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For assessment deadlines, see Tabula.

  • Seminar contribution (10%)
  • 1500 word essay (10%)
  • 3000 word source based essay (40%)
  • 3000 word essay (40%)

For details of the submission of assessed work, click here.

NB Each assessed element will be marked according to the standard assessment criteria. Students should ensure that they follow the MHRA style guide carefully, especially for the presentation of the footnotes and the bibliography.

Seminar contribution (10%)

Based on participation in all module seminars. Measurement of student assessment/engagement by means of a self-assessment form.

1500 word essay (10%)

This first essay is intended to give you the chance to reflect on the broader methodology and/or theoretical introductions studied in the opening weeks of the module. Possible titles include:

  • How do China specialists discuss the place of travel literature in the context of China's literary heritage (i.e. literary and historical sources)?
  • Which theoretical or methodological text about travel literature (not related to China) is relevant for those studying Chinese travel literature and why?
  • Is travel literature an independent genre in the Chinese context?
  • Why did people write about travel in the history of the Chinese empire?
  • What characterizes Chinese travel literature?
  • is the work of Mary-Louise Pratt on contact zones relevant for the Chinese case?
3000-word source-based essay (40%)

For this source-based essay, please focus on one travel account (of the ones we have studied) from the first 5 weeks of the module. For this essay, the general question is: how can the travel account you have chosen be used as a way of writing about the history (of the specific period) in China? You are discussing the text as source, so keep the source central in your discussion, and consider how the questions below have an impact on the ways in which the text can be used as historical source:

  • when was it written? Does that matter?
  • why was it written? Is it even possible to identify this? Does it matter?
  • for whom was it written? And how is that audience different from the way you wish to use it?
  • how has it been transmitted? In what way do you have access to it now? Has the transmission/translation/publication history of the text had an impact on how you want to use it?

You will need to refer to some secondary sources (circa 4-5 titles), to show that you understand how other scholars have responded to the source before you. You may wish to consider how your proposed use of the text as source differs from or offers a new perspective on the ways in which other scholars have used this text.

3000-word essay (40%)

For this final essay, we are asking you to focus on one or more travel records (those discussed, or if you prefer, one of the ones from the list of further travel authors listed at the end of the Talis Aspire list) in combination with theoretical materials related to one of the themes discussed in the second half of the module, so: diplomacy, gender, race, science and scientific exploration. If you would like to explore a different theme, please make an appointment with me to discuss well in advance.

  • the aim is to make a contribution to the historical scholarship by using a specific primary source. The focus is thus more on historiography and methodology, and less on the source itself (to distinguish this exercise from the source-based essay).
  • the question is again very broad, and should be adjusted to reveal the specific focus of your essay: 'how does the historiography of this topic change when we take into account what this specific source has to offer'.
  • please draw on the same skills you acquired in the source-based essay in terms of the critical use of a source, but combine that with a theoretical or methodological approach discussed in the module.
Feedback on assessment
  • written feedback on Tabula
  • one-on-one tutorial meetings
  • discussions within the seminar