POLS 2000 – Research Essay

POLS 2000 – Research Essay (30%)

For this assignment, you will be expected to write a mid-length (6-8 pages double-spaced, regular font size, 1500-2000 words) paper using course materials and some independent research.

Studies of Canadian foreign policy often begin from the assumption that Canada is a well-intentioned participant in international affairs, developing its policies by balancing its own needs with a reasonable consideration of the needs of others. From this standpoint, Canada might succeed or fail at effectively balancing those interests, but Canada’s fundamentally good intentions are never questioned. But what if this assumption is flawed? What if the goals of the Canadian state are not so benevolent but, rather, are rooted in the imperatives of the Canadian capitalist project, which began in the French and British colonial occupation of this land? This would require a very different kind of examination of Canadian foreign policy, which would measure not just the outcomes of Canadian policy but also its motivations. This assignment will ask you to conduct just such a study.

You will choose one country* and examine Canada’s relationship with that country in light of Canada’s colonial roots. While the paper should be focused on the relationship between Canada and that country, the explicit purpose of the paper is to connect the logic of Canada’s policy in your country to the logic of the original colonial project, to see to what extent they are similar.

Your grade will be primarily (but not entirely) based on:

1) Is your argument coherent and well-supported? Do you use historical information to make a strong and convincing case?

2) Have you dug beneath the superficial level of most analysis of Canadian politics and illustrated a capacity for more critical thinking about the choices Canada makes?

3) Is your writing clear, direct, and simple? Have you spoken authentically as yourself? Significant or misuse of grammar and synonym software makes your writing incoherent and reads as plagiarism: avoid this.

4) Have you used and cited your sources appropriately? You can use any citation format you want, but it needs to be consistent and clear and you must use your sources in good faith (that is, do not misquote them or use their statements out of context).

Please note: it will not be sufficient to repeat back to me what we discussed in class for your paper. The assignment is specifically about connecting the example of the country you’ve chosen to Canada’s colonial roots, so although there will be some overlap with what we talk about in class, this is a different analytical exercise.

* You may choose any country that you think will be a good fit for the assignment. I recommend choosing one of Afghanistan, Haiti, or Honduras, which we will have looked at in class. You could also choose: Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela, Iraq, Libya, Israel/Palestine, Serbia, Kosovo, Russia, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Mali, Sudan, South Africa, Congo, Ghana, Niger. When you have decided which country you plan to study, you must confirm with me that the case you have selected will fit the assignment.

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