COMPARATIVE ESSAY FOR HUM111

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This “Assignment 2” writing assignment is a comparative essay
focused on topics encountered in our HUM 111 class. The project will be based
on research but will reflect your views and interpretation of the
topic. This project is designed to help you stretch your mind and your
abilities as an organized, innovative, and critical thinker. If approached
properly, it should also be fun!

Choose one (1) of the topics from the list of topic choices below.
Read the topic carefully. Write a three to four (3-4) page paper (750-1,000
words) that follows instructions and covers each part of the topic. (The title
page and References list do not get included in this word count).

For the topic you choose:

1.  Establish
a clear thesis about your topic as part of the introductory paragraph (often
the thesis is the last thing one determines after doing the basic research and
outline; however it will be placed in the first paragraph of your paper).

2.  This
is a comparative essay. Comparison approached properly will require some
critical thinking on your part. Use a point-by-point approach for the essay.
That means, if comparing subject A with subject B, don’t do the first half of
the essay on subject A and then the second half on subject B–that will seem
like two (2) separate essays and comparisons will tend to get lost. Instead,
you should be mentioning both subjects in most of your paragraphs as you
compare them throughout the essay. Comparisons will identify similarities as
well as contrasts.

3.  Do not
try to do everything on your two (2) subjects. You should end up narrowing your
focus to a few insights and issues about the subjects being compared. And, from
those fairly specific points of comparison, you will develop a thesis and glean
some lessons.

4.  Follow
closely the instructions below for your specific topic.

5.  Include
a concluding paragraph at the end. This paragraph will, in some way, refer back
to the thesis established in your first paragraph, since now you have
demonstrated and supported it. It may be here that you also include your
observations relating your study to the modern workplace or society (see your
topic). Try to finish with flair!

6.  Use at
least three (3) good quality academic sources, with one (1) source being the
class text. Note: Wikipedia and other similar
Websites do not qualify as academic resources. You are highly encouraged to use
the Resource Center tab at the top of your Blackboard page.

Topic Choices – Choose just one (1) of the
topics below:

  • Qualities of
    the Hero: Comparing Gilgamesh and Odysseus
    . Write
    an essay comparing these two (2) heroic figures from ancient epics of
    different cultures, especially focusing your analysis on the sources about
    their encounters with monsters: Gilgamesh encounters the monster guarding
    the forest, Humbaba, in Tablets 3-5 of the Epic of Gilgamesh (see http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/eog/ ).
    Odysseus encounters Polyphemus the Cyclops in Book 9 of The
    Odyssey
     (see http://www.theoi.com/Text/HomerOdyssey9.html;
    from line 105 to the end). Your paper should: 

a) Compare Gilgamesh and Odysseus as to their heroic qualities,
noting similarities and differences, using specific examples from the epics.

b) Summarize what this indicates about differences between ancient
Mesopotamian and Greek cultures in their ideals and expectations.

c) From this comparison, suggest ways that current cultural ideals
and expectations shape modern notions about role models and heroes.

  • Confucius and
    Aristotle on Virtue
    . Write an essay comparing these two
    (2) ancient thinkers on the concept of virtue or good ethical character
    and conduct. Stay focused on the issue; keep any biographical or other
    information short or limited. As much as possible, analyze their writings
    (in translation, of course), using Confucius’ Analects (at http://classics.mit.edu/Confucius/analects.html )
    and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (at http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.html ).
    Your paper should:

a) Compare the teachings of Confucius and Aristotle on what
constitutes virtue or good ethical character and conduct, noting similarities
and differences in specific ideas or emphasis.

b) Consider what your findings suggest about differences between
ancient Chinese and ancient Greek culture.

c) From this comparison, suggest ideas of virtue that can apply to
ethics in a modern setting, such as a diverse workplace.  

  • Comparing
    Sculptures of Ancient India and Greece.
     Write
    an essay comparing the way gods and humans were depicted in sculpture in
    ancient India and Greece, and identify the cultural values and ideals that
    these art works reflect in each case. Your paper should:    
     

a) Using specific examples, compare the way gods and people were
depicted in the sculptures of ancient India and Greece, noting similarities and
differences.

b) Identify the cultural values and ideals that these art works
reflect for each society.  

c) From this comparison, suggest a modern situation of artistic
expression and the ways it reflects or counters prevailing cultural values.
 

  • Comparing
    Ancient Skeptics.
     Write an essay comparing Lucretius and Wang
    Chong (=Wang Ch’ung), skeptical philosophers of ancient Rome and China.
    They were skeptical about popular religious and spiritual beliefs and
    widely-held superstitions. Lucretius was an Epicurean philosopher of Roman
    culture (Chapter 6). Wang Ch’ung was a thinker in ancient Chinese culture
    (Chapter 7). Focus your comparison on their writings as found at http://www.humanistictexts.org/lucretius.htm and http://www.humanistictexts.org/wangchung.htm#On
    Not Flying to Heaven
    . Your paper should:

a) Using examples from their writings, compare these two (2)
thinkers on their views about specific subjects and on their approach in
explaining and expressing their skepticism.

b) From this comparison, identify popular beliefs in each culture
that seem similar and those that seem different.

c) From this comparison, suggest any modern situation in which
materialist skeptics confront spiritual and religious beliefs, and comment on
the considerations of free expression and cultural respect.    

  • Comparing
    Ancient Male Rulers
    . Take any two (2) of
    these rulers and write an essay comparing them: Ramses II, Shihuangdi,
    Constantine, Ashoka, Pericles, or Charlemagne. Select rulers from
    different cultures. You may also propose (for approval or not) a ruler not
    listed. Avoid lengthy quoting or lengthy close paraphrasing from
    biographical sources. Make it YOUR comparative analysis. Your paper
    should:

a) Compare the two (2) rulers in terms of their situation and
methods of rule and their apparent ideals and practices, noting similarities
and differences. Use specific examples.

b) Consider what your study suggests about the cultures over which
they ruled, identifying any similarities and differences between the cultures.

c) From this comparison, suggest lessons about different types of
effective leadership in the world of modern business and / or modern politics.
 

  • Comparing
    Ancient Female Rulers
    . Compare the Tang Empress
    Wu Zetian (also known as Empress Wu or as Wu Zhao; ruled China around
    690-705 AD) with either the Pharaoh Cleopatra (ruled Egypt around 51-31
    BC) or the Pharaoh Hatshepsut (ruled Egypt around 1478-1458 BC). You may
    also propose (for approval or not) a female ruler not listed. Avoid
    lengthy quoting or lengthy close paraphrasing from biographical sources.
    Make it YOUR comparative analysis. Your paper should:

a) Compare the two (2) rulers in terms of their situation and
ascent to power, their methods of rule, and their achievements and
resourcefulness, noting similarities and differences. Use specific examples.

b) Consider what your study suggests about the cultures over which
they ruled, identifying any similarities and differences between the cultures.

c) From this comparison, suggest lessons about different types of
effective leadership by a female in the world of modern business and / or
modern politics.  

  • Other topic
    choice using a comparative approach (proposed by student or instructor)
    and approved by the professor and supported by the grading rubric.

The Project Paper will be graded on:

1.  The
level to which the instructions were followed for the paper generally and for
the specific topic.

2.  The
establishment of a clear thesis about your topic.

3.  The
adequacy and relevance of information, examples, and details which support the
general thesis.

4.  Covering
each part of the topic as instructed, including the comparisons, the
consideration of ancient cultural differences, and the reflection on lessons
for modern society or the modern workplace.

5.  The
quality of your research and your persuasiveness using critical reasoning.

6.  The
use and acknowledgement of a minimum of three (3) required references (the
class textbook plus at least two (2) other quality academic sources) documented
using the APA style –including both the use of a proper References list and the
use of proper in-text citations.

7.  Adherence
to standard rules of grammar, punctuation, paragraphing, and mechanics, and
general clarity of presentation.

Your assignment must follow these formatting requirements:

  • Be typed,
    double spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch margins
    on all sides. Both in-text citations and a References list are required.
    Citations and references must follow APA style format. Check with your
    professor for any additional instructions specific to the selected topic.
    (Note: Students can find APA style materials located in the
    course shell for guidance).
  • Include a
    cover page containing the title of the assignment, the student’s name, the
    professor’s name, the course title, and the date. The cover page and the
    reference page are not included in the required page length. For our
    purposes, you may omit any abstract page.

The specific course learning outcomes associated with this
assignment are:

  • Explain how
    key social, cultural, and artistic contributions contribute to historical
    changes.
  • Explain the
    importance of situating a society’s cultural and artistic expressions
    within a historical context.
  • Examine the
    influences of intellectual, religious, political, and socio-economic
    forces on social, cultural, and artistic expressions.
  • Identify
    major historical developments in world cultures during the eras of
    antiquity to the Renaissance.
  • Use technology
    and information resources to research issues in the study of world
    cultures.
  • Write clearly
    and concisely about world cultures using proper writing mechanics.

Points: 200

Assignment 2: Project
Paper 
 Comparative Essay

Criteria

Unacceptable 
Below 60% F

Meets Minimum Expectations 
60-69% D

Fair 
70-79% C

Proficient 
80-89% B

Exemplary 
90-100% A

1. The level to which the instructions were followed.
Weight: 15%

Did not submit or incompletely followed instructions.

Insufficiently followed instructions.

Partially followed instructions.

Satisfactorily followed instructions.

Thoroughly followed instructions.

2. The establishment of a clear thesis and the extent to which
all parts in the topic were addressed.
Weight: 20%

Did not submit or incompletely established a thesis or 
address all parts in the topic.

Insufficiently established a thesis or addressed all parts in
the topic.

Partially established a thesis and addressed all parts in the
topic.

Satisfactorily established a clear thesis and addressed all
parts in the topic.

 Thoroughly established a clear thesis and addressed all
parts in the topic.

3. The adequacy of information, specific examples, and details
which support the general thesis.
Weight: 20%

Did not submit or incompletely provided adequate information,
specific examples, and details which support the general claim or main idea.

Insufficiently provided adequate information, specific examples,
and details which support the general claim or main idea.

Partially provided adequate information, specific 
examples, and details which support the general claim or main idea.

Satisfactorily provided information, specific examples, and
details which support the general claim or main idea.

Thoroughly provided information, specific examples, and details
which support the general claim or main idea.

4. The coherent organization of the points of comparison and the
paper overall, with relevant content and persuasive presentation.
Weight: 20%

Did not submit or incompletely provided coherent
organization of the points of comparison and the paper overall, with relevant
content and persuasive presentation.

Insufficiently provided coherent
organization of the points of comparison and the paper overall, with relevant
content and persuasive presentation.

Partially provided coherent
organization of the points of comparison and the paper overall, with relevant
content and persuasive presentation.

Satisfactorily provided coherent
organization of the points of comparison and the paper overall, with relevant
content and persuasive presentation.

Thoroughlyprovided coherent
organization of the points of comparison and the paper overall, with very
relevant content and persuasive presentation.

5. 3 references minimum number and quality
Weight: 5%

No references provided

Does not meet the required number of references; all references
poor quality choices.

Does not meet the required number of references; some references
poor quality choices.

Meets number of required references; all references high quality
choices.

Exceeds number of required references; all references high
quality choices.

6. Clarity, writing mechanics, referencing, and APA formatting
requirements, including a reference list and matching in-text
citations. 
Weight: 20%

More than 8 errors present  and problems of clarity and
mechanics and proper APA formatting.

7-8 errors present and some problems of clarity and mechanics
and proper APA formatting.

5-6 errors present  and few problems of clarity and
mechanics and proper APA formatting.

3-4 errors present but generally good clarity and good mechanics
and APA formatting.

0-2 errors present and excellent clarity and mechanics and APA
formatting.

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