INTL 607 Graduate Core Seminar                    Fall 2011

Professor Anita M. Weiss

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Reading Materials
There is no textbook, per se, for a course like this. Our required reading will be from a variety of single-author volumes, edited anthologies and journals, all of which are linked through the Syllabus page of this website. However, there are several useful books that you should purchase for the class; you'll want to hold on to these for a long time! All are available through the UO Bookstore: 
   John Isbister Promises Not Kept: Poverty and The Betrayal of Third World Development 7th edition, Kumarian Press, 2006
   Bonnie Stone Sunstein & Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater FieldWorking: Reading and Writing Research 4th edition, St. Martin's Press, 2012
C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb & Joseph M. Williams The Craft of Research 3rd edition, Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing series, University of Chicago Press, 2008
       Readings from this book are assigned to be read throughout the term, but they will be discussed
       in class during the second half of the term.

Grading Assessment

Participation/attendance (10%) Full attendance and active participation are not simply a requirement, but a given for this class. Our collaborative effort will succeed only if each of you is fully engaged, has completed all of the assigned reading material before each seminar meeting, and offers your questions, ideas, inspirations, and critical reflections energetically.

Reflection Briefs (10%) Each week you will prepare a brief written response (2 pages) to the week’s readings. In these essays you will offer your reactions to the topics, issues, and/or perspectives presented in each week’s selections. The essays should not be ‘book reports’ – simple summaries of the readings - but instead should identify and explore content that strikes you as worthy of discussion in class. Since these assignments are really designed as a way to help you process your weekly readings, grading of these briefs will consist of a simple check system – check plus, check, check minus based on your level of engagement with the materials. The sum total of these checks will inform your grade for this section.

Discussion Leadership (25%) Each week several of you will serve as Discussion Leaders. This role is very important to the success of each class period. Discussion Leaders will play an active role in guiding the conversations we engage in each time we meet. Discussion Leaders will go beyond the standard reaction paper process to also produce a more comprehensive outline of the major points presented in the relevant readings. These ‘talking points’ outlines will help discussion leaders facilitate their assigned class discussions and will be turned in for grading. Evaluation of your performance in this context will be based on the utility of your “talking points” and your facilitation of the discussion. For those with little “seminar” experience: Fear not! Your peers and I will help you along the way!

Bibliography/Review Essay (25%) In the first part of the course you will enter into the research process by identifying and exploring a theme or problem that you might want to investigate as a possible MA project in the days and months ahead. You will i) select a theme or topic; ii) search for relevant sources; iii) engage with at least some of your materials; and iv) prepare a bibliography and concise critical literature review (3-5 pages).

Retrospective Research Prospectus (30%) Although you will not write an original research prospectus in this class, one of our primary substantive goals is to help you understand and begin to think about your MA project. For this class, you will write a retrospective prospectus for an MA thesis or PhD dissertation project that has already been researched and completed by someone else. You choose the source in consultation with me. You then work your way backwards through the thesis or dissertation, envisioning and writing up the prospectus that might have preceded it, including these essential prospectus elements (8-10 pages):
a) statement of the problem area;
   b) presentation of the key argument;
   c) contextualization of that argument in the existing scholarly literature in the relevant field[s];
   d) presentation of the localities in question, with historical and other background as needed;
   e) presentation of the research design, operationalization of the hypotheses, discussion of methods to be used to gather information, as well as affiliations and research sites;
   f) exploration of how the expected data might prove significant in supporting the main argument[s];
   g) reflections on what the research project as a whole is expected to yield in terms of broad significance and intellectual contributions.