political studies

Written Assignments

Papers should be approximately eight to ten pages in length which does not include citations (footnotes or endnotes) and bibliography. Students are strongly urged to access a source on citation and bibliography styles. The most common style used in international relations is the Chicago Style. See this site for information on how to cite using the Chicago Style (https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/chicago_manual_17th_edition/chicago_style_introduction.html) Students are free to select any citation style, but must only use one style consistently. Papers without citations is called plagiarism, and will receive an automatic F. There is no requirement to use a specific number of books or journal articles for your bibliography. Primary sources (those closest to the topic are best. E.g. a UN resolution is better than someone’s interpretation of the UN resolution).

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Early in the first term, a full class will be devoted to a presentation on writing papers, including the use of citations (how and when).


Below you will find the list of topics to choose for the assignment. Sometime prior to the due date of each assignment, a lecture will be devoted to each topic as a means for students to orient themselves to the topic, especially at the theoretical and conceptual level. These lectures will provide the basis for approaching your paper, but further research is required. As access to the libraries are very difficult in the current circumstances, students are strongly advised to acquaint themselves with the online e-journal collection available via the UoM library website. The librarian assigned to Political Studies is Asako Yoshida. Feel free to contact her for assistance. See https://libguides.lib.umanitoba.ca/prf.php?account_id=54949 or email Asako.Yoshida@umanitoba.ca

The library’s collection provides access to all the major professional academic journals in the field of international relations (see suggested list below). In addition to these sources for your research, additional useful material, including think tank reports and newspaper articles, can be located via the basic internet search engines. Be advised though – do not use Wikipedia as a research source. It is unreliable and avoid using sources lacking a professional imprint (i.e. avoid individual blogs etc).

It is vitally important for students to recognize that there is no right or wrong answer per se. As you will find out in your research, there are no shortage of different arguments related to each topic. Your task, on the basis of your research, is to provide your assessment of the topic and support it by employing your sources and empirical evidence. You will be evaluated not on your answer per se, but on your ability to communicate a clear and cogent assessment.

In this regard, you will not be graded explicitly on your writing skills. Writing clearly and effectively is a skill that take time and repetition, and one of the purposes of this course is for you to develop this skill.

Choose any one of the following topics.

• What is the impact of World War One on contemporary world affairs? Include the following:

• A brief discussion of World War One focused upon the new ideas or issues that emerged from the war;

• A rationale or explanation for your decision to select these ideas or issues;

• An evaluation of their contemporary impact.

(Please Note: You, of course, may decide that World War One has no impact today. If so, you will still need to undertake steps a and b above, but c becomes an argument for why they have no impact today.)

• What are the origins, purpose, and issues confronting any International Organization today? Include the following:

• A brief discussion of the origins of the selected International Organization;

• Identify the Organization’s purpose and its nature;

• Identify, including a rationale or explanation of the issues facing the Organization and their implications for its future.

• What are the origins, purpose, and issues confronting any International Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) today? Include the following:

• A brief discussion of the origins of the selected NGO;

• Identify the NGO’s purpose and its nature;

• Identify, including a rationale or explanation of the issues facing the NGO and their implications for its future.

Prominent E-Journals for Research

This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you research by subject and/or key word, you will find a range of articles from different journals. Sometimes, it is also useful to access a specific e-journal, and then search within it by subject and/or key word.

Foreign Affairs The Washington Quarterly

International Relations Review of International Relations

International Organisation European Review of International Relations

International Security Security Studies

World Politics Foreign Policy Analysis

The Economist

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