Overview of Course Assignments

  1. The course is a seminar. Therefore, all students are expected to read the materials before each session and be ready to engage in class discussion.

  2. A two-page position paper on an assigned topic will be due before most classes. This paper is due in my mailbox, or in my email inbox, by 3 pm the day before class. These papers should be a focused critique of the major argument of a reading. Students are encouraged to refer back to previous course material when appropriate. The primary purpose of the paper is to enhance discussion so students are encouraged to elaborate on more controversial issues and be ready to defend their own positions in class.

  3. A comparative paper of at least twenty pages is due at the end of the course. This paper must be comparative. The student can decide to compare two cases or multiple cases, but this decision, as well as the specific nature of the comparison (most similar case design, most different case, most similar combined with most different) must be discussed with the professor. The student must also discuss and justify the comparative research design within the paper. Why were alternative designs rejected? Furthermore, this paper must include at least one of the cases from the course (Bosnia, Columbia, El Salvador, an African case). Students will present an outline of their project to the class during one of the last two sessions.

  4. Roughly, class participation (including the presentation of an outline of the student's comparative paper) and the position papers each account for one-quarter of the grade, while the comparative paper will account for one-half.