MSU Integrative Studies in Social Science
ISS 325. Revolutions and the Modern World
Short Paper 2
As you know, the question of the relationship between a revolution’s leaders and its broader social base has been important both for social scientists and for revolutionaries themselves. This assignment gives you an opportunity to explore that issue for our Chinese case.
Assignment: How were the strategies and policies of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in tune – or out of tune – with the social experiences and political aspirations of “the people” they claimed to represent? How well did the party’s revolution fit with the views, interests, and needs of the population at large? Take a specific position on this question, with reference to one of the following five contexts: the Jiangxi and Yan’an Base Areas (1930-47); anti-Japanese resistance and Civil War (1937-49); the foundation of the People’s Republic (1949-mid-1950s); the Great Leap Forward (1958-1960); or the Cultural Revolution (1966-69).
As before, the goal is not to give a comprehensive account of your chosen context. Rather, your essay should make and support an argument – a specific, debatable claim – that responds to the question above, using and citing specific passages from our course materials as evidence. Your essay must also:
? cite the textbook at least once and cite at least one course lecture, to help ensure that you are relating your specific claims to their historical context.
? cite at least two other sources, from the course pack or from the in-class video clips (linked from D2L), to help ensure that you draw on the full range of available evidence.
Do not bring in material beyond what you have read for class and heard in class. Make sure to see the additional handout for guidelines on how to write a successful paper.
Considerations: As we’ve discussed, the CCP under Mao Zedong was explicitly concerned to maintain a “democratic” kind of contact and feedback between itself and “the people.” In this paper, you must take that goal seriously, but you must also evaluate its success, taking into consideration evidence of the party’s strategies and policies and evidence of people’s actual views and experiences. How well did the CCP realize its aim, during the phase of the revolution you have chosen? Finally, as we’ve discussed, Chinese Communists gave rural people and rural life a privileged place in their theory and strategy. You are very welcome to focus on peasants, but you are not required to do so; peasants were not the only social group included in the CCP’s definition of “the people.”
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Your paper should be three to four pages long (double-spaced), using twelve-point font and one-inch margins. It must be submitted in hard copy as well as online. For the hard copy, please mark it with your name, please print double-sided, and please do not include a title page. For the online copy, please remove any identifying information (your name and ID) and submit the file to our D2L dropbox. All papers will be analyzed using Turnitin; see below for information.
The paper is due at the start of lecture on Tuesday, November 10. Late papers will be penalized by five percentage points per day.
Consistent with MSU’s efforts to enhance student learning, foster honesty, and maintain integrity in our academic processes, I have chosen to use a tool called Turnitin to compare your papers with multiple sources. The tool compares each of your papers with an extensive database of prior publications and papers, providing links to possible matches and a “similarity score.” The tool does not determine whether plagiarism has occurred or not. Instead, your instructors will make a complete assessment and judge the originality of your work. All papers for this course will be checked using this tool. You should submit papers to Turnitin Dropboxes without identifying information included in the paper (e.g., name or student number). The Desire 2 Learn system will automatically show this information to your instructors when we view the submission, but the information will not be retained by Turnitin. (If you forget and submit your paper with your identifying information on it, then it will be retained by Turnitin.) Your submissions will be retained only in the MSU repository hosted by Turnitin, not in the global Turnitin repository.

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