writer’s choice

Please see attached files:

* “Dialogue” Word file, tells you exactly what you need to know.

* the PDF files can be cited, in addition to “The Hindu World, by Mittal & Thursby”.

Important: simple language with no complications is recommended.






The point of this exercise is to engage other people’s ideas and perspectives about South Asian religions, their diversity and unities, in a sustained and critical way.  You may choose one of the following sets of ‘participants’ as the characters in your dialogue. Remember that this dialogue is not a private note to your professor.  It is a ‘public’ document, so you can’t assume that your anonymous reader will intuit connections between ideas that you present, or that the point of your dialogue will be self-evident.  While a single thesis may not be possible given diverging views, a single question for the dialogue should be identified in the first half page of writing.  You must develop your (and/or the characters) argument logically and provide sufficient evidence to illustrate your claims. Imagine your reader to be someone who is generally well-read, intelligent, and curious (but not particularly knowledgeable) about your topic.



You are required to use a minimum of fifteen key non-English terms (for example, bodhisattva, triratna, atman, pratitya samutphada, samatha, vipassana, maechi, bhikkuni, sannyasi, dharma/dhamma, svadharma, bhakti, etc.) in your dialogue, carefully defining your terms as they are introduced.  Please integrate basic definitions into your own text, leaving more elaborate discussion of terms for footnotes.


As the mention of footnotes implies, the dialogue must cite its sources (in a style you choose but that is consistent) and include a Works Cited Page.  Textual support from the course’s sources (not from the web or elsewhere unless approved by the professor) is also required—use quotations from our texts (with page numbers), as well as from the primary texts most associated with and/or relevant to your figures.  The latter aspect is particularly important, so that you show the ways in which your interaction with the primary texts adds new dimensions to the standard, textbook account.  No more than three citations of the Mittal and Thursby textbook are allowed.  The dialogue should be 5-6 double-spaced pages in length.   While this dialogue should generally be more focused on the specifics of Buddhism (and Hinduism if doing Option B), excellent essays will make connections to the broad themes of the course and to questions in the study of religion.






Choose one of the three sets:


A. the Buddha, Gotami and Maechi Wabi.



B. the Buddha and Krishna



C. Swamiji, the Buddha and Maechi Wabi



Further instructions:  After choosing the participants you want to work with, determine the ‘focus’ for your dialogue.  See Part 3.1 of the Dialogue Guide.  Then outline a structure for the dialogue—what do you want to include, how will you develop the ideas, where do you want the dialogue to end up?  Try to have this whole sheet read and these questions answered before class next Tuesday.


Draft the dialogue only after this preliminary work is finished. (You may certainly ask a colleague from our class to read your dialogue draft and make suggestions based on the Dialogue Guide and their own good sense.  If you do collaborate in this way, be sure to acknowledge your colleague’s help.) Finally, be sure to edit, polish and use adequate references and sources!  Footnotes are a good way to include clarifying points or explanations.





Dialogue Guide


A dialogue is not the same as a conversation, transcript, or interview.

A conversation usually meanders. It has dead ends, is repetitious, drifts among topics, and does not move directly to the heart of the matter. In contrast a dialogue is written and edited to minimize dead ends and small talk. It has a clear focus, moving toward a specified question.

An interview is a conversation in which one party functions as question-asker; the other, as answer-giver. Typically, the interviewer’s lines are short; the interviewee’s, long and speech-like. A dialogue, on the other hand, aims at mutual interchange.

A transcript is the written record of an actual conversation or interview. A dialogue, however, is edited and shaped; in this sense it is fictional, an imagined discussion (even if based on a real interview) rather than an actual one.

The following are criteria upon which dialogues are judged:






1          BASIC IDEAS


1.1       Comprehension:  How deeply has the paper grasped the basic concepts? How insightful are the questions raised? Does the paper respect the complexity of issues, or does it oversimplify, providing cheap, easy resolutions?


1.2       Originality:  Does the dialogue present and develop your own images, experiences, or ideas? Is there original and/or critical thinking in it? Does the author develop an informed, overt position on major issues?





2.1       Balance:  Have the characters been evenly developed? Or is one of them used as a mere foil to set up questions for the other? Does genuine dialogue and engagement occur, or do the characters talk past one another and engage in monologue?


2.2       Appropriateness:  Are the questions and replies put in the mouths of the discussants appropriate to them? Does the dialogue appropriately represent the attitudes and tones of voice of each character? Does the dialogue avoid caricature and distortion?




3.1       Focus:  Is the topic well chosen and clearly focused on major rather than minor issues? Is the length appropriate to the subject matter?


3.2       Continuity  Does the dialogue have continuity, or is it a disconnected patchwork? Is the logic sound? Are the transitions well handled with appropriate connective devices?


3.3       Style:  Are the writing style, grammar, spelling, syntax, and typing clear and unobtrusive?


3.4       Documentation:  Does the dialogue document fairly and fully quotations, ideas, and phrasing borrowed from sources? Does the dialogue use a standard format for documentation, end- or footnotes, and bibliography?



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