ASSIGNMENTS

Before beginning any of the assignments, remember to read and/or review the Research Handbook.

Overview of Assignments

Assigned readings, lectures, and discussions in seminar sessions are aimed at developing a conceptual vocabulary and analytical frameworks that will be relevant to seminar participants in producing their own research papers—either by applying, adapting, amending or critiquing what is covered in these sessions.

Active participation is a graded component in this seminar. Participants will have questions, comments, and opinions to share. However, if daunted by speaking spontaneously, or feeling that there is a competitive environment where a few voices dominate, participants should approach the seminar director concerning the option of presenting prepared summaries of assigned readings.

In terms of the assignments in this seminar, all of them are geared toward the production of participants’ research papers, as part of a step-by-step process of mentoring and review.

This is the complete schedule of assignments, and what they represent in terms of the overall grade for the seminar:

Participation (worth 20%).

Research Paper Prospectus (worth 10%). Please send via email, as an attachment in .odt, .doc, .docx, or .rtf to maximilian.forte@concordia.ca. Due on October 3.

Structured Outline and Working Bibliography (worth 10%). Please send via email, as an attachment in .odt, .doc, .docx, or .rtf to maximilian.forte@concordia.ca. Due on October 17.

First installment of draft paper (worth 10%). Please send via email, as an attachment in .odt, .doc. docx, or .rtf to maximilian.forte@concordia.ca. Due on: October 31.

Second installment of draft paper (worth 10%). Please send via email, as an attachment in .odt, .doc. docx, or .rtf to maximilian.forte@concordia.ca. Due on: November 14.

FINAL PAPER (worth 40%): please send via email, as an attachment in .odt, .doc. docx, or .rtf to maximilian.forte@concordia.ca. Due on December 3.

Description of the Assignments

Research Paper Prospectus: A prospectus identifies the topic that you intend to investigate, and the kinds of questions and/or problems your paper seeks to address. You should be indicating what you want to research, and why. When you submit this assignment, you will not have had time to learn most of the concepts presented in this course—however, please offer at least a preliminary outline of how you intend to conceptualize and explain your argument, and this may draw on theories you have learned in other courses. Finally, explain how the proposed research paper intersects with the key concerns of this seminar.

>>>The prospectus, with your name, email address, and proposed title of your paper, should be typed single-spaced and must not exceed 500 words. It is due by midnight on October 3, and you will receive an email confirmation of receipt by the next morning.

Structured Outline and Working Bibliography:

Structured Outline: This is best explained with an invented example below.

Official Rationale for Invading Iraq [this would be a heading in your eventual paper]

  • Shifting explanations for the invasion [an example of a point covered in this section]
  • The WMD argument
  • Why the work of weapons inspectors was halted, undermined
  • Colin Powell’s speech at the UN Security Council—key points
  • Bush’s address to the nation

International Law and the Invasion of Iraq

  • Key statements from legal scholars, diplomats
  • Quotes from UN Charter
  • Insider statements from UK and US governments

The Meaning of Occupation and Iraqi Resistance

  • How occupation is defined under international law
  • Extent of resistance, how resistance was characterized by US officials
  • … … … etc. etc.

Your outline should encompass your paper, as you envision it, from start to finish. With this outline ready, you should be in a position to start filling it in, using the headings to organize your notes, and start writing up each section.

Bibliography: Hard work and initiative are of course very much rewarded in this seminar, while also boosting the chances that your work will be published. The items listed in your bibliography typically amount to a total of 200 pages of reading, not including assigned readings that you may use.

Aim for diverse sources: primary documents (such as speeches, papers produced by international organizations or government departments), newspaper articles, websites, academic journals, books by non-academics and public intellectuals, videos, etc.

For this assignment, you must use the seminar Handbook as found on the course website, particularly to structure the writing, to locate sources, and for the format for a list of sources.

>>>The outline and bibliography, with your name, email address, and proposed title of your paper, should be typed single-spaced, and has no word limit. It is due by midnight on October 17, and you will receive an email confirmation of receipt by the next morning.

First Installment of Draft Paper:

To ensure that students start early in writing up their papers, you are required to submit the first pages of your paper, anywhere between one (1) and two (2) single-spaced typed pages. This is not a formality, or an exercise meant to stand on its own—you must present the material that you actually intend to produce for the final paper.

>>>The first pages of your paper, with your name, email address, and proposed title of your paper, should be typed single-spaced, and must not exceed 1,000 words. References must be included, and are not part of the word count. It is due by midnight on October 31, and you will receive an email confirmation of receipt by the next morning.

Second Installment of Draft Paper:

Picking up roughly where you left off with the last assignment, you are required to submit the next set of pages of your paper, anywhere between one (1) and two (2) single-spaced typed pages. This is not a formality, or an exercise meant to stand on its own—you must present the material that you actually intend to produce for the final paper.

>>>This set of pages of your paper, with your name, email address, and proposed title of your paper, should be typed single-spaced, and must not exceed 1,000 words. References must be included, and are not part of the word count. It is due by midnight on November 14, and you will receive an email confirmation of receipt by the next morning.

Final Research Paper:

For this it is imperative and mandatory that you carefully read and follow all of the rules and guidelines as set out in the Handbook for Research Papers in the New Imperialism Seminar. Failure to do so could result in such penalties as to jeopardize your passing this component of the seminar.

In general, participants should not feel confined to using only academic sources, only disciplinary sources, and only items in print. An enormous wealth of papers, essays, and reports are available online, many from credible authorities and from excellent institutional, professional, and journalistic sites. In addition, many of those materials are authored by key actors in the very events that we discuss—and unless a paper is intended to be theoretical in nature, this seminar places emphasis on the use of primary sources.

The aim should be for a sustained, in-depth examination of a given topic area, backed up by comprehensive reading of analysis, commentaries, and official documents where these are available. Also, you should focus first on using primary documents (published interviews, government papers, speeches, UN statistics, the websites of key actors—are just some examples), unless your paper is a theoretical treatment (in which case you must read the key theoretical works of relevance).

Papers of a theoretical nature are welcome, focusing on key concepts or ways in which debates have been analytically framed. Reviews of the most important literature on a given topic are also welcome, as long as they are well structured and aim towards some conclusion.

Otherwise, researchers should aim for a good sample of sources: newspaper articles, websites of the organizations or associations concerned, whitepapers, critical commentaries, and academic articles or book chapters. In no case should a researcher work with only one book. While there is no “magic number” of sources one should be citing in one’s essay, it is expected that on average the more advanced papers will be using the equivalent of between 10 and 25 substantial sources, beyond assigned readings (which may be included). Your sources can also include YouTube or other videos.

Topic areas in this seminar can be very diverse. Research projects must fit within the parameters of the course. Some examples could include, among others:

  • The New Imperialism: Histories and Theories
  • Liberal Imperialism
  • The New Military Humanism
  • The “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P)
  • Corporations and the war industries
  • Militarism in society and culture
  • Media and empire
  • Gender, sexuality, human rights, and interventionism
  • NGOs, neoliberalism, and foreign intervention
  • Anthropology, Sociology, and empire
  • The militarization or “securitization” of Social Science
  • The Minerva Research Initiative
  • US “soft power,” theory and/or practice
  • Information operations, PsyOps, public diplomacy: US or NATO cases
  • The national security state: US, Canada, or another NATO member state
  • Surveillance, foreign and domestic: US
  • Domestic Surveillance and Counterinsurgency in Canada
  • Case studies, involving foreign intervention, such as: Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Libya, Haiti, Venezuela, Iran, Syria.
  • The US and Bolivia/Venezuela/Ecuador, or other cases
  • Canada and Haiti
  • The Eastern European “Colour Revolutions” as a vehicles of US Intervention

WARNING: Do not recycle/replicate/resubmit/re-use papers you have written in other courses, either in whole or in part. That is a serious violation of the Academic Code of Conduct at Concordia University and could result in severe penalties….Besides, challenge yourself by doing something new, it’s what learning is all about.

>>>Your final research paper, with your name, email address, and title of your paper, should be typed single-spaced, and must not exceed 5,000 words. It is due by 12:00pm (12h00) on Wednesday, December 3, 2014, and you will receive an email confirmation of receipt within three hours of the passing of the deadline.

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