Week 13: R-Logs – Research Paper Working Outlines… (due Sun, 4/9, by midnight)


The semester is moving fast… This week for our R-Log please share a working outline of your research paper. Remind us of the focused question(s) your paper is exploring, brainstorm and share your thesis or main point(s) of argument, and then lay out the main sections that will compose the body of the paper and the sources you have (primary and secondary) that will help you flesh out the discussion in each of them.

Consider this an opportunity to map out the bones and skeleton of your project in progress, develop analyses, and also nail down what your next steps need to be as a concrete plan of action for research and writing.

GIF: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

7 thoughts on “Week 13: R-Logs – Research Paper Working Outlines… (due Sun, 4/9, by midnight)

  1. Two films I wanted to compare and contrast were “The Chinese Connection” starring Bruce Lee and “Ip Man” starring Donnie Yen. The main character in both movies is inspired by the same martial artist Ip Man and ironically, the end of Ip Man shows the introduction of one of his students coming to train under him, who ends up being Bruce Lee himself. I wanted to examine the political environment of foreign relations oh mainland China and in Hong Kong, since both movies take place during the same period of history in China, while one was made in the 1960s immediately following the Cultural Revolution of Mao Zedong while Hong Kong was under British rule, and Ip Man was filmed in the 2000s in Beijing after British rule but under Chinese populist regime. Even when not under Mao or Chinese rule, the spirit of the revolution has continued through subtle references in Chinese film throughout generations, despite foreign and political oppression.

    Similar themes I have found in both movies include the harsh history of combating Japanese occupation around the late 1920s to early 1930s, and the strength of the Chinese fighting spirit, consistently showing Lee’s character Cheng and Ip Man battling many combatants (1 vs 5/10/15) and still coming out victorious with relative ease, even when the enemy fights with weapons and dishonorable methods. Both movies show the man and his spirit are the weapon, a troupe that has continuously been copied in many action and fighting movies produced in the United States years later starring other Chinese martial artists who became actors because of Lee, and other movies who follow the 1 vs all fighting scenes such as Transporter and Batman V Superman.

  2. Chinese Perspectives on War
    Both of my films are rather recent, coming out in 2009 and 2016. The first film, “City of Life and Death” is about the infamous Rape of Nanking during which the evil Japanese imperialists sacked the Chinese capital city. The second film, “My War” is a shamelessly obvious form of propaganda meant to instill strong pro-Chinese sentiment among its audience. However, unlike “City of Life and Death,” “My War” was a commercial failure. My paper will explore the reasons why one film was celebrated and the other was boycotted.
    Firstly, “City of Life and Death” was an emotional drama that did not gloss over the horrors of warfare. On the contrary, “City of Life and Death” was completely saturated in dark and uncomfortable themes like rape and murder. Not only did it promote nationalism by demonizing China’s natural enemy, Japan, but it was a powerful social commentary on the true cost of war.
    “My War” was about the Chinese involvement in the Korean War. Historically, this lead to the tragic death or maiming of hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers. Also, unlike the Sino-Japanese war in which China was the innocent victim of an invasion, China’s involvement in the Korean War was seen as an unnecessary expression of geopolitical theatre. “My War” was a bright and colorful celebration of the brave, young, and attractive Chinese soldiers who marched to defend North Korea from those capitalist southerners.
    People watch war movies for lots of reasons. Sometimes it’s for national pride. Other times it’s for remembrance or just plain old hype. What makes a war movie successful? It could be budget, director, promotion, or a combination of all those things. Both films came out recently enough for this information to readily available and easy to compare. I will also look at critical reviews of both movies to see if my thesis that the depiction of war is a strong variable is true.

    -Zainab Imbabi

  3. The two films that I am comparing are “Flowers of Shanghai” and “Lust, Caution”. The movie “Flowers of Shanghai” focuses on the drama that goes on in the brothel while “Lust, Caution” is about a university student that becomes a spy ordered to carry about an assassination. The main reason I chose these films were because both of these are Taiwanese films that have a strong focus on gender roles. In both of these movies, the main characters are conflicted by both sexual and emotional relationships when it comes to their work, in “Flowers of Shanghai” because the women are prostitutes who need these men they sleep with to provide for them while in “Lust, Caution” is because the main character is a spy that is assigned to sleep with her target in order to get close to him.
    My main goal is to focus on the double standards for women when it comes to sex and work and also how women are very itemized in these movies. These movies both show strong itemization of women because of how easily these women seems to be tossed aside at the drop of a hat. Also they both show double standards because of in these movies it is okay for the men to have emotions and act upon them but it seems to be viewed wrong for women to do the same.

  4. The two films I will be comparing are Jia Zhangke’s “Still Life” (2006) and Wong Kar-wai’s “2046” (2004). The main elements that I will be looking at are each film’s take on memory, family, love, social alienation, globalization, and China’s shift towards a market based economy. While I am still hammering out my thesis, my plan is to highlight how interpersonal relationships, either familial in the case of “Still Life,” or amorous in the case of “2046,” are used as a way to relate the alienating effect caused by China’s adoption of market based economic policies, and the increasing influence of globalization on the people of China.
    Perhaps my most important source for analysis of Jia’s film is the article by Ping Zhu, “Destruction, Moral Nihilism and the Poetics of Debris in Jia Zhangke’s Still Life” which interprets extensively “Still Life’s” use of popular music, debris as a character in and of itself, and Jia’s moral categorization based upon how characters relate to memory and the past. Beyond “Destruction” there are a healthy number of scholarly articles that I can make use of, and even a few interviews where Jia speaks about his experience making “Still Life”. So far, my efforts on Wong have been less forthcoming. I have not yet found any in-depth scholarly analyses of “2046;” however, I have found a few articles on groups of Wong’s films, and some movie reviews of “2046”. While I have not found as many sources for Wong’s work, I have not exhausted my research opportunities, and I will be doing so over the coming week.

  5. The two films I will be analyzing are “Red Detachment of Woman” and “Legend of Tianyun Mountain.” The film “Red Detachment of Woman” focuses on the character Wu Qionghua, who joins the Communist Women’s Army to wrought revenge on her former master. This film focuses on the strength of the women who seek the Communist ideals and follow them unwaveringly. The “Legend of Tianyun Mountain” offers a chance for the audience to remove the rose tinted glasses and reveal the scars and trauma that the Communist and Cultural Revolutions brought the Chinese people. In this film, the female character Song Wei leaves the man she loved, Luo Qun, because he was classified as a ‘rightist.’ These two films were both directed by Xie Jin and reveal the differences in normalized femininity in 1961 and 1980. The films reflect Chinese societal beliefs and/ or realities of daily life. This paper’s main focal points are how the Cultural Revolution shaped masculine and feminine gender norms, what is the trauma narrative in “Legend of Tianyun Mountain” trying to convey to the audience, and why were the women in these films depicted in this way.
    The sources I am using to back up my claims are “Ten Years of Madness,” “Revolution Postponed: Women in Contemporary China,” “Personal Voices: Chinese Women in the 1980’s,” “Masculinities in Chinese History,” Chinese Femininities Chinese Masculinities,” and “From Ideal Women to Women’s Ideal: Evolution of the Female Image in Chinese Feature Films, 1949-2000.”

  6. The two movies I’m comparing in my research paper are The Opium War (1997) and Lin Tse-Hsu (1959). Both films chronicle the First Opium War (1839-1842) between China’s Qing Dynasty and Queen Victoria’s Great Britain. The First Opium War marked the beginning of a period of increased interference in China by foreign powers. The eventual peace agreement (Treaty of Nanking, 1842) gave Hong Kong to the British and opened Qing China to foreign trade. Both movies were heavily influenced or funded by the PRC’s government. Lin Tse-Hsu was released only 10 years after the Communist revolution in China and The Opium War was (coordinated to be) released to mark the repatriation of Hong Kong to the Chinese in 1997.
    Both movies feature Imperial Commissioner Lin Tse-Hsu (Lin Zexu) who was tasked by the Daoguang Emperor to end China’s growing opium problem. Both films detail Lin Zexu’s efforts to combat the opium trade. This angered British Opium traders who pressured the British Crown and Parliament to use their superior navy to force the opening of trade with China.
    I want to evaluate the differences in the ways that both films portray the British intervention as well as their portrayal of the competence of Chinese officials. Like many films of its time, Lin Tse-Hsu paints the Chinese people as righteous and powerful, but stymied by ineffectual leadership. Lin Tse-Hsu suggests that the British victory was the result of ineffectual Qing Dynasty leadership despite the indomitable Chinese spirit. The Opium War also uses this trope often showing members of the Chinese bureaucracy either taking bribes from merchants or actively addicted to opium. However, The Opium War does clearly show the technological gulf between adversaries that led to China being so thoroughly stymied.

  7. The two films I plan on focusing on are the 1939 Film: Mulan Joins the Army, and 2009 Mulan: Rise of a Warrior. Both films follow a woman soldier named Mulan who joins China’s army in her father’s place. Both films are set during the Northern Dynasties which was a period in the history of China that lasted from (420 to 589 AD), following the tumultuous era of the Sixteen Kingdoms and the Wu Hu states. It is sometimes considered as the latter part of a longer period known as the Six Dynasties. Though an age of civil war and political chaos, it was also a time of flourishing arts and culture, advancement in technology, and the spread of Mahayana Buddhism and Daoism.
    My main points of focus for this paper will be to give background knowledge on the historical era of China during this time and how it relates to the treatment and role of women from a cultural standpoint. In ancient Chinese culture the role of the women was largely restricted to their homes. They were taken as a liability until they reached the age of marriage when they were given away to another family. Based on that knowledge, I will compare the character of Mulan to other women during the same time period and elaborate on her historical significance. I will primarily use historical texts and articles related to ancient China during these years as well as other sources to give further background knowledge on Mulan and women of ancient China. One such text includes: Wilt Idema, Mulan: Five Versions of a Classic Legend

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