Intro to International Relations–Second Paper–Morality and IR

A major component of the second half of this course was using the theories we learned in the first half to analyze international issues from a moral perspective. The second paper allows students to choose a topic that they find interesting and analyze it from a moral perspective. Here’s the assignment:

PLSC250–Intro to IR–Second Paper–International Ethics

Increasingly, the role of morality has played an important role in the conduct and analysis of
international affairs. For this paper, you will write about a topic in international relations that has an explicitly moral component. You can use the Amstutz book as a guide, or go to the journal Ethics and International Affairs for some other ideas. The choice of topic is wide open except for two conditions:

  1. You must not write on the same topic as your first paper!
  2. You may not use specific cases out of the Amstutz text. That is, if Amstutz has written a case about it, you are not allowed to write on that particular topic. Thus, you are free to write about the ethics of intervention, but do not use Kosovo as your case, as Amstutz doesin Case 1.1. You could choose to write on intervention in Somalia, or East Timor, instead.

Given the preceding, here’s what your paper should address:

  1. A topic that has an explicitly moral/ethical component.
  2. You should take a side on the issue. In other words, this should be an argumentative piece, in which you set out a clear declarative statement regarding the crux of the moral issue. For example: “In this paper I will argue that the the United States should lead a boycott of Canadian-made products (like hockey players, maple syrup and Celine Dion) as a means of stopping the annual baby seal hunt in Canada’s north (which, by the way, has just begun). I will prove unequivocally that the seal hunt violates basic international moral norms and that the means proposed to end the hunt are themselves morally legitimate.”
  3. You should argue why you believe the side for which you are arguing is the correct one. Thus, your ethical reasoning should be explicit. (We’ll discuss more about ethical reasoning in class on Monday.)
  4. The paper should be 4-5 pages in length, 1-inch borders on 8.5X11-inch paper. In addition, the paper should be formatted in the same manner as the first paper. Please also refer to videos I have posted on how to format the paper correctly (with correct page numbering, etc.) and also how to easily create a works cited page using Noodlebib. Remember also to copy and paste the paper evaluation sheet to the end of your paper. Instructions on how to do this are also in one of the videos.
  5. The paper is due electronically via Digital Dropbox on Monday, April 14th, by the beginning of class.

Good luck!

P.S. 1If you are uncertain whether your proposed topic is appropriate for the assignment, speak with me about it.