POLB80 Essay

POLB80 – Essay questions and instructions Basic details:

Grade value: 35% of your final grade
Due: June 18, 4pm Toronto time

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Submit to the ‘Final Essay’ tab of the ‘Assignments’ tab
Late entries are penalized 5% per day
Double-spaced, include your name and student, course code; no separate title page is needed Length: No longer than 2,500 words
Minimum of 5 academic sources; newspapers or video clips can be cited but do not constitute academic sources
Reference style: Any academic style is fine, but just be consistent (consult with your TA for further guidance if you’re unsure; here are some examples and explanations: http://www.yorku.ca/igreene/citgd.htm)
The paper should have a clear introduction (under 1 page), ‘body’ paragraphs laying out your arguments with evidence and analysis (roughly 1-2 pages in length per sub-point), and a conclusion that restates your argument
Write clearly and in straightforward language; let your brilliant ideas shine through. And yes, edit many times before submission
Choose one of the below topics to write about

Essay topics:

  • Why has war become less common than in the past? What has civil (intrastate) war become more common than interstate war?
  • Is ‘anarchy what states make of it’? Is war between the United States and China inevitable?
  • Have we reached ‘the end of history’? Is liberal democracy a force that is leading to and sustaining a more peaceful world?
  • Has the world been better off under a global capitalist system? Are multinational corporations (MNCs) a positive or negative force in the global political economy?
  • Why has humanitarian intervention become a norm and practice in an international system based on sovereign states, non-interference and the non-use of force?
  • Does the global economy’s dependence on oil make any meaningful limiting of carbon emissions impossible?

Instructions and pointers:

  • Answer the question. Any sentence (or paragraphs) in the paper that is not answering the essay question should be cut. Stay focused.
  • Use at least 2 or max 4 sub-points to make your argument. These are all some version of a ‘why’ question, so they must have ‘because’-type reasons (see below for examples).
  • This argument (thesis statement) should be written clearly in the introduction and repeated in the conclusion.
  • Take a firm stance on the question; persuade the reader of your argument, but also be humble and show that there is another side (or sides) to your argument. The bulk of your paper (‘body’ paragraphs) should be devoted to your argument and those sub- points, but the best papers include some counterarguments.
  • Your argument should be framed by at least one IR theory and related concepts, though your essay should also make mention of others (especially in the counter-arguments).
  • Your paper should stay at a 5,000 foot level; in other words, you can discuss specific cases, issues or events from history or the news, but the reason for this must be 1) to answer the central essay question and 2) to bolster your argument, which must include at least one IR theory. In other words, don’t get lost in the woods; this paper isn’t about telling the reader everything you know.Consult with your TA. This is an excellent way to test your arguments and ideas, and perhaps find out about different resources that can strengthen the paper.ExampleNote: this essay question was not given, but the structure of the answer with several sub-points should be mimicked in your paper
    Essay question:
    Why did the post-Cold War world and the collapse of the Soviet Union not result in an unraveling of the US-led alliance system as well?Argument:The post-Cold War world and collapse of the Soviet Union did not result in the unraveling of the US-led alliance system because US military and economic power was too great to be effectively balanced against in a relatively short period of time, US allies continued to enjoy the benefits of this alliance (especially security guarantees) which allowed these states to focus on issues of ‘low politics’ like economic growth, and a ‘democratic peace’ of peaceful and cooperative values had grown between the US and its allies.

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