Paper I: Analysis of Theories of International Relations
Research Required: Current events/news source. All readings assigned between October 2 and October 21 are relevant for the paper. In this assignment you will develop an argument based on the essays in the reader, supplemented sparingly (if at all) with the textbook and lecture notes. The current events research that is required is minimal.
Required Essays: A total of 6 essays.
The overview essay by Jack Snyder, plus the following, by theory:
Realism Liberalism Constructivism
Mearsheimer Doyle Wendt
AND AND AND
One of the following: One of the following: Finnemore
A word on sources: Be sure to use all of the required essays. Do not leave out the Wendt article, for example. Also, you should NEVER use the textbook or the class notes to make a point that is also made in the reader. For example, if Doyle discusses democratic peace theory, explain that theory using HIM, not the textbook or notes. One of the purposes of this assignment is to determine how well you are able to put the ideas from the reader?s essays into your own words. Using the textbook or class notes makes it impossible for you to do this critical part of the assignment, so your grade will suffer quite a bit if you give insufficient attention to the essays. Basically, you should not need to use the textbook or class notes at all; the assignment revolves entirely around the required essays indicated above.
Prompt: Summarize each of the three theories and defend one of them as being superior to the others in its ability to explain one major situation in world politics today. This assignment requires you to do all of the following in your paper:
1) Summarize realist theory in your own words, citing the required essays listed above. You MUST properly and accurately cite these essays. In addition, if necessary, you MAY also cite the textbook and/or the lecture notes, but only as a supplement to your overview of the essays. NO OTHER RESEARCH MAY BE USED. This assignment measures, among other things, your ability to understand the essays that are required for this segment of the course.
2) Repeat the process listed in step 1, for liberalism.
3) Repeat the process listed in step 1, for constructivism.
4) In one short paragraph, give a brief overview of the factual situation going on right now that you will use to test the theories.
5) Explain how each theory, by its own terms, would explain what is going on in your factual situation. Do this for each theory, one at a time, being sure to carefully link the assumptions and logic of each theory with the facts of your case.
6) Defend one of the theories as offering the best explanation of the situation, explaining the basis of your evaluation.
Citations: You may use any established citation style. If you have any questions about the proper format or rules of citation, a guide is available on the library website here:
The best essays will use paraphrases and summaries rather than direct quotes. If, however, you find it difficult to put the ideas into your own words and your paraphrases end up looking a lot like the original wording, just use a direct quote. Remember what the syllabus said about plagiarism: it is easy to do by mistake if you are not careful, and we will penalize you if your wording too closely resembles that of the sources you use, even if you include a citation.
While we don?t have a hard-and-fast rule about how many citations are required for each of the mandatory sources (and there are two per theory?six in total?plus those used for your current issue and the Snyder essay), don?t be shy about including MANY citations. It is hard to imagine that you can adequately summarize a theoretical essay using less than four or five cites, but you will not be graded based on the number of citations you use, but on whether you use them where you need them.