International Relations–Paper One Assignment

Academic use theories as a lens/filter through which to analyze and discuss important events in international relations. In that way, we can understand more about the event and compare it to other events, which we believe may have similar characteristics and causes.  We’ll be using IR theories profusely in this course so it is important that the student has a strong understand of the main theories used in IR.

Introduction to International Relations Paper 1–Using Theory to
Understand Stuff

As Mingst notes in the conclusion of Chapter 3, the theoretical lens/filter through which one views the world determines to a large extent what one sees. Realists look at the Iraq war and see and understand it in a particular way, whereas radicals/Marxists see the same event and interpret it very differently. For this first paper assignment, I would like you to select an important event in international politics (it could be as grand as the Second World War, or less grand–the US decision to boycott the Olympic Games in Moscow in 1980) and critically analyze from the perspective of two competing
IR theories. Some of the elements of the paper should be:

  • A description of the basic tenets/principles of the competing IR theories.
  • Reference to any levels-of-analysis that are important in understanding the event.
  • A short description of the event itself (i.e., the who, what, where, when).
  • An assessment of the event from a theoretical perspective, including an evaluation of which of the theories provides more support for understanding why the event occurred, or why it developed in the manner in which it did.

You will obviously use Chapter 3 of the Mingst book (Essentials of International Relations) as a source for the paper. For information related to your specific states, you will have to consult at least 3 other academically reputable sources. Note that this means Google is not your friend here!! This will entail a trip down to the library by foot, or a virtual trip to the library’s electronic resources. Finally, use the course page at the Library’s web-site for further sources to use.
Your paper should be 4 − 5 pages long (maximum!!), double-spaced on 8.5X11 − inch paper, with 1-inch margins on the top, bottom, and the sides. The paper must be written in Times Roman 12pt. font, with a separate title page and works cited page.3 The paper is due electronically via Digital Dropbox in Blackboard by the beginning of class on Wednesday, February 20th4. Finally, I
will also require that you electronically append a “paper evaluation sheet to the end of your paper, which I’ll use as a rubric to evaluate the paper. (Once again, I’ll show you exactly how to do this next week.)

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