FALL 2016 SYLLABUS: English Writing for International Politics
Meeting Time & Location: Wednesdays & Fridays from 10:00-11:30AM, Rm. 419
Instructor: Mr. Julian Lee 李立安 Class Website: www.omnifoo.info/pages/IRWritingF16.html
Office: 4th floor, Rm 401
Email: omniscientfool@tom.com
Jump to: Grading Essay 1 Essay 2 Essay 3 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 U.S. global hegemony, specific wars, 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. Exercises intended to advance students' writing from Chinese-style English or "Chinglish" toward a more standard, academic style of an American university will be emphasized. 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. Occasionally, while students are working on assignments in class, the instructor will meet with students 1-on-1 to read and correct past assignments, with the goals of explaining grading criteria and providing opportunities to make sure students can express their personal ideas precisely and clearly.

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, unless students or higher authorities request them.

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 October, December, and January. 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: The instructor will write prompts for all essays and choose the topics of ESSAYS 1 & 3. Students will vote on the topic of ESSAY 2 in class after ESSAY 1 is graded and returned. ESSAY 1: Due 10-28. Required length: 4-7 paragraphs (at least 1 introduction, 2 body paragraphs, 1 conclusion); not more than 5 double-spaced, typed pages. TOPIC: U.S. Hegemony. PROMPT- In your opinion, do you think the USA is still a global hegemon? (If not, was it ever?) How necessary is a global, "benevolent hegemon" to lead a stable, lawful world? (If not necessary, what could do a better job at this goal?). Point Distribution: On Time? 20, Clarity & Cohesiveness 20, Grammar/Punctuation/Spelling/Capitalization 10, Title 5, Format (double-spaced, fonts, margins, paragraphs indented) 5, Evidence 5, Persuasiveness 5, Analysis (Thesis w/ body paragraphs connected to it, Prompt answered, Counter-argument considered) 15, Interesting/Original? 15.

ESSAY 2: Due 12-7. 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 to you. 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. web address/link, author, signal phrase/context so not a "dropped quotation") 20; Interesting & original? (not the same movie as any classmate's) 15.

ESSAY 3: Due 1-4-17. Required length: 800 words, but not longer than 7 double-spaced pages. OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Outside Sources = use (quote directly) at least one source originally in English and one source originally in Chinese (to be translated into English while including the original text and citation). Bibliography = include a bibliography of outside sources at the end of the essay. The format will be discussed in class. TOPIC: Students may choose between Topic 1 OR Topic 2.

Topic 1: U.S. Counter-Terrorism. Background: While no longer called the "Global War on Terror," President Obama has continued and expanded many counter-terrorism tactics from the George W. Bush Administration, especially drone strikes. While some see progress (i.e. with ISIS losing territory and Middle-Eastern states playing a greater counter-terror role themselves), critics see the military-led strategy as increasing hatred of the USA and attracting more people to become terrorists (blowback). Yet other critics see Obama as not doing enough, preferring more military intervention like George W. Bush used. Still others blame Obama for the humanitarian crisis/tragedy of the ongoing Syrian Civil War.

PROMPT: Has the overall U.S. strategy against terrorism been effective, or is it making the situation worse by attracting more people to commit "acts of terror?” Will the "War on Terror" ever end or be a success? Why/why not? What do you think of U.S. drone strikes and the future of the technology in international politics?

SUGGESTED TEXTS TO CITE: The Obama Doctrine; Hamid's "Better World without U.S. military"; Stern's "Obama and Terrorism"; Gordon's "Drones and the New Ethics of War"

Topic 2: China in the International System. Background: Realist IR Theory assumes states are "black boxes" whose domestic politics are of little importance: all states in the system are basically the same (just more or less powerful) and will behave the same way. Is China a state like all the others, or is it special? If it is different, how? What exactly is "China"? Is it a nation-state (like most states), a unique and "multinational state" as the CCP claims, an empire, a civilization? A developing country or a great power (almost impossible to be both!)? When would it become a "superpower" (if it's not already)? Does "China" include "the Chinese diaspora?" Is China a "status quo power" or a revisionist? Should China seek regional/global hegemony as Realism predicts? Will it?

PROMPT: As Chinese students studying international politics, you are uniquely qualified to explain to the world and answer: What is China? Based on what you think China is, predict what China will do internationally in the next 10-20 years, using terms in the "Background" section above.

SUGGESTED TEXTS TO CITE: Schweller & Pu's "After Unipolarity"; Brzezinski on avoiding the Thucydides Trap; articles on the Chinese diaspora (from last semester)

For Essay 3, you will lose points if... 1. you don't print double-sided 双面的 ; 2. You try to answer both prompts (don't do it!); 3. You try to address every single thing in the "Background" section or very little (or worse, none) of it; 4. Your essay doesn't have a single, unifying thesis to tie your points together, or you don't directly address each part of the prompt; 5. You don't have a bibliography/works cited section or citations (in-text or footnootes) for outside sources/direct quotes; 6. Your Chinese source doesn't include the original text in Chinese; 7. Your essay is too long or short



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.

In Fall 2016, all students interested in the 2016 U.S. elections are invited to attend the Junior PA class on Thursdays at 3:30PM in Classroom 10. The class will focus on listening and speaking with debates and discussion of issues in U.S. media related to the elections. It will have little or no homework and no exams.

RECOMMENDED FILMS RELEVANT TO INTERNATIONAL POLITICS (EXTENDED FROM CLASS HANDOUT): DOCUMENTARY - The Act of Killing/The Look of Silence; The Age of Stupid; Blue Gold; Collapse; Crossing the Line; The Eleventh Hour; Enemies of the People; The Fog of War; Miscreants of Taliwood; Narco Cultura; No End in Sight; Qatsi series; Religulous; Shake Hands with the Devil; Soundtrack to War; Standard Operating Procedure; The Unknown Known; Water Wars; The Yes Men/The Yes Men Save the World. FICTION/DRAMATIZATION - Ararat; Argo; Blood Diamond; Canadian Bacon; Cloud Atlas; Come and See; Contagion; Dirty Pretty Things; Dr. Strangelove; Europa Europa!; Hotel Rwanda; The Hurt Locker; The International; The Killing Fields; Letters from Iwo Jima; Lilya 4Ever; The Lives of Others; Mammoth; The Mouse That Roared; The Pianist; Quilombo; Sicario; Sin Nombre; Sleep Dealer; Snowpiercer; Star Trek (all); When the Wind Blows; World War Z; Zero Dark Thirty

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 (9-7, 9-9): Instructor returns from USA on Sept. 7th, so it is unlikely we will have class this week.

WEEK 2 (9-14, 9-16): WED. CLASS INTRODUCTION: Read syllabus together. Introduce dictation exercise and practice a test dictation. Sentences, Paragraphs, and what they build to. Learn to "extend a sentence" without breaking grammar rules. Academic VS. Non-academic writing. HOMEWORK: In your class notebook, write 1-2 paragraphs about what you did and what you thought about your summer vacation. FRI. (SUN.?): Return & explain graded "test" dictations. Instructor corrects homework 1-by-1. Talk about sentence structure: simple, compound, complex, sentence fragments and run-on sentences. HOMEWORK: Write one paragraph on what you specifically want to improve about your writing and what you want to learn and do this semester (semester goals in this class and generally, essay topics you'd find interesting). Be ready to talk about Sentence Structure exercise in next class.

WEEK 3 (9-21, 9-23): WED. Active VS. Passive Voice explained with examples. Go over Sentence Structure exercise. FRI. Introduce paragraphs & topic sentences. HOMEWORK: Write a topic sentence for three of the eight paragraphs in the Topic Sentences Exercise.

WEEK 4 (9-28, 9-30): WED. Session canceled for instructor's residence permit renewal. FRI. Introduce complementary writing concepts of summary and analysis. Summarizing exercises. HOMEWORK to be collected and corrected by the instructor: Summarize two of the three articles here in one paragraph each. Pay close attention to your topic sentences! Be careful NOT to copy any entire sentences' exact words in your summary (this would be plagiarism!). Instead, paraphrase!

WEEK 5 (10-5, 9-7): NATIONAL WEEK...NO CLASS? 10-9 SUN. Collect summarizing paragraphs. Write a paragraph about your fall break in class. Add 1-3 sentences about what you regret about your fall or summer vacations, using these grammar patterns: 1. I wish I would/could have PAST PARTICIPLE 过去分词. 2. I wish I had/hadn't PAST PARTICIPLE 过去分词. 3. If I could do it all over again, I would... HOMEWORK: Skim the article for Wednesday's class.

WEEK 6 (10-12, 10-14): WED. Read an article in class about South Koreans visiting Changbaishan. HOMEWORK: Summarize the article in one paragraph, paying close attention to your topic sentence. FRI. Introduce concept of analysis in detail, in contrast with summary. Chinglish elimination exercise. HOMEWORK: Analyze the article from Wednesday's class by answering two of the following five questions in separate paragraphs, paying close attention to writing good topic sentences and supporting them with evidence from the text. Don't summarize, except to provide evidence for your analysis! Paraphrase rather than using the exact words in the article! 1. Based on the article, what role is China playing in the ongoing Korean conflict? Is it positive or negative? Why? 2. Do you agree or disagree with the article's positive/negative portrayal of China's role in the ongoing Korean conflict? Why? 3. Why is Changbaishan/Baekdusan so important for both North and South Koreans, and does it make sense to you? Why/why not? 4. Why weren't South Koreans allowed to visit until 1992, and why might China reduce availability for South Korean visas in the future? 5. How and why is tourism restricted on the mountain and the Korean border, and do you think the restrictions are fair and effective? Why/why not?

WEEK 7 (10-19, 10-21): WED. Turn in homework on Changbaishan article analysis. 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. FRI. Share and comment on introduction paragraph drafts with classmates. Talk about how to connect your body paragraphs to the thesis statement and how to consider counter-arguments. HOMEWORK: Skim this article, which argues again for U.S. indispensability: Hamid on Absent U.S. Military.

WEEK 8 (10-26, 10-28): WED. Discuss the "natural experiment" under Obama in Hamid's article from last week. Talk about how to write conclusions for analytical essays. Write a conclusion paragraph for the example essay. Chinglish elimination exercise for Changbaishan/Baekdusan paragraphs. HOMEWORK: Finish & print ESSAY 1 to be turned in in class. FRI. ESSAY 1 DUE. Assess your progress in the class with in-class writing exercises.HOMEWORK: Think about topics you would like to write about for ESSAY 2.

WEEK 9 (11-2, 11-4): WED. Discuss U.S. foreign policy and how the presidential candidates' platforms differ. Summarize Hamid's article in class to help with the homework assignment. HOMEWORK: In one or two analytical paragraphs, answer either question 1, 2, or 3.

Realism in IR Theory asserts that states pursue objective national (self-)interest regardless of who their leaders are, due to the anarchic structure of the international system, selfish human nature, or other immutable (unchanging, unchangeable) factors. For Realists, morality道德 is not a factor in decisions to use military force.

Hamid (& Goldberg's Obama Doctrine), by contrast, suggests that Obama's restrained foreign policy has differed greatly from his predecessor, George W. Bush. Both presidents believe their policies, especially in deciding to use or not use force, were morally justified.

1. Looking ahead to a second Clinton Administration (who would be more hawkish than Obama toward Syria and China) or a Trump Administration (who would monetize alliances, possibly scale back foreign intervention but encourage nuclear proliferation), to what extent do you find Realism useful to describe U.S. foreign policy changes or consistencies? Are leaders' differing conceptions of “national interests” and different means (military or non-military) of pursuing them more or less important?

2. Based on Hamid's article, the U.S. has gained no global approval or appreciation for Obama's more modest, less militaristic foreign policy. Do you agree or disagree with this assessment and his logic that if the world will always disapprove of the U.S. no matter what it does, it would be better to be more active (do more) because “the most powerful nation” can never be “neutral”?

3. Hamid clearly believes in Just War, that military force can be used morally and for the good of nations and the world, while he accuses Obama and “The Left” of an ideology close to pacifism, that “military force is somehow inherently bad.” How true is this description, and do you find either Just War or pacifism better than amoral Realism?

FRI. Exchange homework notebooks and write a paragraph in your classmate's notebook about whether you agree or disagree with him/her and why. Talk about policy platforms of the 2016 presidential candidates, who you expect to win the election, and the election process using this handout. HOMEWORK: Write an analytical paragraph about why you support one candidate and another about why you oppose one candidate (best to focus on foreign policy, but you can mention other policy areas if you are familiar with them). Some helpful links for this assignment: Wall Street Journal article compares Hillary Clinton's foreign policy positions and statements to Trump's (unfortunately, WSJ isn't accessible in China, and the graphic is difficult to paste into a new page on this website.); Hillary's Neoconservatives ; Trump's foreign policy statements ; Hillary Clinton's foreign policy statements (very long; focus on topics on which trump also comments); Banks on Trump's manufacturing push for U.S. foreign policy; Third-party candidates views on foreign policy: Johnson (Libertarian ...rather lacking in detail), Stein (Green ...see 10th section on "Peace and Human Rights")...Tavis Smiley interviews both in a 3-part "debate" on PBS.

WEEK 10 (11-9, 11-11): WED. Return Essay 1. Introduce new editing/correction marks. Chinglish Elimination on Essay 1 excerpts. Vote for Essay 2 topic. Collect Hamid article & U.S. election candidates homework paragraphs. HOMEWORK: None. FRI. MIDTERM REVIEW GAME? (Tentative) HOMEWORK: Recommended Reading: Kazin in Foreign Affairs on Trump's populism.

Sat., Nov. 12th, 9AM: Big English & Politics Competition, Round 1. Competing in teams of five from 班 in 政法学院= Scrabble (一楼大厅) & Wordjong Tournament (第五教室). Top 8 teams advance to Round 2. Teams not advancing are awarded notebooks and Russian candy.

WEEK 11 (11-16, 11-18): WED. Confirm Essay 1 Chinglish Elimination Homework is finished. Examine Trump's policy proposals and decide which ones are likely or unlikely to be implemented. HOMEWORK: Write 1-2 paragraphs either on a general reflection about president-elect Trump or about one or two specific (foreign) policy changes that Trump will or will not enact. For help, read Kinzer for a generally optimistic view of what Trump might reform in foreign policy. FRI. Chinese-to-English translation: Count and non-count nouns in general statements & stereotypes. HOMEWORK: Write a paragraph about whether you think stereotypes are useful and true or too dangerous and offensive to be useful, giving at least one example of a stereotype you agree or disagree with.

Sun., Nov. 20th, 5:30PM: Big English & Politics Competition, Round 2. Game show (like Review Game) format. 1st Place Prize: 1000 yuan & others, 2nd Place Prize: 500 yuan & others, 3rd Place Prize: 300 yuan & others, 4th Place Prize: TBA, 5th Place Prize: TBA, 6-8th Place Prize: Notebook, CD, & Russian candy.

WEEK 12 (11-23, 11-25): WED. Test dictation. Explain requirements of ESSAY 2. HOMEWORK: Draft an introduction paragraph for Essay 2. FRI. Discuss movies using handout and prompt for ESSAY 2. Vote to determine the class's favorite movie. HOMEWORK: In one paragraph, describe a movie or kind of movie from the handout that you don't like, with reasons why.

WEEK 13 (11-30, 12-2): WED. Quotations & indirect speech. Basic quotation punctuation and forms. Game: What Did S/he Say? 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. Bring The Obama Doctrine to class one more time on Fri.! FRI. 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. HOMEWORK: Put your quoted film critic/review into Essay 2, and finish Essay 2 for Wed.

WEEK 14 (12-7, 12-9): WED. ESSAY 2 DUE. Introduce Essay 3. Grammar exercises: Definite/Indefinite Articles versus "some," "any". HOMEWORK: None. FRI Commas in restrictive versus non-restrictive clauses using "that" and "which." HOMEWORK: Read an article about the topic for Essay 3, possibly these ones about U.S. drones & counter-terror: Required: Gordon reviews a book on how drones change the ethics of war. NY Times on fully-automated, weaponized UAVs. Optional: General article on the War on Terror under Obama. My advisor at the Univ. of California, Irvine, Daniel Brunstetter, recently reviewed a book of arguments for and against the U.S.'s use of drones in counter-terrorism.

WEEK 15 (12-14, 12-16): WED. Discuss the ethics and practicalities of drone strikes as a counter-terror tactic under the Obama Administration and the possibility of fully automated, weaponized UAVs which are not guided by humans. Is drone warfare the future, and are drone strikes an "act of war"? HOMEWORK: Answer one or more of these questions in two analytical paragraphs: 1. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of drone strikes as a counterterrorism tactic and decide whether they aid or harm U.S. global counter-terror strategy. 2. Would you trust Pres. Obama, Pres. Trump, or Xi Jinping with a presidential "kill list" for drone strikes? Why/why not? 3. Should machines be allowed to kill without human guidance? Why/why not? 4. Are drones/armed UAVs the future of warfare? Why/why not? 5. Are drone strikes acts of war which undermine state sovereignty when used outside of active war zones (i.e. in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia), or are critics overreacting? FRI. Bibliographies/Works Cited sections and formal citations. Give two possible topics and prompts for Essay 3. 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.

WEEK 16 (12-21, 12-23): WED.Test Dictation? Return Essay 2. 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. HOMEWORK: TBA. FRI. Translated quotations and entries in bibliographies/works cited sections. HOMEWORK: Find a quote from a Chinese text, translate it into English, and put it in a paragraph as evidence for the topic sentence. Include both a citation (with the author's name and original Chinese text in a footnote or in-text reference) and a bibliographic entry for the text (with the title of the book or article in pinyin and translated into English).

WEEK 17 (12-28, 12-30): WED. VOCABULARY GAME. HOMEWORK: Since most students had problems with the paragraph homework with a translated quote last week, please find another quote and write another paragraph for Friday. Find a quote from a Chinese text, translate it into English, and put it in a paragraph as evidence for the topic sentence. Include both a citation (with the author's name and original Chinese text in a footnote or in-text reference) and a bibliographic entry for the text (with the title of the book or article in pinyin and translated into English). FRI. FINAL REVIEW GAME (Tentative)

ESSAY 3 DUE Jan. 6th. The instructor will be in Office 401 until 5pm to collect your essays.