International Relations of South Asia
Convenors: Suthaharan Nadarajah & Rahul Rao
COURSEWORK ASSIGNMENT #1
Answer ONE of the following questions:
1. How important was the Cold War to explaining the foreign relations of EITHER India OR Pakistan OR Afghanistan (choose one)? Pick Pakistan
Submitted essays should be anonymised i.e. you should not include your name or student number.
Length: Essays must be no more than 2000 words in length (excluding bibliography). Essays should be type-written in 12-point font (or larger), double-spaced and paginated, and should state the essay’s word length (without the bibliography).
Due Date: Papers are due on Tuesday 17 December 2019 by 23.59pm to be submitted on Turnitin via Moodle (Study Abroad students should check with the course convenors or the Dept. of Politics administration for their submission deadline). The SOAS penalty for lateness is 2% per day. In submitting your essays, please take into account the possibility of last-minute electronic problems. Give yourself sufficient time to upload your essay before the deadline! (If submitted immediately after the deadline, the School deems the essay to be a day late.) For further guidance see the School’s submissions policy here:
Requirements: This assignment is designed to do three things: first, you are being asked to make an argument in response to one of the questions posed (see also the ‘Grading’ section below). To that end, it is important that you give a clear answer to the question (state your thesis). That is, take a position (and justify it), rather than simply list different possible answers. Second, you should demonstrate an understanding of the international politics of South Asia as these relate to your chosen question. That means you must draw on and make reference to the course material relevant to your question and thesis. Third, you should demonstrate that you understand those bodies of international relations theory relevant to the different positions on the issue i.e. how different theories offer different responses to the question, and weigh their strengths and weaknesses in making your argument.
You should therefore be careful about the organization of your paper. Make sure that you do all of the following (as these are also the criteria used in grading the papers):
1. Provide a clear statement of your thesis (i.e., your answer to the basic question).
2. Demonstrate knowledge of the different positions on the issue as relevant to your answer.
3. Critically analyse the different positions to support your argument.
4. Explain why you hold the view that you do (this will probably make up the bulk of your essay). That is, justify your answer.
Note that the objective of the essay is not to undertake extensive theoretical discussion. The questions set are intended to enable you to explore and work through different accounts of the international politics of South Asia. This should be your primary focus, with reference to theoretical frameworks only where and insofar as it is relevant to your argument.
Grading: In this paper you should make whatever argument you think most adequately answers the basic question posed. THERE IS NO SINGLE CORRECT ANSWER. Furthermore, we are not looking for repetition of the lectures, a particular political persuasion, or anything else bad. That is, you do not actually have to convert us to your point of view before we will think you wrote a good paper. You do have to make a good argument, however, and marshal material in support of it. For further guidance see the School’s Marking Criteria here:
References: You must include references to the materials you use, including course readings, in order to support your claims. References can be given in within-text citations or as footnotes, but you should be consistent. You are required to provide a full bibliography of material cited in the essay. The bibliography does not count towards the word total; but footnotes do.
Note: (1) if your paper contains quotations from any written source material, but lacks the appropriate punctuation (i.e. quotation marks) and/or citations, your grade will be lowered. (2) You should familiarise yourself with SOAS regulations on plagiarism, available here:
Collaboration: We strongly encourage you to discuss your papers with your colleagues, to form study groups, and to read and edit each other’s papers. All of these activities contribute greatly to your ability to master the material and to present it clearly to a reader. However, the finished product must be your own. In the context of the course, legitimate collaboration does not extend to writing joint papers or to using the work produced by another student, and such activities would result in a failing grade for all participants.
Learning: The paper is intended to assist your learning of the course material. You will benefit from producing a full draft of the essay well before submission, so you have time to conduct further study and revise it. You should feel free to discuss your answer with your teachers as you work on your essay. If in doubt about any aspect of the essay, please do ask; we are here to help!
Finally, we are looking forward to reading your essay