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Want to do some original research? Confused about the relevance of ‘mission’ in a postcolonial era? The Day Missions Collection at YDS is the strongest mission collection in the world, comprising about one third of the Divinity Library’s 500 000 volumes—and it is also the central repository in the United States for China-related mission papers. This course offers students the opportunity to complete an original research project in the library relating to mission in China, utilizing manuscript, microform and monograph materials from the collections. For the first six weeks of the course we read intensively in mission history, theory and practice, schematized through mission narratives. The next four weeks are ‘library lab’ time: supervised reading time in special collection and archive materials within the library, for students to read into and develop projects while help is on hand for deciphering handwriting, providing reference tools for China etc. The final two weeks of the course are dedicated to research presentations and evaluation, with each student offering research findings to the class in any media chosen.
No specific background or language requirements. Some prior study of history or mission is useful but not a requirement; an ability to read Chinese is not needed.
The texts set for each week of the first six are integral to the course: students will be expected to comment intelligently in class on all of the week’s readings.
Presentation of research project (20+ page paper equivalent: this may be a written research paper, or a mixed-media presentation e.g. film clips + commentary etc.; the choice is yours). Papers are expected to be of near-publishable quality, and presentations graduate student conference-quality
Participation in class and discussions: 20%