Country of Focus Assignment | Top Universities
The final “exam” for this class is a 10-page research essay, which you must submit on Canvas by the due date and time. This paper culminates our study of Middle East politics, and serves as your final exam. It comprises 30% of your total course grade. Late expositions will suffer a scoring penalty of one full letter grade (3.5 points) for every day tardy.
Expectations and Scope
You must apply any one of our broad weekly themes to one Arab country, and from that single case explain why some major event or process occurred. Depending on the theme and country, you can choose from a broad variety of outcomes to explain (e.g., a political episode, an economic problem, a social crisis, an international affair), ranging from the early twentieth century to the current day.
For example, apply our theme about state formation to the case of Jordan, and illustrate how an oil-poor and artificial kingdom under a pro-Western monarchy survived despite the threat of Nasser and Arab Nationalism during the Cold War. Or apply our theme of oil politics to the case of Algeria, and explore how hydrocarbon rents shaped the military regime’s violent response to Islamist opposition in the 1990s. Or, apply our theme of democratization to the case of Egypt, and explain why the 2011 January Revolution succeeded to topple the authoritarian regime under Hosni Mubarak.
As these examples highlight, do not merely summarize past events as historians would, or review current affairs as journalists might. Tell me not what, but why something happened: present a convincing explanation that identifies the causes of a significant event or process.
You cannot furnish a persuasive explanation without hard evidence. Thus, you are required to support your argument by citing at least three (3) academic sources relevant to your country, such as journal articles, scholarly books, and historical material. The required readings in the syllabus do not count; but the recommended readings do. Casual websites, such as Wikipedia, do not fulfill this requirement, and neither do newspapers and magazines—although you are free to use them for background reading. You may find academic sources through the Temple library system, on both the Paley shelves and online databases.
Length and Format
The essay must be 10 pages, give or take a half-page. Your bibliography or works cited page does not count towards this total. Use 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and 1” margins. Do not print a separate title page. Finally, put page numbers on the upper-right hand corner.
Plagiarism will be subject to penalty, so cite all sources properly. Use either MLA or Chicago-style style (i.e., parenthetical references or bottom footnotes), but be consistent. Also, if you have any questions about your choice of topic, please e-mail me or come to my office hours. Finally, remember that the Student Success Center is there to help you.
I will grade each essay according to three benchmarks. First, thesis: is there a convincing and rich explanation? Second, structure: does your writing and argumentation flow logically? Third, evidence: is there robust corroborating proof for the argument?
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