Term Paper Assignment

Topic Due:                                     Tuesday, March 23

Rough Draft Due:                       Tuesday, April 20

Revised Draft Due:                    Tuesday, May 4

Length: 1500 – 2000 words (6-8 double spaced pages)

The purpose of this paper is to dig more deeply into a subject or theme from the class that sparks your interest. I would like you to cast your topic in the form of a question. From that starting point, you will offer possible answers, backed by relevant evidence.

The aim of this assignment is to produce a piece of writing that you are proud of, and that can serve as the basis for future research or as part of a portfolio of work that may be useful to you once you have graduated. Also, I hope you learn a lot about a topic you’re interested in, as well learn useful strategies for conducting solid academic research.

In the next couple of weeks, we’ll spend some time talking about how to make use of the library to do reliable and informative research, and how to separate useful sources from useless ones. I’ll post some how-to lectures on YouTube, and we’ll discuss these in class.

On Tuesday, March 23, you’ll send me a Google Doc that includes your topic question as well as three possible answers to, or explanations of, that question. These can be very broad! But I want you to think about what paths your paper might follow early on. I also want you to include three possible sources you plan to use for the paper. Via this Google Doc, I will approve your topic or ask you to clarify it, and once that’s done you can start working on the draft.

On Tuesday, April 20, you’ll send me your rough draft in a Google Doc. I will read and comment on all of the drafts, and everyone will schedule a time to talk to me about the draft and how to proceed with revisions. These will take ten minutes or so, and I’ll circulate a sign-up sheet later in the month.

On Tuesday, May 4, you’ll send me the revised draft in a Google Doc, which I will read, comment on, and finally grade.

The paper should be formatted as follows:

●   Title page with name, class number (POLS 1230), and the title of the paper

●   Chicago Style citations

○      https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-2.htm

●   Size 12 font in Times New Roman, double-spaced

●   1 inch margins all around

●   Page numbers

I encourage you to use anything we have discussed or read in class as a point of departure. Below are some ideas and themes that might get you thinking. The questions you submit to me on March 23 will be more specific than these:

●    Why does Hobbes think fear is such an important emotion for understanding why humans form governments?

●    How does Locke try to justify slavery within his theory of freedom, and how successful is he?

●    Is it more accurate to interpret the Constitution as a revolutionary or as a counterrevolutionary document?

●    How has political violence in American life been justified in the past and present? What are the implications of these justifications?

●   Are democracy and capitalism compatible with one another?

●   Why has the paranoid style of politics become more prominent in recent decades?

●    How does popular culture interpret or reflect American politics? Does pop culture encourage conformity or resistance to the status quo?

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