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Premise: The summative is designed to assess (1) how well you understand key theoretical arguments and concepts, (2) your ability to find connections across distinct perspectives, and (3) the extent to which you can situate these connections within the wider field of International Relations. The intention of the summative is to assess how well you understand the material in the module and can creatively “map” the theoretical positions found within the discipline of IR. As such, you are NOT creating a geographical map, showing spatial relations among places, but a
map showing relations between key concepts found in the discipline. Your map will be supplemented with a 1,000-word essay explaining and defending your mapping of the discipline. In the second part of the assignment, you will write an essay discussing the question: Is the academic discipline of IR capable of responding to twenty-first century global challenges?
Mechanics: This assignment is broken into two parts.
PART 1: The concept map (concept map + 1,000 words)
First, you will design your own concept map that
shows the relationships between theories and concepts discussed in the module. Your concept mapping can be as creative as you like, and you may either hand-draw the map or use software. Please note that we are not assessing the visual representation on artistic grounds but on how the visual map of some kind demonstrates a representation of “the world” of IR. Examples and further details will be discussed in class. But the map could look something like the London Tube map, a flow chart, or some other visual representation. Feel free to be creative, but keep in mind the purpose is to provide an image representation of the academic field of IR. (The concept map is worth 500 words, but you do not need to provide a word count for the concept map section)
Second, you will write an essay that explains the analytical and political basis for the map – i.e., why you’ve selected the specific theories/concepts, their location in the map, how they connect to the others that you’ve selected, etc.
Treat this essay as you would a regular academic essay: have an opening statement that states the specific meaning of the map that you are trying to convey, and which signposts toward why or how you chose to organize the material, and then in the body of the essay, explain how the theories and concepts connect, referencing appropriate readings from the module. Think for example of a museum exhibit where there is a text that accompanies the visual representation on display. This text states what the image is/represents, its context/meaning, etc. You are in effect providing something similar to explain the content of your conceptual map. Think of the map as the ‘argument’ or ‘thesis’ and the text as the explanation.
This essay must be no longer than 1,000 words.
PART 2: application of the concept map (1,500 words)
In Part 2, you will write an essay assessing the extent to which IR is equipped to deal with the challenges of the 21st Century such as (but not limited to) global pandemics, the effects of climate change, corporate power, inequality, populism, and emerging ‘great powers’, etc. This part of the assignment takes your concept map and applies it so that we can see how your representation of the field of study can respond to 21st Century global challenges. Based on your mapping of the discipline in Part 1, which should provide a comprehensive sense of the discipline – its main fault lines and key concepts – your essay should address the following:
Is the academic discipline capable of responding to twenty-first century global challenges?
This essay must be no longer than 1,500 words.
Treat this essay as you would a regular academic essay.
Format: Students should include the following:
1. a Title Page with their anonymous codes (NB: identifying names should NOT be written anywhere on summative assignments) and word count for submitted assignment (minus title page, bibliography, and appendix.
1. Concept map
1. 1,000-word essay explaining and defending your mapping of IR.
1. 1,500-word essay responding to the question: How is IR fit for purpose in the 21st century?
1. Reference list of texts used in your map/essays.
Please be aware of SGIA’s strict adherence to word count limit and the associated marking penalties. Examples and further instructions, especially with regards to the use of generative AI tools, will be discussed in Epiphany term.
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