SPRING 2016 SYLLABUS: English Writing for International Politics
Meeting Time & Location: Mondays & Wednesdays, 8AM, Rm 7
Instructor: Mr. Julian Lee 李立安 Class Website: www.omnifoo.info/pages/IRWriting.html
Office: 4th floor, Rm 401
Email: omniscientfool@tom.com
Jump to: Grading Essay 1 Essay 2 Essay 3 Extracurriculars Class Schedule Midterm

OVERVIEW: This class aims to improve students' English writing skills in general and specifically with regard to topics in international politics. In each session of class, students should expect to do some writing, so a notebook and pen or pencil are REQUIRED for each class! Students should keep the same notebook throughout class to observe the progress they make throughout the course of the semester. We will do A LOT of writing in this class! Some of the writing will be corrected by your peers, so try to sit next to someone you trust to read and comment on your writing. Writing topics will be provided by the instructor and will require some preparation and previous knowledge of topics such as IR Theory and current events. The class will include a review of basic grammar concepts, and this will involve many exercises to practice parts of speech, sentence and paragraph structure, improve vocabulary, and translation of basic sentences from Chinese to English. As the ultimate goals are to write English essays reviewing other scholarly works and containing some original research, extensive attention will be paid to proper quotation methods to avoid plagiarism. A secondary goal is for students to feel comfortable reading and commenting in online forums relevant to international politics in English. 讲课的语言是英语。 听/看不懂英语的学生千万要提前安排助学办法。

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES: Depending on students' receptiveness, a variety of activities will be employed in this class. Above all, class sessions will be ACTIVE, with lots of student participation and a goal of minimizing lecture time by the instructor. Likely activities will include dictations (covering material from the previous session), individual & team games, grammar exercises, and correction of homework.

ASSIGNMENTS: Most class sessions will assign homework. Homework assignments will consist of both reading and writing. Reading assignments will mostly be to read an article, book chapter, or other text online to be prepared for in-class writing exercises. Some assignments, especially those completed in class, will be handwritten, while others may be either handwritten or typed and printed from a computer. Occasionally the instructor will ask students to turn in writing assignments from in-class exercises or homework to be used as "daily grades" (平时成绩). At least twice in the semester, a dictation will be used for a daily grade. Students will also be required to post at least one comment, in English, on a public discussion board or on an online news article (also in English). The instructor will read and critique the student's post(s) and strongly encourages this kind of participation outside of class on a regular basis.

EXAMS: This class will not have exams.

GRADING (ESSAYS): The longer essays will be the main determinants of the final grade (30% x3), with attendance and daily grades influencing borderline cases (10%). This class will have three longer essays due in April, May, and June. Prompts and requirements for such essays will be presented and discussed in class, then posted below. Students are encouraged to share drafts of essays with classmates and the instructor. Please type and print the final drafts of your essays on BOTH SIDES (double-sided 双面的). Essays will be graded on clarity, structure, and how well they meet the requirements in the next section. Self-expression, i.e. being able to express your own, unique thoughts will also be increasingly important as the semester progresses and technical skills improve.

ESSAY GRADING CRITERIA: Essay 1, Due April 27th. Required length: 4-7 paragraphs (at least 1 introduction, 2 body paragraphs, 1 conclusion); not more than 5 double-spaced, typed pages. TOPIC: IR Theory. PROMPT: Evaluate the usefulness of IR theory in international politics by analyzing two subtheories. (How useful is IR theory to understanding international politics?) Your introductory paragraph must contain a thesis statement and introduce the two theories you will discuss. Your body paragraphs must have topic sentences and should mention an author, book, and/or article which has discussed the theory you describe. Your body paragraphs should each have at least one sentence which relates clearly to the thesis. Your conclusion should restate how your thesis statement has been supported. Possible thesis statements will be offered in class well before the essay is due. GRADING OF ESSAY 1 (# = out of how many possible points): On time? 20; Clarity & Cohesiveness 20; Grammar, Punctuation, Capitalization, Spelling 10; Title 5; Format (length, spacing, intro paragraph, body paragraphs, conclusion paragraph, indentation, font, margins) 5; Analysis (summary, author, date, connection to current event, thesis & evidence connection, topic sentences, effective conclusion) 30; Interesting & original? 10.

Essay 2, Due May 30th. Required length: 4-7 paragraphs (at least 1 introduction, 2 body paragraphs, 1 conclusion); not more than 5 double-spaced, typed pages. TOPIC: Why a particular movie is deeply meaningful. PROMPT: Tell me...1. What your favorite movie is and which movie you'll be writing about (if it's not your #1 favorite). 2. Why it's deeply meaningful to you, personally. 3. Why others should watch and appreciate it, too. 4. Who might not like it and why they are wrong. (i.e. "This movie is not for people who...") OTHER REQUIREMENTS: 1. Give both the English and Chinese name (if available) for the movie, the date (year) it was released, what genre it belongs to, and (if applicable) what the MPAA rates it (i.e. PG, PG-13, R). 2. Give a very short summary of what the movie's about, and avoid "spoilers". DO NOT summarize the entire plot or spend more than TWO SENTENCES saying what the film is about. This is also an analytical essay! 3. Quote at least one review of the movie written by a professional film critic (i.e. one who writes books about movies, works for a magazine/newspaper, or who writes for a well-known entertainment/film website: For examples of reviews, visit www.rottentomatoes.com). You should either agree OR disagree with the quotation, giving reasons why you do. Students are encouraged to make use of the Preferential Introduction to Motion Pictures in English for EFL/ESL Students and the instructor's page of favorite films (though some are naughty, and you shouldn't say I recommended them to you!). OPTIONAL: Is your favorite movie mostly entertaining, educational, or a combination of both? How do movies compare to books in general in these regards?

For Essay 2, you will lose points if... 1. you don't print double-sided 双面的 ; 2. your essay is about the same movie as another student (watch & write about something unique!); 3. you spend most of the essay summarizing the plot of the movie; 4. your essay does not have a unifying thesis and reasons supporting it; 5. your essay does not quote a review, or the source (i.e. author, web address, and date) of the review are not provided. 6. important information about the movie is missing (see OTHER REQUIREMENTS 1. in the PROMPT) 7. If your chosen film scores under 50% "fresh" on the "Tomatometer" (or the Metascore), you should really say why you disagree with so many professsional film critics and be aware that your essay should be read partially as a defense of a widely disliked film.

GRADING OF ESSAY 2: On time? 15; Clarity & Cohesiveness 15; Grammar, Punctuation, Capitalization, Spelling 10; Title 5; Format (length, spacing, intro paragraph, body paragraphs, conclusion paragraph, indentation, font, margins, double-sided printing) 5; Basic Movie Info (Chinese & English names, country, director, year, genre, MPAA rating, Metacritic/Tomatometer/Douban rating) 5; Summary & Analysis (not too much summary, no spoilers, why meaningful, who'd like/not like it, defense of a "bad" movie, bonus if you talked about film in general) 10; Quote a professional critic w/ a citation (incl. date, web address, author, signal phrase/context so not a "dropped quotation") 20; Interesting & original? (not the same movie as any classmate's) 15.

Essay 3, Due June 29th. Required length: 4-7 paragraphs (at least 1 introduction, 2 body paragraphs, 1 conclusion); not more than 5 double-spaced, typed pages. TOPIC: Chinese contributions to the study of international politics. PROMPT: As China rises, it's essential that Chinese views and studies of international politics be read by the West. Choose a line or argument from an article in Chinese about int'l polt. or a topic within it, translate it, and explain why it's important as well as whether you agree or disagree with it. The source need not be related to IR theory (i.e. commentary on current events is quite welcome!). OTHER REQUIREMENTS: For the line and/or argument you build upon, be sure to give the author's name, cite the source, and give the date of its publication. POSSIBLE TOPICS & SOURCES THE INSTRUCTOR WOULD LIKE YOUR ASSESSMENT OF: 天下, Chinese relations with African countries/leadership of "The South", taoguang yanghui, Chinese drones (UAVs) and drone proliferation (i.e. selling Chinese drones to other countries), Chinese views of R2P and Humanitarian Intervention, Chinese popular versus state-directed nationalism, China's bilateral relationships, etc.

For Essay 3, you will lose points if... 1. you don't print double-sided 双面的 2. your essay does not quote a Chinese source, the original Chinese text, or does not cite its source 3. your argument lacks original analysis and is mainly summary of your quoted author's (or another's) thoughts

If your Essay 3 is agreeing with a quote or an argument, you are strongly encouraged to consider a counter-argument to make your essay more interesting.

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES: Students wishing to practice their English are welcome to join the instructor for lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11:40 to 12:30 on the first floor of Cafeteria #1. The instructor needs sports partners; let him know if you are good at badminton or tennis. Once the weather warms up, the instructor will announce times and locations for a regular meet-up for a popular American college sport: frisbee!

Care to see what Julian's other classes are doing? Visit the NENU landing page for his reading, writing, public administration, and IR theory courses. All classes should have received a copy of EFL student guides to Western music and Western movies. Feel free to share and distribute them.

Every effort will be made to present class materials in a fair manner which does not unconciously or excessively privilege Western thought and theories over Chinese and other approaches. However, given the instructor's training in a U.S. university, the majority of the material will be presented as closely as possible to an "Intro to IR" class in the USA. Anyone wishing to object officially, of course, has the option of reporting the instructor to the hotline reported below:


It is hoped that will not be necessary, and we can use this class to learn and discuss collegially how China and the U.S. view international politics!






WEEK 1 (2-29, 3-2): MON. Class Introduction, Dictation, Sentences & Paragraphs. HOMEWORK: Write one paragraph about your winter vacation. WED. Correcting homework, Sentence structure. HOMEWORK: 2 Paragraphs Reviewing IR Theory (1 theory you agree with or find helpful; 1 theory you disagree with or do not find helpful)

WEEK 2 (3-7, 3-9): MON. Classmates comment on homework. Topic sentences practice. HOMEWORK: Topic Sentences Exercise. WED. Technology failure!

WEEK 3 (3-14, 3-16): MON. Summarizing practice, using these excerpts of news articles. Consider revising your IR Theory homework paragraphs to include at least one sentence in each paragraph summarizing the main assumptions and predictions of the theories you chose. HOMEWORK: Read this article, and summarize it in ONE paragraph no longer than SIX sentences: http://graphics.latimes.com/china-economy/#nt=oft01a-1la1 Be careful NOT to copy any entire sentences' exact words in your summary (this would be plagiarism!). This assignment will be collected by the instructor and may be typed & printed or handwritten. Students are also strongly encouraged to comment on the article; comments so far look pretty anti-China! WED. Turn in your summary paragraph for the instructor to correct

WEEK 4 (3-21, 3-23): MON. Analysis versus summary. Based on the LA Times article, answer three of the following six questions in three analytical paragraphs: 1. How accurate is it to call Changchun "China's Detroit"? 2. What are the benefits of market reforms? 3. What are the costs/drawbacks of market reforms? 4. Is Changchun's economy strong or weak? 5. Can Changchun attract foreign investment and diversify its economy away from heavy industry? 6. To what extent can China solve its industrial "overcapacity" problem by producing for foreing markets? WED. Read an excerpt of this long, important article and take a quiz on it in class. HOMEWORK: Write a 1-paragraph summary of the excerpt.

WEEK 5 (3-28, 3-30): MON. Analysis of Obama Doctrine article's excerpt on future challenges, Sino-American, Sino-Russian relationships. HOMEWORK: Answer two of these four questions in two analytical paragraphs... 1. Do you believe Obama when he says he wants China to be stronger so that it can take on more "global responsibility"? Why/why not? 2. Obama believes China's actions in the South China Sea are "undermining international interests," isolating China, and strengthening America's regional alliances. Share reasons why you agree or disagree with that assessment. 3. Given Putin's "inclination" to USE military force and China's non-use (so far), why isn't the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship more important than the Sino-U.S. relationship? Is this evidence that projecting hard (military) power is less important than it was in the past? 4. Do you think it is likely or unlikely that the next U.S. president will "be more forceful in confronting China" than Obama has been? Why? WED. Share analytical paragraphs, and turn them in to the instructor to be corrected. HOMEWORK: Skim as much of the Obama Doctrine article as you can. Be ready to answer the following questions in next session of class.: 1. What is the Obama Doctrine? 2. How does it differ from the Bush Doctrine? You are also encouraged to connect current events (perhaps from The Obama Doctrine article) as examples of how the two IR theories you chose are either helpful or unhelpful.

WEEK 6 (4-4, 4-6): MON. Tomb-Sweeping Day (No Class?) WED. Discuss questions 1 & 2 from WED. of WEEK 5. HOMEWORK: In 2-3 analytical paragraphs, answer three of these five questions: 1. How much real difference has Obama's "Doctrine" made in the foreign policy actions of the USA (compared to the George W. Bush Administration)? 2. Compare the importance of credibility and caution/prudence in international politics. To what extent do you think Obama's decision NOT to strike Syria after Assad used chemical weapons (after Obama's "red line" was crossed) reduced U.S. credibility? 3. The author lets the reader decide whether Obama's diplomacy with Russia on Syria's chemical weapons was smarter and more effective than using force or a dangerous, naive gamble that has reduced U.S. credibility and hurt humanitarianism by letting bad deeds go unpunished. Argue for one or the other position. (DON'T ANSWER BOTH 2 & 3!) 4. At this point, is there anything even a global hegemon can do to solve the problems in the Middle East, or is Obama wise to "step back from the abyss"? If so, what? If not, why? 5. Should the next U.S. president follow something more like the Obama Doctrine or more like the Bush Doctrine? Why?

WEEK 7 (4-11, 4-13): MON. Share and discuss paragraphs answering questions 1-5 with classmates. Read conclusion of Obama Doctrine article. HOMEWORK: In two paragraphs with clear topic sentences stating your position and introducing your reasons for it, answer TWO of the following questions: 1. Although in different ways, Bush & Obama both believe that the role of the U.S. in the world is both positive and essential. Share your reasons why you agree or disagree that American power for global leadership is good and "indispensable". 2. To what extent is the Middle East still important for American and Chinese interests, given the current state of conflict, instability, and low global oil prices? 3. Obama believes the world as a whole is moving AWAY from "tribalism, fundamentalism, sectarianism, and militarism." Do you agree that those involved in these kinds of conflicts will be "on the wrong side of history" (i.e. When historians look back on the 21st century, will they see Obama as correct?)? Why/why not? WED. Collect homework on conclusion of Obama Doctrine article. Talk about essay introductions and thesis statements. Introduce Essay 1 requirements. Suggest possible thesis statements on board for HOMEWORK: Write a draft of your introduction paragraph for essay one, including a thesis statement.

WEEK 8 (4-18, 4-20): MON. Test dictation. Share and comment on introduction paragraph drafts with classmates. Talk about how to connect your body paragraphs to the thesis statement. HOMEWORK: Rewrite your two paragraphs evaluating two IR theories so that they 1. have clear topic sentences related to your thesis, 2. explain where the theory comes from (an author, a book, an article, or as described in class lecture), 3. summarize what the theory assumes/predicts/says generally, 4. connect to a current event or issue in international politics, and 5. support (provide evidence for) your thesis. WED. Share and comment on rewritten body paragraphs with classmates. Discuss how to write a conclusion paragraph and other things to include in essays, such as consideration of alternative viewpoints. HOMEWORK: For each theory in your body paragraphs, think of how someone might take the OPPOSITE view, against what you write. Write two sentences which contain possible counter-arguments and at least one sentence for each showing why these counter-arguments are wrong (and your examples show why your thesis and analysis are correct). Consider using the counter-arguments as separate paragraphs in the essay. Draft a conclusion and be ready to share a full, rough draft of your essay with a classmate on Monday.

WEEK 9 (4-25, 4-27): MON. Vocabulary Game. HOMEWORK: Finish/revise Essay 1, make sure it meets the requirements in the PROMPT, and print it. WED. Collect Essay 1. Review Game. HOMEWORK: Keep a journal of your spring break in English (Try to write a paragraph every day about what you did, what you thought about, what you didn't do, etc.)

WEEK 10 (5-2, 5-4): MON. INT'L LABOR WEEK (SPRING BREAK) NO CLASS. WED. Return & discuss Essay 1. On-board exercise: Chinglish Elimination based on Essay 1 sentences. HOMEWORK: Write two paragraphs about the following topics: 1. What you thought of your Essay 1 comments and grade, 2. What you would revise about Essay 1 if you rewrote it, and 3. What would you like Essay 2 to be about so that it's interesting to you (and why)?

WEEK 11 (5-9, 5-11): MON. Translation of basic general statements. Use adverbs of frequency. Differentiate from stereotypes. Practice past participles. HOMEWORK: Write paragraph discussing a stereotype which you think is true and fair and one you think is false or unfair. WED. Vote on topic for Essay 2 (from last week's homework). HOMEWORK: Draft an introductory paragraph for Essay 2.

WEEK 12 (5-16, 5-18): MON. Discuss movies using handout and prompt for Essay 2. HOMEWORK: In one paragraph, describe a movie or kind of movie from the handout that you don't like, with reasons why. WED. Quotations and indirect speech? HOMEWORK: Find a review of the movie you'll write about for Essay 2, and choose a quotation from it to cite in your essay.

WEEK 13 (5-23, 5-25): MON. Quoting outside sources in essays. Use handout on dropped quotations, signal phrases, context, verbs for signal phrases. HOMEWORK: Write two or three paragraphs using the example quotes in the handout from The Obama Doctrine. WED. Citation styles for bibliographies. HOMEWORK: Finish Essay 2 for MON.

WEEK 14 (5-30, 6-1): MON. Collect Essay 2 after commenting on classmates' papers and compiling lists of favorite movies. Discuss favorite movies of entire class by popular vote. WED. Introduce Essay 3 and what students have studied in other classes. How much have students read about international politics which is by Chinese authors, in Chinese, rather than translated from English or in English? HOMEWORK: Brainstorm a few topics of interest for Essay 3 (i.e. opinions, ideas, and analyses by Chinese writers and scholars with which you strongly agree or disagree).

WEEK 15 (6-6, 6-8): MON. Give more examples of citations from bibliography and works cited sections. Practice creating entries using instructor's English books. HOMEWORK: Write a bibliography entry for three books in class. Add a source in Chinese (may be a book, article, or report) by translating the title. WED. Return & discuss Essay 2. Chinglish Elimination exercise on blackboard. HOMEWORK: For Monday's writing game, choose a stereotype or an idiom (成语).

WEEK 16 (6-13, 6-15): MON. Test Dictation? Writing game: prepare a phrase or sentence in English, and bring some paper that has one side blank to make strips for writing and drawing on. WED. Grammar exercise competition?

WEEK 17 (6-20, 6-22): MON. Vocabulary game? WED. Final Review Game. Class picture.

WEEK 18 (6-27, 6-29): MON. No class? WED. Collect Essay 3.

WEEK 19 (7-4, 7-6):