POLS 4910.03 Fall 2010
Violence and Security Capstone
Course Location: McLaughlin College 114
Prof. Elizabeth Dauphinee
Office Location: 634 South Ross Building
Office Hours: Tuesdays 10:00-12:00 or by appointment
Tel: 416 736 2100 x 22552
This course is designed to familiarize students with a selection of interventions on violence and security in a way that allows them to integrate and synthesize their previous three years of undergraduate study in Political Science. Students are expected to have a reasonable grasp of contemporary problems related to the nation state as a historical actor, and should be able to consider the course texts in the context of some of these problems. The course will provide theoretical and disciplinary frameworks in which to consider issues of violence and security. The second half of the course will also include essay development workshops that are geared toward providing live feedback on students’ own research. The overall aim of the course is to familiarize students with lived consequences of violence and security in everyday global political life, and to provide a selection of frameworks in which that violence is made theoretically and intellectually intelligible. This course is heavily oriented toward theorizing violence and security in the contemporary world. While current events and themes are highlighted week to week, they are always considered in theoretical context.
This course aims to provide students with a thematic ‘cap’ on their undergraduate Political Science experience. All students in the course are fourth-year honours Political Science majors. The course is therefore an opportunity for students with similar backgrounds of study to explore the issues raised by the course material in a coherent and mutually beneficial way. The course is designed to contribute toward students’ continuing capacity to critically analyze the politics of violence in every day life, and to consider how the desire for security may itself stand as the primary source of violence in the global context. By the end of the course, students will be familiar with a range of sources documenting the multiple contexts through which violence and security intersect. Students will be able to present their ideas both individually and in a group setting, and will continue to develop their skills in research, writing, and the presentation of original argument in discussion and in their written work.
The course will be conducted by weekly seminar. Honours-level seminars require that students read and participate actively and regularly in seminar discussions. Without your participation, the seminar objectives will fail. If you do not read, you will be unable to participate effectively in the seminar. This course does not provide lectures. It is a small-group, critical discussion setting.
Participation: 10% (ongoing)
Student participation is crucial to the success of the seminar. You are expected to read and participate fruitfully and usefully in class discussions. Please keep your interventions on-topic, and related to course readings and/or other courses and experiences you have had as a York Political Science student.
Weekly Response to the Readings: 20% (ongoing)
Your effective participation is assured by the submission of a weekly written response to the readings. The weekly written assignment will normally be based on questions distributed in class the week before, which also serve as a guide to the readings. There may be occasions when students will develop their own questions to answer. This assignment should be no more than 1 single-spaced page each week and does not require outside research. Each response piece is worth 2% of the final grade. You are expected to submit responses for the 9 weeks of assigned readings (in other words, everyone gets 2% for free). If you take the assignment seriously, you should not have any difficulty accumulating a strong average in this area. An effective analytical summary of the readings for the week, along with your own assessment of their merits, should in turn assure strong participation in the class. Thus, good standing for 30% of your final grade should be a relatively simple accomplishment.
Class Leadership – 1.5 hours: 20% (ongoing)
The first half of each seminar will be led by student teams. These will be prepared and presented by groups of three or four students (depending on class enrollment). Please take the opportunity to be creative in relation to the material, and to include (where and if applicable) ideas and issues raised in other relevant Political Science courses you have taken. The first 30-45 minutes of class time should be geared toward a discussion and debate of the readings for the week. The questions for the week may be used as a springboard for discussion, but you should bring your own questions and issue to the group as well. Further details are attached to the end of this outline.
Major Essay Outline with Annotated Bibliography: 10% (due November 2)
This is a classic essay proposal plan with annotated bibliography. It should be no more than 2 pages in length and should indicate what, exactly, the essay will be arguing, how it will anticipate and respond to critique, and what sources have been identified to date. You should include short descriptions of the material you have read (i.e., annotate your bibliography). You will be graded on the coherence, feasibility, and thoroughness of the proposal. **Note: it is understood that proposals may change slightly as the research progresses. This is normal and not a cause for panic. Further details on exactly what should be included are attached to the end of this outline.
Major Essay: 30% (due December 7)
This is the classic, argumentative essay. It should be 10-12 pages in length, and you must submit an essay plan with annotated bibliography as ‘clearance’ before you begin major writing. I will not accept essays that have not been cleared first through the essay outline exercise, so plan ahead and don’t start writing until your topic has been approved.
**Extensions: all assignments are due in the class on the dates indicated. Undocumented late submissions will lose 2% per day they are late, including weekends (i.e., 4% for weekends). Receipt will be acknowledged either by hand delivery to the instructor, or as per the date stamped by the department on the course drop box (if used). Please note that extensions will only be granted in advance and in cases where documentation is provided. Documentation includes a note from a doctor’s office indicating clearly how long the student’s illness affected her or his performance (a note simply indicating visit to a clinic is not sufficient). It is understood that personal circumstances may impact student performance. If you face personal circumstances that prevent you from completing course requirements in a timely manner, please inform the instructor immediately. The university also provides resources to assist students facing difficult personal circumstances.
Students with Disabilities:
Accommodations for students with disabilities is standard university practice, and all instructors are familiar with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). You must be registered with the Office for Persons with Disabilities or the Counseling and Development Centre (housed in the Bennett Centre for Student Services) in order to be eligible for accommodation. Once you have provided the relevant office with your documentation, please inform the instructor so that appropriate accommodation can be arranged in your specific case. Your information will remain confidential.
Seminars and Readings
**Please note: I have endeavored to provide readings that are available online via York’s e-journals access. For this reason, there is no course kit for purchase. It is up to you whether you wish to print the articles in advance of each class, but it is highly recommended that you do so. Laptop computers will not be permitted in the seminar except during workshops, when students are receiving live feedback on their work.