Guidelines for Writing a Political Theory EssayProfessor Anna Marie Smith A.
Elements of a successful political theory paper
Remember that your assignment is designed as an exercise in interpreting political theory. Emphasize the theoretical aspects of your answer.
Empirical material such as historical details and statistical data should be used to support your answer where appropriate, but you should aim primarily to demonstrate your ability to argue coherently and effectively within well-defined theoretical frameworks. Your goal is to present an accurate treatment of the basic interpretive facts, but then to conduct a dialogue with the text and to give your opinion on the theoretical problem at hand.
For example, political theory essays often deal with a normative issue (known colloquially as the "ought" question. thought that the achievement of genuine racial equality would require both the elimination of discrimination against African-Americans and the redistribution of income from the wealthy to the poor. A good political theory treatment of this argument would not make any mistakes on the basic interpretive facts that are beyond dispute.
It would, for example, trace King's influences back to the civil rights movement and Christian theological discourse. But it would also move into the realm of the "should" statement as well.
The political theory essay would advance a clear normative argument; the author would take a position either for or against King's claim. Now an economist might respond to King argument by seeking to find an absolutely precise measurement of the distribution of wealth in the United States and the developed world during the 1960s.
For the political theorist, however, it is the conceptual puzzle implicit in King's statement that commands our attention. According to King, how is the distribution of income related to racial inequality? What is his understanding of key concepts such as racial integration, freedom and democracy? Why did he believe that the passage of civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s had not brought racism to an end? In your opinion, is King's argument persuasive? Note that the reader cannot, in all fairness, expect the political theory essay to present a "correct" answer. The political theory essay attempts to persuade the reader by advancing a compelling argument that is well supported by detailed and insightful interpretive work.
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Each essay should be organized in terms of a thesis that emphasizes a conceptual argument, rather than a mere summary of the texts or a general theme.
Take a position, state clearly what your position is, and then mobilize textual references to convince your reader that you are right, and that you have approached the question in a fair-minded and thoughtful manner Best websites to buy college political philosophy coursework US Letter Size 112 pages / 30800 words Writing from scratch at an affordable price. | 25.12.2017| 157| 324 .
Essays that are not built on a thesis tend to summarize the text and to wander aimlessly from point to point. Engage with the themes of the course and the texts that we are studying. A good paper strikes the reader as a work that could not have been written unless the student author had attended the course lectures/seminars, taken part in class discussions, and engaged with the assigned reading.
Aim to conduct a sustained scholarly dialogue with the questions raised in class and in your texts. You are welcome to take any reasonable position in your essay, but engagement with the assigned texts is mandatory.
Think of it this way: you can choose, within reasonable limits, the position "from" which you will speak in your essay, but you must speak "to" the assigned reading. Political theorists should aim to define terms with great precision.
Political theorists contribute to the study of politics by shedding new light on the conceptual dimensions of key political problems. As soon as you introduce a term into your essay, you should define it very clearly.
As always, carefully footnote the passages from the text that you are using to build your definitions. Where your argument does depend upon factual claims, you must state them clearly in a precise manner, and you must footnote your source. Leave yourself enough time to write a full outline and multiple drafts. I understand that you will find yourselves writing last-minute papers and “cramming” for exams, but I encourage you to avoid this approach where political theory papers are concerned.
The best theoretical papers take a great deal of reflection and critical revision. Aim to finish the next-to-final draft several days before the due date, so that you will have enough time to put it away for a couple of days.
Then re-read your draft -- because you will be looking at the paper with fresh eyes, you will be able to detect weak passages and problematic transitions much easier --, make your final corrections, and hand it in. Put your analytical voice at the forefront throughout the essay. The political theory essay is never just a research report that collects a number of quotations and strings them together; we want to see evidence that you have done the appropriate reading and that you are thinking independently and creatively about the text. Always remember that the essay is an academic mode of discourse. Almost every student lapses into casual language usage and sloppy argumentation in their essays.
Do not use the kind of words, phrases and arguments that you would use in other contexts, such as e-mail, your personal journal, conversations with friends, journalistic articles or an address to a political rally. In political theory writing, the more you strike a thoughtful and scholarly tone, the more your reader will trust your judgment. On a few occasions, you will quote directly from the text.
This can be particularly appropriate when you are dealing with a richly textured passage in which the text advances an argument that is central to your paper 1 Nov 2017 - Mla essay proposal format youtube social 30 essays columbia coursework directory quizlet research papers on technology in the classroom mean cosi essay love and fidelity essay question about powerpoint template essay writing contest 2014 trinidad flag proper opinion essay format my best teacher .
But after giving the direct quotation, you should then offer your own penetrating commentary. Do not fill out your answers with long direct quotations from the text.
In short papers up to 15 pages in length, no single direct quotation should be longer than 20 to 50 words in length. Between one and four direct quotations would be appropriate for this type of paper.
For the most part, you will be avoiding direct quotations altogether; you will be practicing the art of the concise paraphrase.
You should choose appropriate passages from the text and put them in your own words, taking care throughout the paper to capture the nuances of the text, and to footnote the original source. ) Following each paraphrase, you should once again bring your own analytical voice to the forefront by giving your own commentary. In other words, your paper should never strike the reader as a simple set of textual summaries.
Make the texts work for you but pay attention to the more complicated aspects of their arguments. Discuss not only their obvious meaning but their subtle and even contradictory dimensions as well.
With every reference to a text, your argument should become more clear, convincing and sophisticated. When analyzing the text of a given theorist, carefully reconstruct the argument in your own words, with full notation as required. Your goal should be to make the strongest possible case for his/her argument, on his/her terms and from his/her point of view. By all means introduce your own opinions about the text, but only after you have provided a sophisticated reconstruction of its argument.
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If you are opposed to an argument, you must nevertheless recognize its strengths. By the same token, you must indicate the weaknesses and contradictions in the texts that you happen to favor.
Any essay that fails to do this will miss the opportunity to engage in advanced forms of interpretive work. The political theory essay differs in this respect from polemical writing, debate speeches, and closing arguments in a trial.
If you agree with the text without carefully reconstructing its position, then your agreement will come too easily and you will fail to note the text's own contradictions and weaknesses. If, by contrast, you criticize the text without considering its strengths, you will be reducing the text to a "straw man" and engaging in a dismissive reading where subtle, detailed and sensitive commentary is required.
Use the non-expert scholar figure as your target audience.
Write your paper as if you will be submitting it to a professor who studies politics, but who is not an expert on the material you are dealing with. This will remind you to use any complicated terminology sparingly, to define all key terms thoroughly, and to avoid taking for granted the meaning of complicated debates and issues.
Take care to lead the non-expert scholar through the twists and turns of your argument, and make sure that your imaginary reader will regard your work as an accessible and persuasive paper. Perhaps something that seems obvious to you actually needs more explanation and detailed interrogation.
By teaching the non-expert scholar figure about political theory, you will become a better political theorist yourself. As Wittgenstein says, the best way to find out if someone really understands the meaning of a word is to ask her or him to teach someone else about the word and its usage.
Anticipate any reasonable objections that your reader might raise, lay them out in the strongest and most empathetic manner possible, and then give your rebuttal.
You may find that this process will actually lead you to reconsider your own position and spur you to write a richer and more penetrating paper 11 Dec 2017 - How to get an political theory thesis proposal Academic Custom writing 8 pages / 2200 words originality Best website to write a custom political theory thesis proposal A4 (British/European) Business 24 hours 100% plagiarism free Anthropology dissertation. owl purdue online writing lab .essay..
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Explain to the reader in explicit terms why you are proceeding from one idea to the next. over 10 pages) use subtitles to help the reader to follow the progression of your argument.
Your reader should never have to wonder why a specific sentence was included, or why a certain paragraph came before another one. Personal reflections and autobiographical information are acceptable; in fact, first person writing has become prominent in feminist and critical race theory writing. ) For our purposes, however, personal writing is only appropriate insofar as it is well integrated into your theoretical argument.
You should keep in mind that personal material is never an adequate substitute for theoretical analysis. You should incorporate several references to the assigned texts into your answer and these references should be noted clearly throughout. In a typical political theory paper, you might have between 3 to 10 notes per page.
Attach a bibliography if you have not made reference in your footnotes to every source that you consulted while conducting your research and writing the paper Any essay that fails to do this will miss the opportunity to engage in advanced forms of interpretive work. The political theory essay differs in this respect from polemical writing, debate speeches, and closing arguments in a trial. If you agree with the text without carefully reconstructing its position, then your agreement will .
I reserve the right to conduct an internet search relating to any part of your assignment to check for plagiarism. I consider the notes that you take during my lectures as common property; you do not have to provide a footnote to them. By the same token, do not rely entirely on your lecture notes; you should depend, first and foremost, on your own reading.
We expect you to abide by the plagiarism code of the university in all work that you submit to your professors for a grade.
Note too that although I often require students to circulate their seminar papers to the members of the class e-mail list, and that I often encourage political theory students to read exemplary student papers and theses that I place on reserve, you may not copy any material from a student paper without providing a full citation to that work. This rule often raises a lot of questions in students' minds. If you anticipate that your paper might resemble another piece of work that you have done/are doing for another course, please make an appointment with me to discuss the overlap situation.
Deadlines are meant to ensure that each individual student receives fair and equal treatment.
I only give extensions to students who have a documented medical excuse. Please deliver your paper, in hard copy format, to my mailbox on the second floor of White Hall, by 4:30 on the due date. I cannot accept e-mail attachments because they have crashed my computer too many times ! Some short examples of writing styles.
(Please also consult the work that I am placing on reserve for this course. Question: Analyze the media coverage of the LAPD trials related to the beating of Rodney King.
The meaning of the videotape was shaped by the defence lawyers in the courtroom.
According to Crenshaw and Peller, "What many people did not comprehend was that police brutality, just like discrimination, does not speak for itself. This very struggle over meaning is precisely what the intense contestations about race in the law are really about.
Rather than providing some kind of firm ground to challenge racist institutional practices, notions of formal equality, objectivity, neutrality, and the like tend to obscure the way that race is experienced by the vast majority of African Americans in this society. " (Crenshaw and Peller 1993: 64) So we can see that oppressed people cannot control the ways in which the law is used against them.
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