International Studies | International Studies Capstone Seminar
I400 | ALL | --
This course is designed to bring your accumulated training in
International Studies on a single original project of your choice,
subject to the instructor’s approval and under the supervision of a
faculty member. The completed thesis should bring together your
theme, your region, your language and your overseas experience in an
8000 word tour de force. The overall purpose of this project is to
train you to continue to think critically, write and present
clearly, critique other work analytically (yet respectfully), and
respond to criticism positively.
Any required readings will be posted on Oncourse. The syllabus and
grades can also be found there.
You may want to look at previous I400 papers as models for your
papers. A number of these are available on the I100 E-Reserve site.
The password for the site is: ISrocks. Previous I100 papers by
Richeson, Yuan, Nigh, Simko and A. Gorman all appear there.
Student requirements are designed to facilitate practical skills in
critical thinking, writing, and
presentation. Your performance will be evaluated via the following:
1. Attendance. Attendance will be taken. Any absence will negatively
affect your grade since we only meet 8 times after the first week of
class. Absences for military commitments, religious observances, or
highly infectious diseases (like swine flu) must be accompanied by
corroborating documentation. Late assignments will not be accepted
unless circumstances are extenuating.
Presentations and in-class critiques cannot be made up if missed.
2. Mentor participation. You should identify an Indiana University
faculty member who has expertise in a major aspect of your thesis
project. A list of International Studies affiliated faculty is
available, though you should feel free to approach faculty members
not on this list. When approaching a potential mentor, you should
share the handout on INTL I 400 Mentor Responsibilities. Mentors
must meet with you three times (they may meet with you more often if
they care to). The first meeting is to discuss your project and
topic statement, the second is to review your bibliography and the
third is to review your full rough draft.
Mentors should sign and date a form confirming that each of the
three meetings occurred, as well as send a confirmation email to
(email@example.com). The mentor must include comments on the rough
draft in the final email. Mentors provide guidance to students, but
course grades will be assigned by the instructor.
3. Project section drafts. Section drafts must be posted to the
Gmail account I400Fall2009
(Password: athesisiwillwrite). This email is only for posting your
class assignments, since all members of the class have access to it.
All drafts should be posted to the Gmail account by 9 pm on the
Saturday before class.
Topic Statement: This assignment requires only five sentences (only
five!). The first
sentence should tell us what your thesis topic is. The next three
sentences should give three
separate reasons why your topic is important. The final line should
explain what background you have with the topic, or why you should
be the one to write this project (e.g. “I spent six months in
Introduction: This part of your paper should introduce the reader to
the main aspects of your thesis. It should expand your Topic
Statement and set the stage for the Literature Review, the
Methodology and the Case Study. Good Introductions often start with
creative beginning paragraphs and may include anecdotes or personal
commentary. Your Introduction should also anticipate the outcome of
your research and provide a summary of the different sections of
Literature Review: This part of the thesis is where you ground your
case study in a wider literature, where you tie your case to your
theme in the major. This is the hardest portion of the thesis to
write and that is why we give you the most time here. What we are
looking for in a literature review is best shown by illustration.
For example, if you are examining the Basque separatist movement,
then you would want to write a review of the literature on
nationalism and nationalist movements. If you are writing on the
enslavement of children in Haiti, then you would want your
literature review to focus on human rights. If you are writing on
the way that the 2005 French riots were portrayed in the French
media, then you would want to review the literature on framing. If
you were writing on the popularity of the tango in Japan, then you
would want to review the literature on ritual and so on. It is best
if you make no reference to your case what-so-ever when writing this
portion of your thesis. You will have to locate the necessary
primary literature (peer-reviewed articles). You can also use
chapters from edited volumes, or you can obtain background
information from some books. You cannot, however, rely on textbooks
or newspaper/magazine articles, nor can you reference websites. You
also cannot cite lectures or other forms of personal communication.
Methodology: All of you are implicitly using some form of
methodology. For most, if not all, this will be some form of case
study. There is a large literature justifying the use of case study,
much of it around the research of Robert Yin. Within your case, you
may use a variety of approaches, such as narrative, textual
analysis, participant observation, lived experience, interview and
so on. In this assignment you should demonstrate that you know not
only what methods you employ, but what the strengths and weaknesses
of these methods are.
Case Study: Here you provide all the details of your actual study.
Again, by way of example, you relate the history of the Basques
separatist movement, the details of the enslavement of children in
Haiti or the coverage of the riots in the French media, or you
describe how the tango became popular in Japan. This the part of the
thesis you will be most familiar with, since it is most like what
you have thought of throughout your Indiana University career as “a
Conclusion: This portion of the thesis should include three parts: a
summary of the major points of the thesis, conclusions that reflect
back to the literature review and conclusions that might be of a
practical or policy nature. A great conclusion always ends with a
dynamite punch line.
4. Complete rough draft. Structure your paper with titled sections.
Grammar, organization, and intellectual content all count. Do not
write your paper by summarizing one single reference. Followed by
another, and then another. Synthesize and integrate all the
references and organize the paper by topic.
Format for literature citation (both in the text and bibliography)
must be according to the Chicago Manual of Style at
Your thesis should be a minimum of 8000 words and include at least
25 references. Pages should be double-spaced, 12-point Times font,
and 1-inch margins. Include page numbers.
For assistance with your writing, please consider contacting the
Writing Tutorial Services of the Campus Writing Program.
5. Final version of project. You should revise your rough draft
several times before submitting the final version. Historically, the
main reason students get poor marks in I400 is because they do not
heed the advice given by those who review and comment on the rough
drafts. Take comments from me, your mentor, your classmates, and our
professional editor seriously.
6. Peer reviews. You will read and respond to all of your
classmates’ papers by class time. Bring typed (not hand written)
comments (separate sheets of paper for each project) to class, or
print out your classmates’ assignments and mark them with a colored
pen. Make sure you also have comments to orally give your classmate
during class. Comments should be critical yet respectful (think:
positive) and should focus on argument, evidence, logic, exposition,
and grammar. You will review every assignment for everyone in the
class, with the exception of the literature review and case
study/conclusions, for which you will only need to review
7. Project presentation. You will give a presentation summarizing
your project to the class (and possibly other faculty members and
colleagues). Presentation should last no longer than 15 minutes.
Students will use Microsoft PowerPoint for their presentations. If
you use a Mac, you must save your PPT as a PDF to run ideally on a
PC. You will need to bring your presentation to class early to load
it onto the classroom’s computer.
Presentation grades will be determined by both content and delivery
There are 100 points possible in the course. They are apportioned as
Mentor participation………………………….12 points
Section drafts…………………………………15 points
Topic Statement 1 point
Introduction 2 points
Literature Review 4 points
Methodology 2 points
Case Study 4 points
Conclusion 2 points
Complete rough draft of project……………...15 points
Final version of the project………………...…25 points
Peer review…………………………………...10 points
Topic Statement 1 point
Introduction 1 point
Literature Review 3 points
Methodology 1 point
Case Study 3 points
Conclusion 1 point
Project presentation…………………………..15 points
Organization 3 points
Visual quality 3 points
Timing 3 points
Practice 3 points
Informative value 3 points
The grade distribution will be as follows:
99-100% A+ 78-79% C+ <59% F
93-98% A 73-77% C
90-92% A- 70-72% C-
88-89% B+ 68-69% D+
83-87% B 63-67% D
80-82% B- 60-62% D-
Other important Matters
The best way to contact me is via email. Please allow up to two days
for an email response. I do not respond requests during the weekend.
A meeting in person can be almost always arranged within one or two
days if you cannot make it to office hours. It is inappropriate to
contact me to know what you missed during unexcused absences.
If you require assistance or academic accommodation for a
disability, please contact me after class, during office hours or by
individual appointment. You must have established your eligibility
support services through the Office of Disabled Student Services in
096 Franklin Hall, 855-7578.
Do not leave class early or come to class late without prior
I reserve the right to change the syllabus and course content.
Please turn off any wireless devices in class. If you want to use a
laptop to take notes, please keep all programs closed except the one
you are using to take notes; in other words, no email or games in
Plagiarism constitutes using others’ ideas, words or images without
properly giving credit to those sources. If you turn in any work
with your name affixed to it, I assume that work is your own and
that all sources are indicated and documented in the text (with
quotations and/or citations). I will respond to acts of academic
misconduct according to university policy concerning plagiarism;
sanctions for plagiarism can include a grade of F for the course and
must include a report to the Dean of Students Office.
You are required to complete the online plagiarism tutorial at
Take the self-test before __________and e-mail me the results using
the mechanism on the self-test.
IU’s code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct can be
found at (http://campuslife.Indiana.edu/Code/index.html). Student-
instructor relations are dictated by the Family Educational Rights
and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Other Things of Interest to Seniors
Senior year is job hunt year. If you plan to work upon graduation,
you should register with Arts and Sciences Career Services as soon
as possible and it is strongly recommended that you take Q299.
Also prior to leaving the university, or shortly thereafter, please
make sure that you migrate your email to the alumni servers. As a
graduate of Indiana University, you have free lifetime privileges on
the alumni email servers. If you migrate to the alumni servers, we
can stay in touch with you, send you nifty International Studies
newsletters and help you find jobs through the International Studies
alumni network. If not, then we can’t.