International Relations Project
Objective: You and a partner will research and analyze a current international relations conflict that does not directly involve the United States. An IR conflict occurs when one sovereign state has a strong disagreement or antagonist relationship with, or adopts a coercive foreign policy against, another sovereign state. It could be war or violence, but it may also be a trade, border, humanitarian, or other conflict.
You will analyze the conflict through several lenses—its origins (installment 1), the IR theory that best explains it (installment 2), and the international organizations that play a role in it (installment 3). Lastly, you will propose a viable solution to the conflict (installment 4).
Audience: Imagine that you are writing a series for The Atlantic, a leading magazine that abides by the commitment to be an “organ of no party or clique,” in other words, to be unbiased. Your audience is the readers of this magazine who are generally well-informed about and understanding of basic international relations themes and philosophies.
Keep in mind: This is a semester-long project, broken down into four separate writing installments as presented below. As you move forward with this project, it grows because you are incorporating all previous installments.
You will use the same IR conflict as the basis for your entire IR project, so be sure to choose…
• an international relations (not domestic) conflict that interests you,
• a conflict that does not directly involve the United States,
• a conflict significant enough that you can successfully write the installments, and yet
• a conflict not so overwhelming that you can’t adequately address it within the confines of short installments.
Project proposal—Submit your project proposal on Moodle in the form of a brief (3-4 sentence) description of the conflict that you’ve chosen. Include both your and your partner’s name. One submittal per partner.
Four Installments—You will write four installments for this project, ultimately creating your final project. As you move forward with this project, take into consideration my feedback on previous installments. Making the same or similar errors on subsequent installments will incur strong penalties.
Installment 1: Identify an international relations conflict, taking into consideration the above parameters. Describe the conflict and its origins. (600-1000 words)
Installment 2: Consider the major IR theories (realism, liberalism, constructivism, post-modernism, Marxism, and feminism). Which one best explains the conflict that you have identified? Evaluate the conflict through the lens of that theory. (600-1000 words)
Installment 3: Investigate the roles that at least two international organizations have played in this conflict. Describe and analyze their roles in helping to resolve (or exacerbate) the conflict. (600-1000 words)
Installment 4: Propose and defend a viable solution to the conflict. Considering the situation in full (maybe economic interests, the role of terrorism, the history of the conflict, leadership, security issues, or other contextually important elements), explain why your proposed solution is likely to be successful. (1000-1200 words, counts twice the others)
Does not meet Meets Exceeds
Objective 2 4 6 8 10
You adhere to the parameters of the objective
You demonstrate an understanding of material
Content 2 4 6 8 10
You explain ideas clearly and in detail
You avoid generalizations and incorporate specific examples as needed
You synthesize ideas
You critically analyze
Organization 1 2 3 4 5
The content is logical and flows nicely
The project is neat and well-formatted
Writing 2 4 6 8 10
Your writing is clear and concise
Your communication is skillful and fluent
Your installment is publication-ready (free of typos and grammatical errors)
Evidence + support 2 4 6 8 10
You include textual evidence that supports your writing
Your sources are sufficient in number and well-vetted (credible, relevant)
All sources are properly referenced using in-text citations
and a Works Cited listing at the end (MLA formatting)
Logistics 1 2 3 4 5
Your installment is the appropriate length
Your contributions are equal those of your partner
You submit your paper on time and as a word or google doc