Comparing Dictatorships

In this course, an end of semester project substitutes for a final exam. The project shall consist of a comparison of two or more dictatorships and use at least one of the assigned readings in this course as an anchor (e.g., as in the “Padilla Case” essay that used a chapter in Overy’s Dictators as a reference point).

The project takes place in stages, to wit:

Phase 1. In the first phase, in 1-2 pages of text you are propose three possible topics you could research for your presentation and report. This proposal shall include at least three annotated bibliographic entries for each topic, showing that you have at least scanned the abstracts and have some idea of their content. We then shall have a conversation, virtually or in person, in which I help you choose one of them (or still another not originally considered) for your report and presentation.  

Phase 2. In the second phase, you submit the report in no more than seven pages of text (double-spaced, in Times New Roman or Georgia #12; with one page of grace: I shall stop reading after eight pages of text). This total excludes the title page, tables or figures, if any, endnotes and an annotated bibliography of at least five scholarly items (journal articles, book chapters, books). You may include additional items, such as data sets, articles or entries from highly regarded sources, or encyclopedia entries, all done according to the APSA Style Manual available in the Foundations Module. You shall begin with a short description of the question you set out to explore. Next, you will do a “literature review,” that is, you will convey the main points of what the five scholarly sources you consulted said about this question. Then you will summarize what you “bring to the table,” to so speak, that is, what you are contributing to the examination of the topic. The report is due on the first day presentations are scheduled. No late submissions accepted, no excuses allowed.

Outline of your report:

Title Page.

Think of a title that is catchy, a suggestive phrase, followed by a more prosaic, but informative subtitle.

Abstract. This shall be a dense paragraph that conveys to the reader what your report is all about.

Enter the course number and name.

Then, add the following affirmation: “On my honor, I affirm that in doing this assignment I have not sought, received, offered, or given any help to anyone else. [(“Except from the Writing Lab”—if it applies to you.] Add your name and date it.

Text or body of the report: 5-7 pages.

Introduction: one page

Literature Review: 2-3 pages. Do in-text reference notes to credit sources.

Your findings: 2-3 pages

Synthesis and conclusion: 1-2 pages.

Annotated bibliography.

Review APSA Style Manual in Foundations Module for how to construct a bibliography.

Tables and figures, if any. Each table and figure has a caption, e.g., Table 1. [Here you enter an informative title. For examples, see the tables and figures in Overy’s book.]

Phase 3. Phase 3 consists in the project presentation. Most presenters have chosen to do so on an artfully designed PPP or pdf file. But it is up to you to decide what the best mode will work for you. The presentation file is due at the same time as the project report.

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