% of your total grade.

Grading Rubric:

5=exhibits superior work (95%)

The student reveals a superior and nuanced understanding of multiple themes related to her/his topic and brings deep insight into the questions s/he examined. The work is of professional quality, with outstanding skill in presenting and discussing the topic. The writing is very clear, concise, and organized. Arguments are supported by textual evidence in primary and secondary sources, using a proper citation format. The quality of the student’s work is superior to the majority of her or his peers in the class.

4= exceeds expectations (85%)

Overall, the student understands the topic and presents it well. The writing is generally clear, but could have a few more examples to support the point. Use of citations is well developed, with the student using primary and secondary sources. The student’s historical knowledge is good, and reveals a good understanding of the topic. The quality of the student’s work exceeds that of her or his peers.

3= meets expectations (75%)

The writing style is adequate for a college student. Themes are outlined in a general manner. There may be a few deficiencies or disorganized portions. Some errors appear in the paper, as well as incorrect understandings of some ideas or themes. A few quotes and examples appear to support the argument, with most coming from secondary sources and a few from primary sources. The quality of the student’s work is what can be expected from the majority of her or his peers.

2=unsatisfactory (65%)

Some portions are completed in the paper, but the student shows only a superficial knowledge of her/his topic. The student’s argument is unclear, and fails to give adequate examples to support her/his point, with a few from secondary sources and none from primary sources. To support her/his examples, here may be no quotes or only a few, which do not fully support the topic discussed. The quality of the student’s work is below that of her or his peers.

1=attempted (55%)

The student completed some portion of the work, but was far off the mark in terms of answering the question. The writing lacks clarity, and contains multiple errors. There are no citations or clear examples to support the presentation of the topic, and no primary sources are used. The quality of the student’s work is significantly worse than the majority of her or his peers.

0=not attempted (0%)

The student failed to complete the assignment.

1. The student identifies and describes in a nuanced fashion exhibiting the historical understanding of a cultural encounter or an instance of cultural shock in relations between Americans and Asians.

2. The student documents in an organized narrative a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities arising from the cultural encounter or cultural shock.


Writing Quality:

3. The student writes in a grammatically correct, professional manner without mistakes and sophisticated use of the English language.

4. The student’s writing exhibits clarity and logical organization so as to present her/his topic in a persuasive manner.


5. The student demonstrates the proper use of citations from both primary and secondary sources.


Final Score:


23-25 = 92%-100% = A
20-22 = 80 %– 88% = B
18-19 = 72%-76% = C
15-17 = 60%-68% = D
0-14 = 56% = F




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