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POLS 3200 – International Security and Conflict Management
GUIDELINES FOR THE DISCUSSION PAPER
For the purposes of this course, a discussion paper is being utilized as a tool to (1)develop one’s writing, analytical and critical skills; (2)contribute to an informed class debate; and (3)allow students to associate theory and practice, or to apply the accumulated knowledge to a case study. As distinct from a research paper, a discussion paper is concerned solely with the level of analysis and assessment of the problem, and possible solutions or outcomes. Read attentively all materials indicated for the discussion paper and weigh, compare, criticize and analyze them as thoroughly as possible. You may resort to other academic sources, provided they relate to the topic and add support and evidence to your own arguments.
The discussion paper is expected to 1)provide a balanced, accurate and well-informed description of the problem object of the discussion, and 2)develop and propose reasoned, well-argued and alternative (where possible) answers to the problem, supported by evidence (definite reasons and examples).
Sources of information must be acknowledged in the paper. If you quote directly, paraphrase, or cite statistics or any information, footnotes or endnotes must show the source. The use of footnote or endnote (with the indication of the respective page(s), when possible) is expected, as it demonstrates actual usage of the sources. Be careful to respect the rules of academic integrity.
The discussion paper must have no more than 2000 words (please write down the word count), with reasonable margins and font size. The paper should be duly revised and show no grammatical and spelling errors. A good writing style should show conciseness and clarity, avoiding long sentences.
Students are required to hand in their papers at the beginning of class (or send it by email, provided it is submitted before the beginning of class), while keeping a copy that will be used during our in-class discussion of the topic.
General Topic for Discussion: Empires as Complex Systems.
Object of Discussion: In the article Sinking Globalization (Foreign Affairs, Mar/Apr 2005, Vol. 84, Issue 2, p.4-77) Niall Ferguson draws on the lessons of the pre-1914 international order to consider the possibility of the current era of globalization receding, and one of the five precipitating causes he examines is imperial overstretch. In the article Complexity and Collapse (Foreign Affairs, Mar/Apr2010, Vol. 89 Issue 2, p.18-32), Niall Ferguson challenges the cyclical theory of history and puts forward the proposition that empires are complex systems which may collapse quite abruptly. Read attentively the two articles and try to correlate their main arguments and ideas and apply them to your appraisal of the current condition of the United States and how it may impact the security of other nations and individuals.