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Guidelines for Japanese Senior Project Proposals

In the spring semester of their junior year, Japanese majors are required to submit proposals for their senior projects. The purpose of these proposals is to make sure that students have plans for a viable project before the beginning of their senior year. The proposals will not be graded, but students will receive feedback from the Japanese faculty designed to help them focus their projects in the most productive direction.

Structure of the Senior Project

All projects must consist of separate fall and spring semester components. There are two options for this:

(I) A translation in one semester, and in the other semester a research project that includes the translated text. For this option, normally the translation is done in the fall, and the research project in the spring. The general expectation is that the translated text should be approximately 20 pages, although the required length may be increased or decreased, at the discretion of the Japanese faculty, depending on the type of text being translated.

(II) Two semester-long research projects, one in the fall and one in the spring, on the literature of two different time periods or genres.

Faculty Supervision of Projects

With both options (I) and (II), there will be one faculty supervisor for the fall portion of the project, and one for the spring portion. Normally these will be two different professors.

The formal paperwork for obtaining a faculty supervisor will be handled in the fall of the student’s senior year for the fall portion of the project, and the spring of their senior year for the spring portion. However, in the spring of their junior year, students are expected to contact faculty members, one for each portion of their project, to secure preliminary commitments to advise them on their project. Students must have secured such a commitment before putting down a professor’s name as supervisor on their senior project proposal.

Requirements for Proposals

Proposals for option (I) should include:

(1) A description of the text to be translated, including:

(a) title

(b) author

(c) genre (e.g. novel, short story, essay, manga)

(d) full bibliographic information for the specific edition that will be used as the basis for the translation, including publisher, publication date, and any other information that would go into a bibliographic entry

(e) the specific pages that you will translate (e.g. pp. 85-105); also, indicate whether the translation is of the entire text or a portion of it

(2) A bibliography with at least 5 secondary sources (in either Japanese or English) that you will use for the research project, as well as a 1-2 page abstract of the research project that addresses the following questions:

(a) What is the topic of the project, and how does this topic relate to the translated text?

(b) Why is this an interesting topic (historically, culturally, theoretically, etc.)?

(c) In addition to the translated text, are there any other primary texts (either in Japanese or in translation) that you plan to use? If so, provide authors and titles of these texts.

(d) What are some questions you will try to answer through your research on your topic?

(e) Based on your research so far, what stance will you take on your topic? In other words, what is your preliminary thesis statement?

(f) Do you have a specific conceptual or theoretical framework that you plan to use to analyze your topic? If so, explain. If your project will take an interdisciplinary approach, what different disciplinary frameworks will it use?

(3) Names of the faculty supervisors for each portion of the project

Proposals for option (II) should include:

(1) Two separate 1-2 page abstracts, one for each portion of the project, that address the following questions:

(a) What is the topic of the project?

(b) Why is this an interesting topic (historically, culturally, theoretically, etc.)?

(c) What are some primary texts (either in Japanese or in translation) that you plan to use?

(d) What are some questions you will try to answer through your research on your topic?

(e) Based on your research so far, what stance will you take on your topic? In other words, what is your preliminary thesis statement?

(f) Do you have a specific conceptual or theoretical framework that you plan to use to analyze your topic? If so, explain. If your project will take an interdisciplinary approach, what different disciplinary frameworks will it use?

(4) A bibliography with at least 10 secondary sources (in either Japanese or English), including at least 5 for each portion of the project

(5) Names of the faculty supervisors for each portion of the project

Schedule

March 28, 2014: Proposals due

Early-Mid April: Proposals will be evaluated by the Japanese faculty

Mid-Late April: Supervisors for projects will provide students with a written summary of the Japanese faculty’s comments and suggestions