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Prompt:
How would you propose to carry out a research project that compares a LotR character or event to a person or event in IR? For a character, you may focus on their interests, or perhaps their motivations. What do they attempt to do, and why do they pursue certain actions? For an event, what are the dynamics that drive this story? What circumstances make things unfold a certain way?
With regards to your real-world comparison, you could choose a figure from history or a contemporary personage whom you think is motivated by similar interests. Or perhaps you think a particular figure is the opposite; why did the LotR character you chose act a certain way, while your real-world analogue chose another course of action? What about an event that shaped Middle-earth is different from one that shaped the real world? Do these cause differences in the dynamics of politics and war, or some other IR concept?
Explain how you would carry out such a project in terms of IR theory. For example, if your characters behaved differently, is there a particular paradigm that you could apply to explain why they were motivated by different interests? What if characters or events progressed the same way, but ended differently? Maybe the opposite! What if they had different interests or dynamics, but they reached similar conclusions? Could you apply theories and explanations from IR to identify causes and effects?
Remember, this is a framework for a project, not a full-on project in its entirety.
Your paper will be graded on the criteria laid out above, as well your ability to clearly structure your proposal. Think of this as practice for your future career; would an employer give the green light to a compelling, well-structured proposal, or one that is rushed and undeveloped? You are, of course, welcome and encouraged to discuss your paper with your TA as you are working on it.
Regarding citations, you should make sure to connect your proposal to the material covered in class, as well as the LotR. You should also include a bibliography of potential sources that could help you with the project you are proposing. Having a range of high-quality sources is ideal. We will have workshops in discussion sections the week of October 24th to the 28th to discuss how to locate and use additional sources. Incorporating material without citing it is a form of plagiarism and academic dishonesty.
Percentage of total grade: 10
Person or event from LotR: 1 pt
Person or event from the real world: 1 pt
Comparison between the two: 2 pts
Connection to concepts from IR: 3 pts
Quality and diversity of sources: 2 pts
Format and following directions: 1 pt
Technical Details:
Your proposal should be an outline written in narrative form. It should include:
● An introductory paragraph that states the basic question the paper will pose and answer. This paragraph also should outline how the rest of the proposal will unfold.
● The ideal paper will take the form of proposing a ‘triangle’: (a) a character or story line from Middle-earth; (b) a person or event from the real world; and (c) how they relate to each other in the context of International Relations concepts. Your idea can come out of a lecture, the textbook, or one of the other assigned readings.
Font: 12-point, Times New Roman
Format: Microsoft Word / PDF
Margins: 1 inch on all 4 sides
Bibliography Style: APA 7th Edition (you must cite all your sources, and use in-text citations when relevant)

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