political science critical commentary

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For this course, students are required to write three critical commentaries. Commentary #1 is due online by 9 am on January 30th. This commentary should explore topics in the readings assigned through January 30th.

The aim of each paper is comparative inquiry and analysis, not mere description. The emphasis is on reasoning and critical thinking. It is not enough simply to recapitulate what each reading has to say about a given theme. You must compare and contrast what they have to say about a topic of your own choosing. To do this, you must evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the types of analysis and theories presented, and offer some conclusion of your own. Thus, each paper should include the following:

  • A clear, persuasive introduction with an explicit thesis statement and a roadmap to tell me where and what you will try to demonstrate in the paper.
  • A very brief summary or literature review of the selected readings for the paper, with an emphasis on key arguments, type of analysis and conclusions found in each work. Avoid summarizing details. Stick to the main points.
  • A brief summary of the theme to be discussed in your paper. What are the issues involved and why are they important? What do we learn from each paper?
  • A comparative inquiry and analysis of what the readings have to say about the theme. What do we learn from these discussions? How does the chosen analysis advance or weaken the key arguments? Which cultural or political perspectives are at play? What remains to be learned?

Important Notes:

  • Papers are due online on before the start of class (9:00 am). Late papers will be accepted by email for up to 48 hours, but will receive a deduction for tardiness.
  • Each of the three papers should be 5-8 pages double-spaced with normal 1” margins and 12 pt., Times New Roman font.
  • All papers must be in APA style and include in-text citations and a full bibliography.
  • In grading your commentaries, I will evaluate the ideas you present, how you link your ideas to course materials and how well the paper is organized and executed. A rubric is available on Canvas for further information.

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