Consider a current development issue about which you wish to learn more—you may choose something related to our course or from the wider array of issues faced by peoples in the Global South, including housing, food security
Consider a current development issue about which you wish to learn more—you may choose something related to our course or from the wider array of issues faced by peoples in the Global South, including housing, food security, agricultural production, education, health and medicine, the environment, economic disparity, entrepreneurs and innovation, or many other fields (feel free to check in with the instructor about a topical interest or a geographic place you may wish to pursue further—I generally encourage students to start narrow, with specific situations or issues)
The paper will be divided into two portions: A. a reporting on the
situation, and B. a proposal for bettering the issue.
Part A will generally be a reporting of the current situation. Toward this, first, explain the overall issue—the background. Second, consider who is primarily impacted and who else, what other parties might be involved—people or groups that have some role, whether positively or negatively affecting the situation. Typically there will be a number of different parties and I encourage you to ‘map’ out the multiple actors into a single diagram—who these people or groups are and how they inter-relate to each other.
I encourage you to include this ‘actor map’ as part of the paper. Third, determine the structural components—what institutions or systems (policies, laws, regulations,
financial relationships) perpetuate the problem.
For part B, consider an approach to this issue that you might propose in order to alleviate or help solve it—while you are not expected to solve the world’s problems in the brief 10 weeks of our course, I would like you to start thinking through what solutions might look like. You will not be graded on how correct your answer is, but you should be both creative yet logical with your answer; your answer should remain within the realm of the possible and do think about what challenges might need to be overcome to make your answer feasible. To help you think about the solution, use your ‘actor map’ as
a guide: what relationships between the various parties might need to
be reconfigured to bring about greater equity? And then looking at the structural issues, what might be necessary at a regulatory or institutional level to alleviate this problem?
Your answer might take into account stakeholders, policies, political or economic factors, or other concerns.
Papers will be assessed according to the logic of the argument as well as
the completeness of the evidence gathered in support of the argument.
In assessing papers I look for a clear articulation of the problem, a road-map that lays out your overall paper, sufficient research to be able to provide details to the problem, analysis of the problem which is then marshaled as toward your argument for a solution
, and a conclusion that aligns with the evidence and trajectory of your paper. Grading is qualitative, asking such questions: is your argument clear? is it rational? is the content organized? have you established alignment from the problem, through the research, into the evidence collected, analysis of the evidence, and to your conclusion? Is your evidence well-integrated in the argument of the essay? is your wording and
phrasing accurate toward conveying the meaning you intend? is your writing clear, concise, and composed with care?
Because you are seeking new paths for mitigating long-vexing issues, creativity is a key element to your paper; in the assessment I will consider your creativity in framing the
solution. Feel free to discuss your topic and approach with me during regular office hours. Include citations for all consulted materials (using any generally accepted citation format).
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