PSCI 3440 - Forum

  PSCI 3440

  RUSSIAN AND CENTRAL

  ASIAN POLITICS


  DIPLOMATIC FORUM SIMULATION

  AND WRITING ASSIGNMENTS

Overview


While the breakup of the Soviet Union was mostly peaceful, some violence erupted on the periphery of the former Soviet space. Many of those conflicts are still unsettled today, earning them the title of "frozen conflicts." Our diplomatic forum will give you a chance to role play and discuss (even argue) over who is to blame and how to resolve them.


As a way of exploring the dynamics in the region, the class will participate in a diplomatic forum the final three classes of the semester. Students will be divided into teams, each representing one of the twelve actors. 

  1. The Moldovan government.

Specialist on Transdniestria:

Specialist on the positions of Russia/EU/US:

  1. The Transdniestrian separatist government.

Specialist on Moldova:

Specialist on the positions of Russia/EU/US:

  1. The Georgian government.

Specialist on Abkhazia and South Ossetia:

Specialist on the positions of Russia/EU/US:

  1. The Abkhazian separatist government.

Specialist on Georgia:

Specialist on the positions of Russia/EU/US:

  1. The South Ossetian separatist government.

Specialist on Georgia:

Specialist on the positions of Russia/EU/US:

  1. The Azerbaijani government.

Specialist on Armenia:

Specialist on the positions of Russia/EU/US:

  1. The Armenian government.

Specialist on Azerbaijan:

Specialist on the positions of Russia/EU/US:

  1. The Ukrainian government.

Specialist on Eastern Ukraine:

Specialist on the positions of Russia/EU/US:

  1. The Eastern Ukraine separatists (specifically Luhansk and Donetsk).

Specialist on Ukraine:

Specialist on the positions of Russia/EU/US:

  1. The Russian government (5 students).

Specialist on Moldova/Transdniestria:

Specialist on Georgia/Abkhazia/South Ossetia:

Specialist on Armenia and Azerbaijan: 

Specialist on Ukraine:

Specialist on Eastern Ukraine:

Specialist on the US/EU positions:

  1. The European Union (4 students).

Specialist on Moldova/Transdniestria: 

Specialist on Georgia/Abkhazia/South Ossetia:

Specialist on Armenia and Azerbaijan:

Specialist on Ukraine/Eastern Ukraine:

Specialist on the Russian positions:

  1. The American government (5 students).

Specialist on Moldova/Transdniestria:

Specialist on Georgia/Abkhazia/South Ossetia:

Specialist on Armenia and Azerbaijan:

Specialist on Ukraine/Eastern Ukraine:

Specialist on the Russian positions:


Name

Entity

Emphasis

US

Russia

EU

Georgia/South Ossetia/Abkhazian conflict

US

Moldova/Transdniester conflict

Armenia

Russia, US and EU

South Ossetia

Georgia

South Ossetia

Russia, US and EU

Azerbaijan

Armenia

Moldova

Transdniester

EU

The Russia

Transdniestria

Russia, US and EU

Abkhazia

Russia, US and EU

Moldova

Russia, US and EU

Russia

Georgia/South Ossetia/Abkhazian conflict

Russia

The US/EU position

US

Amenia/Azebaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict

Transdniestria

Moldova

Russia

Eastern Ukraine

Russia

Moldova/Transdniester conflict

Azerbaijan

Russia, US and EU

Georgia

Abkhazia and South Ossetia

EU

Ukraine/Eastern Ukraine conflict

Eastern Ukraine

Ukraine

Abkhazia

Georgia

Eastern Ukraine

Russia, US and EU

US

Georgia/South Ossetia/Abkhazian conflict

Ukraine

Russia, US and EU

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Russia

Ukraine

US

Ukraine/Eastern Ukraine conflict

Ukraine

Eastern Ukraine

EU

Amenia/Azebaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict

Georgia

Russia, US and EU

EU

Moldova/Transdniester conflict

You will research your role by addressing several key questions that will prepare you for the forum. Your preparatory work will be formalized into two writing assignments.


Questions that will be addressed at the forum (and which should guide your research):

  1. What are the grievances of your side? Who is to blame for the conflict to begin with and who is to blame for prolonging it?
  2. What is your position on negotiations that have already taken place (if any) to end the conflict (or at least the fighting)?
  3. What is your proposal for ending the conflict?
  4. What would compel you to launch a military action (or, in the case of the EU, Russia and US, to supply one side with arms)?


Source Material


Google searching is not enough. Google's algorithm cannot be relied on to link to sources that are either reputable or useful. Go here for research guidelines.

Writing Assignment #1: Annotated Bibliography. Due Sunday midnight [11:59 pm + one minute] on Sunday, March 24.


Your first assignment is to locate source material on your assigned role. There are two categories of source material: scholarly/professional and partisan/biased. Your specific assignment is to write an annotated bibliography of the sources you locate for your role.


Part I: Scholarly and "Gray" Literature

By "scholarly literature," I am referring to peer-reviewed journal articles about your assignment. You will find these by using the library databases that Maria Perez-Stable showed you in class on Monday, February 25. The second is the so-called "gray literature" that is not peer-reviewed but comes from reputable foundations, think tanks, international organizations, and other NGOs. These are not necessarily neutral sources and may very well take a side on the conflict you are studying, but they are known for their adherence to the norms of research (i.e., backing up conclusions with evidence).

Find at least six scholarly (and gray literature) sources. NOTE: of these six, at least three must be peer-reviewed sources accessible through the library databases.


Part II: Partisan and "Biased" Sources

Although "partisan" and "biased" are not words that describe most of the assigned research you do in your classes, they are just what you need for your role-playing. You are "partisan" in that you represent one side in a conflict and are not free of bias. Thus, sources that represent a partisan viewpoint of the protagonist you represent will be valuable in shedding your American (or other) skin and adopting that of your persona. Such sources can be from government sites, local newspapers, and local news agencies. For example, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transdniestria (Transdnistria), and Donetsk (eastern Ukraine) all have their own information agencies in English. So do the governments of the region, the EU and the US. In addition, look for speeches by leading political figures on the conflicts: what are they saying to their followers and to the world?

Find at least six partisan sources.


Annotations

Each annotation should be 100-150 words. Address the following (if they are appropriate) along with anything else you deem important. DON'T COPY AND PASTE TEXT (that's called plagiarism!).

  1. What is (are) the main point(s) of the source?
  2. For the directly involved protagonists in each frozen conflict: how does it help you understand the grievances you have?
  3. For the "outsiders" (Russia, the EU and the US), what does it tell you about your positions?
  4. What progress has been made in negotiations to resolve the conflict?
  5. What hope is there for avoiding warfare and finding a lasting resolution?


Format

Heading in upper right corner: name and date only. No title page.

Section I: Scholarly Sources

First source:

Full citation in proper style (see source page for link to citation styles).

Annotation paragraph.

Second source:

Full citation in proper style.

Annotation paragraph.

And so on...


Section II: Partisan Sources

First source:

Full citation in proper style.

Annotation paragraph.

Second source:

Full citation in proper style.

Annotation paragraph.

Lather, rinse, repeat...


See below for instructions for all writing assignments.

Also, see March 20 slides for additional clarification and tips.


Writing Assignment #2: Position Papers. Due Saturday midnight [11:59 pm + one minute] on Saturday, April 6.


You will write position papers on four questions in preparation for the diplomatic forum. Assignments are collective and vary slightly depending on the size of the delegation. NOTE: it is likely that your research for paper #1 will not be sufficient to fully address these questions.


Group A: Moldova, Transdniestria, Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ukraine, Eastern Ukraine.

Group B: Russia, US, EU


Group A: Focus on your principal antagonist (e.g., Armenia vs Azerbaijan) and on whichever of Russia, the EU and/or the US that is not supportive of your position.

Questions:

  1. What are the grievances of your side (i.e., the roots of the conflict)? Who started it and who is to blame for prolonging it? 150-200 words.
  2. What is your position on negotiations that have already taken place (if any) to end the conflict (or at least the fighting)? 100-150 words.
  3. What is your proposal for ending the conflict? 100-150 words.
  4. What would compel you to launch a military action (or, in the case of the EU, Russia and US, to supply one side with arms)? 100-150 words.

Each group within Group A is a two-person team. Submit your paper together under the filename "entity-paper-one.docx" (not pdf) where "entity" is your assigned role (e.g., Transdniestria or Georgia). Total length should not be less than 450 words. A bibliography is not necessary.


Group B: Start with the side of each conflict that you do NOT support. Then move to your opposition within the group. That will usually be Russia vs the EU and US.

  1. What are the roots of the conflict? Who started it and who is to blame for prolonging it? 100-150 words on each of the four conflicts.
  2. What is your position on negotiations that have already taken place (if any) to end the conflict (or at least the fighting)? 100-150 words on each conflict.
  3. What is your proposal for ending each conflict? 100 words (minimum) on each conflict.
  4. What would compel you to launch a military action (or, in the case of the EU, Russia and US, to supply one side with arms)? 100 words (minimum) on each conflict.

Group size within Group B is either four or five students. Submit your paper together under the filename "entity-paper-two.docx" (not pdf) where "entity" is your assigned role (e.g., Russia). Total length should 1500-2000 words. A bibliography is not necessary. 


Pay attention to "instructions for all writing assignments" below.


Instructions For All Writing Assignments


Submitting assignments

You are required to submit your assignments in the elearning dropbox. I won't accept hard copies. Your papers must be in Microsoft Word compatible. (If you use Open Office, use this site to convert to docx format.) Note: Microsoft Works is not acceptable.


Explicit instructions

  • There are minimum lengths (or in the case of the annotated bibliography, minimum numbers of sources and words). Short papers will be penalized severely.
  • Text should be double-spaced with no skipped lines between paragraphs.
  • There should be no spelling mistakes, typos, grammar mistakes, or syntax problems. Verbs should agree with subjects. Sentences should officially end before the next one begins. Don't jump around among tenses. Never use "you." Don't capitalize nouns unless they're supposed to be capitalized. Keep straight the difference between its and it's, and between their, there and they're. And never, ever use apostrophes for plural nouns.
  • Spell-check will not catch all your spelling mistakes. There is no substitution for careful proofreading.
  • Avoid both fluff and excessive verbiage. Don't wander off into tangents. Be concise, but sufficiently detailed to make your argument.
  • I doubt if I need to say this to any of you, but it needs to be on the record: don't play games with margin width and font size to make your paper longer. Margins should be no greater than 1" on the sides and 1" at the top and bottom. Font size should not exceed the equivalent of 11 point Times New Roman or Calibri. Don't skip lines between paragraphs either.
  • Adhere to the deadline. Late penalties are draconian, and could result in your premature death or dismemberment. (Actually, I'm serious. See late penalty policy on the syllabus page).
  • One third of your grade will be on writing quality and on whether you followed these instructions. If you write a brilliant paper, but one that's sloppy and ill-written, and does not correspond to the parameters written here, you can get a D.


Citation Style

Political science uses Chicago style. See the lib guide for a link to Chicago. If you know MLA or APA, you may use it. But note: BE CONSISTENT, and DO NOT make up your own style. You may find it easiest to use a site that automatically formats your entries such as Knightcite.



Grading Scale


Writing Assignments

113-120 = A

106-112 = BA

100-105 = B

94-99 = CB

88-93 = C

82-87 = DC

72-81 = D

below 72= E

Forum Scale

103-110 = A

97-102 = BA

91-96 = B

86-90 = CB

80-85 = C

75-79 = DC

66-74 = D

below 66 = E