2015 Hessler Paper

Short Paper Assignment

Due Wed 21 Jan 2015 in Class

This is an assignment to get you to ponder the Hessler readings and also the Brandt, Ma & Rawski paper. It is intended to be a brief paper. You may choose your own topic and approach, but here’s a prompt from my end:

From the material in the Hessler book, what is the biggest challenge that you perceive for improving the Chinese economy? Supplement your argument as appropriate with material from the Brandt et al. paper.


  1. The paper should be at most 3 pages in length, not including bibliography and the like. No cheating: 1″ margins on all sides, 11pt Times new Roman font, double-spaced with one extra space between paragraphs.
  2. If you are to be both coherent and brief, you need a single theme. Not two.
  3. You can take a 2-3 sentences in the first paragraph to place your theme in context, e.g., “Three problems stand out … x, y and z. Here I focus on z.” Your conclusion should extend your theme by sketching a potential policy response or a parallel case (e.g., a comparable issue in the US) or other things we would expect to observe consistent with your theme but not described by Hessler. Your final paragraph should not repeat anything earlier in the paper. After all, it’s short, it’s not a book, so every word should count.
  4. Prose matters. Avoid the passive voice, eschew indefinite modifiers (“many,” “few,” “major”). Again, every word counts, and the passive voice adds words, while meaningless modifiers produce bloat and a sense that (at best) you’re not confident about what you’re arguing or (at worst) are simply purveying bull.
  5. NO footnotes or endnotes. Instead, use in-line citations paired with a bibliography at the end of the paper. So … (Hessler, 36) and then simply (38) for references to page 36 and 38. If you change sources, then (Brandt et al., 15) then (21) and so on until you again change sources. See the Brandt et al. paper for examples.
  6. Hard copy, proofread, and with your name on it…please!!
  7. Acknowledge your proofreader. Use the Williams Communication Center if available (it may not be open this early in the term and this early in the week).