|DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
POLSC 271, Day Session [Codes 4255, 4257, 4303] Prof. K. Erickson
International Politics in the Americas Fall 2008
This course aims to give students an understanding of the basic political, economic, and social processes shaping foreign policies and international relations in the Western Hemisphere, and of the consequences of those policies and relationships for the peoples of the hemisphere. It presents the historical evolution of interpretive paradigms, with particular emphasis on the last five decades. We will cover writings reflecting both Latin American and US views.
The instructor has designed this course to enable students not only to understand the substance of international politics in the Americas but also to develop their abilities to read critically; to think comparatively and logically; and to write critically and analytically, organizing their thought into effective analyses or arguments. Guidelines for effective critical and analytic prose are offered in the writing tipsheet that accompanies this syllabus.
In any field of scientific inquiry, scholars employ explanatory concepts and theories to organize data and to interpret phenomena. One goal of this course is to show students how academic disciplines develop dominant explanatory paradigms composed of such concepts and theories, and how, over time, these paradigms are challenged, refined, and/or replaced by new paradigms. The changing patterns of US policies toward Latin America serve well to illustrate this process, while revealing underlying constant elements.
Dominant paradigms also shape the ways that political leaders, policy practitioners, and citizens in general interpret and approach contemporary problems. The relationships among academic paradigms, policy paradigms, public-opinion currents, and political processes provide an important theme for this course. Understanding these relationships not only helps one explain why certain policies are followed at a given moment, but it should also enable critics and opponents to assess these policies more effectively in order to propose alternatives.
The required text, available from Revolution Books, 146 W. 26 Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues (tel: 212-691-3345), is:
Peter H. Smith, Talons of the Eagle: Latin America, the United States, and the World, 3rd ed. (Oxford
University Press, 2008).
Additional readings will be available via the internet or posted on Blackboard, on electronic reserves (ERes) http://hunter.docutek.com/eres/ , or in the library reserve book collection. The ERes password for this course is erickson271. Announcements and some readings will be emailed, so students are required to activate and use their Hunter internet accounts, and to check their Hunter email inboxes, even if they usually use commercial email servers. Blackboard may be accessed through the CUNY Portal (instructions at http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/icit/trc/gaweek/bbStudentHelp.shtml ), or at the following URLs: https://doorway.cuny.edu/Doorway?ApplicationName=blackboard or http://bb.hunter.cuny.edu/ .
Course requirements include a mid-term exam (20% of final grade); a final exam (40%); a written outside-the-class assignment (30%); and participation in class discussion on the readings (10%). The final exam will be comprehensive, covering all material treated in class and in reading assignments during the semester. To help students prepare for the exam and to highlight issues that the instructor considers important, this syllabus includes a sample list of comprehensive essay questions.
The written assignment, which is due December 11, may take one of two forms:
a research paper on an aspect of inter-American relations, to be approved by the instructor; or
a comparative analytic book review of two books relevant to the course (but not already on the syllabus), to be approved by the instructor. This paper, and the extra-credit paper discussed below, must be submitted in hard copy and also through Turnitin.com, according to the instructions posted on Blackboard.
Students must consult with the instructor about research topics or books to review. A tentative choice of books or topics for the paper must be emailed to the instructor by November 10, and a copy should also be posted on Turnitin.com. It should be well written and explain why the topic interests you, what aspects of it you will cover, and what sources you have identified. I will read and offer comments on a complete (i.e., not hasty or partial) first draft of the term paper if it is submitted by November 25.
Students may also prepare an extra-credit short paper (no more than 1250 words) identifying, analyzing, and comparatively evaluating the liberal and dependency interpretive paradigms. This paper, which is optional, must be turned in by November 14.
Useful bibliographic sources for research materials or books to review are EBSCO and Lexis-Nexis on the Hunter Library website http://library.wexler.hunter.cuny.edu/databases/index.php ; CUNYPLUS; the Columbia University Library catalogue http://clio.cul.columbia.edu/ ; Google and Google Scholar http://www.scholar.google.com , and amazon.com and bn.com . Keywords identifying your interests (e.g., NAFTA; drugs and Colombia; trade and Venezuela; immigration and Mexico; peacekeeping and Argentina; “Dominican Republic” and “United States;” etc.) will bring up many recent books and articles. Where the catalogue offers you the option to select by descending date, i.e., by most-recent first, as in Columbia’s CLIO, choose that option. You can quickly build a working bibliography by saving, copying, and then pasting the results into a document file. Google.com can provide links to excellent web sources. For tips on how to use Google most profitably, consult the Powerpoint presentations, Google 101, 201, and 301, on Patrick Douglas Crispen’s website: http://netsquirrel.com/powerpoint/index.html .
For reporting and analysis of relevant current events in the hemisphere that we may discuss in class, students are expected to follow the New York Times and other media sources. Let me also point out the often neglected (in this age of television) and truly outstanding news coverage of WNYC radio (AM 82 and FM 93.9). Weekdays, AM and FM carry "Morning Edition," the two-hour National Public Radio newscast, alternating with “The Takeaway,” from 6 to 10 o'clock. "All Things Considered," the NPR evening news program plays from 4 to 6:30 p.m. WNYC-AM broadcasts "The World," a joint PRI-BBC world news magazine from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., and other BBC newscasts at 5 a.m., 9 a.m., and midnight. It runs the audio feed of the televised PBS NewsHour from 11 p.m. to midnight. At other hours AM presents excellent current-affairs interview and talk shows.
And WBAI, the Pacifica Foundation station (FM 99.5), presents news and analysis weekdays on "Democracy Now" from 9 to 10 a.m. and the evening news from 6 to 7 p.m. (with a rebroadcast at 11 p.m.), as well as numerous features on Latin America and the Caribbean. New York's Spanish-language television often provides perceptive reporting on events in the hemisphere. Major media websites (www.nytimes.com, www.salon.com, www.washingtonpost.com, www.cnn.com, etc.) make it easy to follow recent current events. Lexis-Nexis, mentioned earlier, allows one to search many media at once.
My office hours are: Tuesday, 3:40-4:10 and 7:00-7:30; Thursday, 4:30-5:00; and by appointment, in room HW1720 (tel. 212-772-5498). My e-mail address is: Kenneth.Erickson@hunter.cuny.edu . If you have a junk-mail filter in your email account, please be sure to program it to accept email from my address. When corresponding with me, always put the course number “271” in the subject line, to route your message into a priority inbox for this course.
COURSE OUTLINE AND ASSIGNED READINGS
Aug. 29. Introductory session: lecture on historical dependency of Latin America.
II. U.S. FOREIGN POLICY TOWARD LATIN AMERICA: A HISTORICAL OVERVIEW.
PARADIGMS, ASSUMPTIONS, AND POLICY MAKERS' BIAS: A HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL CRITIQUE.
Sept. 2. Read syllabus carefully; and "Erickson's notes on science and paradigms," 1-9; and;
Thomas S. Kuhn, “The Route to Normal Science,” in The Structure of Scientific
Revolutions, 3rd ed., (U. of Chicago Press, 1996), 10-21; and
Lars Schoultz, “Encountering Latin America,” in Beneath the United States: A History
of U.S. Policy Toward Latin America (Harvard U. P., 1998), xi-xvii, 1-13, 367-386.
B. HISTORICAL OVERVIEW: THE DYNAMICS OF U.S. POLICY TOWARD LATIN AMERICA.
Sept. 5. Smith, vii-viii, 1-42.
9. Smith, 43-80.
12. Smith, 81-110.
16. Smith, 111-147.
19. Smith, 148-180; and
Kissinger Commission Report (N.Y. Times summary, 1-12-84); and
William LeoGrande, "Through the Looking Glass: The Kissinger Report on Central
America," World Policy Journal Excerpts (Winter l984).
23. Smith, 181-240.
26. Smith, 241-272.
30. No CUNY classes scheduled.
Oct. 3. Smith, 273-336.
7. Smith, 337-368.
14. No Tuesday classes in CUNY; Monday schedule instead.
17. Smith, 369-394.
21. Smith, 395-414; REVIEW FOR MID-TERM EXAM.
C. UNDERSTANDING U.S. FOREIGN POLICY MAKING: LIBERAL AND DEPENDENCY
PERSPECTIVES ON THE ALLIANCE FOR PROGRESS.
Oct. 24. Christopher Mitchell, “Dominance and Fragmentation in U.S. Latin American
Policy,” and commentary by Jorge Graciarena, in Julio Cotler & Richard Fagen
(eds.), Latin America and the United States: The Changing Political Realities
(Stanford U.P., 1974), 176-211.
28. Abraham F. Lowenthal, “‘Liberal,’ ‘Radical,’ and
‘Bureaucratic’ Perspectives on U.S. Latin American Policy: The Alliance for
Progress in Retrospect,” and commentary by Heraclio Bonilla,
in Cotler & Fagen, 212-237.
CASE STUDY IN DEPENDENCY ANALYSIS: U.S. FOREIGN POLICY TOWARD CHILE.
Oct. 31. “Covert Action in Chile, 1963-1973” (US Senate Select Committee Staff Report,
USGPO, 1975), 1-56.
Nov. 4. MID-TERM EXAM.
Nov. 7. K. P. Erickson & P. V. Peppe, "Dependent Capitalist Development, U.S. Foreign
Policy, and Repression of the Working Class in Chile and Brazil," Latin American
Perspectives, III (Winter 1976), 19-44; and Erickson’s Notes on Dependency.
Nov. 11. Review. Consider extra-credit paper; DEADLINE for paper topic proposal.
III. TRANSNATIONAL CHALLENGES TO STATE SOVEREIGNTY IN THE POST COLD-WAR WORLD: UNILATERAL, AND MULTILATERAL, RESPONSES.
A. CHANGING REALITIES, CHANGING PARADIGMS.
Nov. 14. Jorge I. Domínguez, “The Future of Inter-American Relations:
States, Challenges, and Likely Responses,” in J. I. Domínguez (ed.) The Future of
Inter-American Relations (Routledge, 2000), 3-34; and
Brian Loveman, “Introduction,” in Brian Loveman (ed.), Strategy for Empire: U.S.
Regional Security Policies in the Post-Cold War Era (SR Books, 2004), xiii-xxviii;
David Brooks, “Continuity We Can Believe In,” NY Times, 12-2-08.
B. TRANSNATIONAL CRIME, DRUG POLICY, AND STATE CAPACITY.
Nov. 18. James Jones, "We're Targeting a Colombia We Don't Fully Understand,"
Washington Post, 2 April 2000; and
María Clemencia Ramírez Lemus, et al., “Colombia: A Vicious Circle of Drugs
and War,” in Coletta A. Youngers and Eileen Rosin, eds, Drugs and Democracy
in Latin America: The Impact of U.S. Policy (Lynne Rienner, 2005), 99-142.
Laura Carlsen, “A Primer on Plan Mexico,” CIP Americas Policy Program,
7-10-08, 1-16; and
Mónica Serrano, “Transnational Crime in the Western Hemisphere,”
in Domínguez, The Future of Inter-American Relations (Routledge, 2000), 87-110.
US-LATIN AMERICAN RELATIONS: CONTEMPORARY CASES.
A. POST-COLD-WAR US-CUBAN RELATIONS: UNCHANGING CONFRONTATION.
Nov. 21. Jorge I. Domínguez, “Cuba and the Pax Americana: U.S.-Cuban Relations
Post-1990,” in J. I. Domínguez & Byung-Kook Kim (eds), Between Compliance
and Conflict: East Asia, Latin America, and the “New” Pax Americana
(Routledge, 2005), 193-217; and
Wayne Smith, “Inside Track: Take Cuba Off The Terrorist List,” The National
B. US-VENEZUELAN RELATIONS IN THE CHÁVEZ ERA: INTENSIFYING CONFLICT.
Nov. 25. Michael Shifter, “Hugo Chávez: A Test for U.S. Policy,” Inter-American
Dialogue, March 2007, ix-29.
Steve Ellner, “The Chávez Government in the International Arena,” Ch. 8 in
Rethinking Venezuelan Politics: Class, Conflict, and the Chávez Phenomenon
(Lynne Rienner, 2008), 195-213.
C. UNASUR: SOUTH AMERICAN JOINT INITIATIVE (Smith’s “Missing Option 5”?).
Dec. 2. Ariela Ruiz Caro, “UNASUR and the Challenge of Being South American,”
CIP Americas Policy Program, 7-1-08; and
Tony Phillips, “The Bolivian Crisis, the OAS, and UNASUR,” CIP Americas
Policy Program, 9-30-08; and
Alex Sánchez, “The South American Defense Council, UNASUR…and the
Region’s Political Process,” COHA, 10-1-08.
General info at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_of_South_American_Nations
V. THE NEW POLITICAL ECONOMY IN THE POST COLD-WAR WORLD.
A. FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS, ECONOMIC INTEGRATION, AND DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS.
Dec. 5. Mark Barenberg & Peter Evans, “The FTAA’s Impact on Democratic Governance,”
in Antoni Estevadeordal et al., Integrating the Americas: FTAA and Beyond
(Harvard U P, 2004), 755-789.
B. INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS.
Dec. 9. Wendy Hunter, “International Financial Institutions: Changing Perspectives
and Policy Prescriptions,” in Domínguez, The Future…, 113-130; and
Donald Mitchell, “Sugar Policies: Opportunity for Change,” in Richard Newfarmer
(ed), Trade, Doha, and Development: A Window into the Issues (World Bank,
2006), 129-137; and WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT DUE on Dec. 11.
VI. CONCLUSION AND REVIEW.
Dec. 16. Review.
Dec. 19. FINAL EXAM (Day session), 11:30-1:30 (Friday).
Dec. 23. FINAL EXAM (Evening session), 5:20-7:20 (Tuesday).
* * * *
POLSC 271, Fall 2008 Exam Preparation [Revised 12-11-08]
International Politics in the Americas Prof. K. Erickson
The mid-term exam will consist of four short essays (out of five), in which you will identify the terms presented (generally concepts treated in readings and class discussion) and show their relevance to political analysis and/or to the understanding of international politics in the Americas, making clear the logic of your analysis and illustrating appropriately. The final exam has two parts. The short-essay part (20 percent) has the same format as the mid-term, with terms drawn from materials covered since the mid-term. The long-essay part (for 80 percent) is cumulative, covering the entire semester. Make-up (i.e., late) exams do not have choices among questions.
Below are some questions on material we cover during this course, to help you recognize issues considered important by the instructor. These are typical long-essay questions. You are encouraged to form
study groups to discuss the materials and prepare for the final exam. You may bring one letter-size sheet of notes (8.5"x11") to the final exam with you, but not to the mid-term. Bear in mind tips from the writing tipsheet about writing essays, in particular the importance of illustrating generalizations with examples.
1. Lars Schoultz and Peter Smith have written very critical histories of US policy toward Latin America. Identify and assess the key factors in their critiques, illustrating with examples. How do US policy makers conceive, explain, and defend US policy, and how have their explanations evolved over time? To what degree are Schoultz’s and Smith’s interpretations compatible with those of the authors in Sections III-V?
2. When President John F. Kennedy announced the Alliance for Progress, he raised hopes that during the 1960s Latin America would overcome its comparative backwardness and make great strides toward the liberal ideals of rapid economic development, increasingly egalitarian social structures, and democratic political institutions. Although some countries showed significant gains in economic output during the sixties, it is clear that the Alliance failed in terms of its aspirations on the social and political levels. Some observers, particularly those with a Marxist approach, claimed that the failure of the Alliance was inevitable. Other observers claimed that the failure of the Alliance was not inevitable but rather that it resulted from specific patterns of infighting and interest articulation within the complex institutions and processes that influence or formulate US foreign policy. Describe and evaluate the arguments of each of these points of view. Are they reconcilable, and why? Illustrate your analysis with examples.
3. The question of imperialism, i.e., political and economic domination by foreign powers, has been long debated in Latin American circles. Evaluate the argument that Latin America has suffered from imperialist exploitation. In doing so, indicate the links of dependency that tie Latin American countries to the developed capitalist world, and specify and evaluate the effects which this dependency is alleged to have upon the economic, social, and political systems of the Latin American countries. In what ways is it in the interest of the United States to be an imperialist power? Illustrate, where possible, with examples from at least three Latin American countries.
4. Identify and discuss the US national interests that must be defended or maintained through foreign policy. These broad interests must be translated into concrete policy goals. In the Western Hemisphere, what are the principal US policy measures taken to promote or guarantee these interests? Evaluate, in the light of historical and recent experience, the effectiveness with which US government policies have served these national interests. Do you believe these are the most appropriate policies or that others might be more appropriate, and why? Illustrate your discussion with cases or examples.
5. Some scholars in the 1990s wrote that the world had changed so much since 1989 that the entire agenda of inter-American policy issues was dramatically altered. Discuss, analyze, and illustrate the key policy issues and the rules of the game for addressing them during the Cold War era, and then do the same for Smith’s two post-Cold War eras, the “decade of uncertainty” and the war on terror. Be sure to include security threats, economic reform, trade, immigration, and drugs in your discussion, and to make reference to Brian Loveman’s argument and evidence. Does US Cuban policy conform to these patterns?
6. The international debt crisis of the 1980s provoked major domestic crises in Latin American countries. Discuss the underlying causes of balance-of-payments difficulties in Latin American countries, the solutions usually proposed by the IMF, the problems that such solutions may aggravate, and the ways IFI approaches have evolved since 1960.
7. Jorge Domínguez and other authors in his edited books find evidence that the US policy approach to Latin America is evolving from a mainly unilateral to a more multilateral approach. Brian Loveman, on the other hand, argues that US policy has been unilateral and that its unilateralism has intensified. Identify the factors that led Domínguez to emphasize an evolution toward multilateralism, and the factors that led Loveman to emphasize the unilateral nature of US foreign policy. Over the next four years, how do you expect US policy to evolve on the unilateralism/multilateralism continuum? Feel free to bring in extra-hemispheric case materials to illustrate your assessment.
WRITING TIPSHEET, K. P. Erickson
HANDOUT FOR STUDENTS, ON WRITING PAPERS AND EXAMS (Updated January 2008)
All essays should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Essays should make a point or an argument, and illustrate it with supporting evidence.
Consider the argument of a book review. In most cases, monographic studies address a debate in their discipline. They take a position that accepts, illustrates, and perhaps refines the prevailing wisdom (dominant paradigm) in the field, or they criticize that prevailing wisdom and present data to support an alternative explanation of the phenomenon under study. Reviewers should present the main point or argument of the book or books they treat, along with their evaluation of the arguments, logic, evidence, coherence, and clarity of the book or books. Student reviewers should be able to reread their reviews two years after writing them and effectively recall the key ideas and substance of a book, as well as their evaluation or criticism of it.
Writers should always make the logic of their thought explicit, on the level of overall organization, on the level of paragraphs, and on the level of sentences. They should also make explicit the logic of the processes they describe or analyze. One effective way to make clear the overall logic of a paper, chapter, or dissertation/book is to begin it with an introductory “roadmap” paragraph or section.
Paragraphs should begin with topic sentences, and long paragraphs should be broken into smaller ones, each with its own topic sentence. One of the reasons why long paragraphs usually do not make their thought as clear as shorter ones is that long paragraphs include more than one component of a thought, but they contain only one topic sentence. Breaking up a long paragraph into two or more smaller ones, therefore, is not simply responding to esthetic desires for more white space on a page. Rather, when writers break up long paragraphs, they necessarily must link the components of an argument with more topic sentences, thereby making their logic more explicit.
Illustrations, preferably brief, should be provided for each generalization.
Writers should write for a hypothetical intelligent but uninformed reader, so that they are forced to make explicit the logic and the data on which they make their argument.
In selecting words for strong and effective argument, remember that verbs are much stronger than nouns or other types of words, and that transitive verbs (those that force the reader to include a subject and an object, i.e., to state who did what to whom) in the active voice are the strongest. Avoid passives and intransitive verbs (for they tend to lose information, because passives do not require a subject and intransitives do not require an object) and impersonal constructions where nouns replace verbs. For example, "there was a meeting where it was decided that…" conveys less information and thus is not as strong as "party leaders held a meeting where they decided that…."
Fernando Fajnzylber's phrasing below, for example, in his brilliant but difficult to read (and therefore impossible to assign as required reading) Unavoidable Industrial Restructuring in Latin America (1990), p. 47 relies on nouns that he could have replaced with verbs: "In Japan and in large U.S. corporations, estimates have prognosticated a duplication in the production during the next fifteen to twenty years, with a reduction in employment of between 25 and 40 percent."
A sharp copyeditor could have forced him to check his data and change his formulation to something like: "Japanese and US corporate studies predict that, over the next fifteen to twenty years, production will double while employment will decline by 25 to 40 percent."
Students are expected to proofread their papers before submitting them, so that typographical errors and spelling errors have been corrected. Students should routinely do such proofreading, out of self-respect as well as out of respect for their instructor.
In the case of papers submitted for this course, those averaging more than three spelling or typographical errors per page over three or more pages will be returned ungraded. The corrected version, when resubmitted, will be graded two-thirds of a letter grade below the grade the work would otherwise earn (e.g., a B+ would become a B-, and a B would become a C+). Students who are not strong spellers should be attentive to prompts from their word processor's spelling checker.
Papers for this course should be typed, double-spaced, stapled, and not in plastic or other folders. Hand-written exams should also be double-spaced.
I grade papers on the basis of their organization, logic, coherence, originality, evaluative criticism, data, and clarity.
Some symbols I use in my penned comments:
Circled words or letters indicate spelling errors. A line linking circled words suggests overuse of a word, inconsistency or contradiction in use, or some other problem.
[ ] Brackets indicate a word choice that I question. Reconsider the word, even though you may choose to stick with your original word. Brackets also may indicate a passage that I have commented on in the margin. I sometimes add delete marks to brackets, suggesting that you drop the passage.
d A lower-case "d" in the margin is for diction, i.e., to signal that the sentence next to the "d" does not say well what it seeks to say, perhaps for reasons of grammar or simply due to confusing construction or word choice (e.g., Fajnzylber’s sentence above).
ant "Antecedent," raises questions about the antecedent of a pronoun or adjective, i.e. ambiguity or error in attribution, as with "they" to refer to a singular noun earlier in the sentence. I also use it also to indicate that you are treating a topic as if the reader is already familiar with it, when in fact it has not yet been introduced.
logic When I write "logic" in your ms., it is to signal some break in the internal logic that your exposition seeks to develop.
trans Transition needed between components of a thought.
Parallel upright lines, with diagonal line through them. Grammatical structures or arguments are not parallel.
SYLLABUS ADDENDUM: GUIDELINES FOR ORGANIZING SCHOLARLY PAPERS
Notes drafted for inclusion on syllabi (graduate and advanced undergraduate courses), as guidelines for organizing scholarly papers:
Political science, like any other discipline in the natural or social sciences, seeks to identify patterns, processes, or phenomena and to explain how and why they work the way they do. To explain or illuminate such processes or phenomena, political scientists use analytical concepts to organize data and to formulate and assess explanatory theories and hypotheses. Students writing in the discipline of political science therefore should focus their research and write-up on a key conceptual/theoretical issue of importance to them and to the discipline.
Ideally, in papers, theses, and dissertations, and later in journal articles, one should (1) begin with a brief review of conceptual/ theoretical interpretations or explanations of how some political process or phenomenon works, then (2) show how the prevailing explanation or concept falls short in some way, and finally (3) propose some new concept or refinement of a hypothesis that would better explain the phenomenon. Then one can (4) move to specific, operationalizable hypotheses that can be examined with real data in order to infer the answer to the overarching, broader hypothesis.
Within this framework, one can then elaborate a case study that assembles the data to answer one's questions. And as one proceeds with the case material, one needs to make systematic, explicit reference to the theories or hypotheses that the case material helps one address. That is, one should provide the reader with explicit connective tissue that integrates the empirical components of the study with its theoretical and conceptual framework. This task of making a writer's logic explicit, addressed in the writing tipsheet, is what distinguishes an inspired, outstanding manuscript from an inspired but merely good one, and this increases its likelihood of being accepted for publication by the editors of a journal or press.
The identification of shortcomings or needed refinements in a theory or hypothesis usually comes after some work in graduate school, so students at earlier stages are more likely to draw upon a prevailing concept or hypothesis to gather and organize data to illuminate some specific problem or issue. In comparative politics, for example, one might use a generally accepted hypothesis to organize the questions asked and the data gathered about some process in a country or context of one's choosing, for example, the role of elite pacting in democratization or the impact of electoral or parliamentary rules on party accountability.
Well designed case studies of this type have considerable academic value. When preparing a manuscript to submit for publication in comparative politics, one should keep in mind that the board of a journal will surely prefer a manuscript that seeks to refine an accepted concept or to develop a new one. Such a journal, however, will also consider seriously a case study applying an accepted concept in a way that can be replicated, cumulatively, in other contexts for the development of comparative analysis. And journals devoted to specific regions or nations explicitly seek out such case studies.
[Revised January 2008]
Academic Dishonesty and University Policies
The Hunter College Senate passed the following resolution on May 11, 2005: “Hunter College regards acts of academic dishonesty (e.g., plagiarism, cheating on examinations, obtaining unfair advantage, and falsification of records and official documents) as serious offenses against the values of intellectual honesty. The college is committed to enforcing the CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity and will pursue cases of academic dishonesty according to the Hunter College Academic Integrity Procedures.”
The College and University policy on academic honesty and dishonesty is set forth in the Hunter College Undergraduate Catalogue, 2007-2010 (p. 71): “The use of material (whether or not purchased) prepared by another and submitted by students as their own will result in disciplinary proceedings.” Section 15.3.a of the Student Disciplinary Procedure Bylaws of CUNY (on p. 275 of the same catalogue) instructs members of the college community: “Any charge, accusation, or allegation…must be submitted in writing in complete detail to the office of the dean of students promptly by the individual…making the charge.” The dean’s office then investigates and disposes of such cases.
The reason that academic communities consider academic dishonesty such a serious offense is that scientific research and learning—and hence the very life of the academic enterprise—are built on a foundation of truth. Without that foundation, academic institutions would lack the integrity that permits critical analysis and that, from a utilitarian perspective, fosters scientific, economic, and social progress.
To make the case that academic honesty is indispensable to scholarly work in the social sciences, let me begin with a discussion of the natural sciences. Students who perform laboratory experiments must carefully record their procedures in their lab reports. This enables them, and their instructors, to verify that their findings are correct, or, if not, to know why not. Such record keeping is not simply a make-work exercise. Students follow the same procedures as professional scientists, who must keep careful records of their work so that their colleagues, critics, or successors can replicate the original experiments to test their work and verify (or, depending on the results, qualify or reject) their findings.
For library research in the social sciences, correct and complete citation is analogous to rigorous laboratory procedure in the physical sciences. Scholars in the social sciences take careful notes so that their evidence can be checked and their work replicated or challenged by other social scientists. This enables knowledge and understanding to evolve as researchers confirm, refine, or reject prevailing paradigms of explanation. And, just as laboratory experiments and lab notes must represent a student’s own work, so too must research papers or other written work—properly documented—be the student’s own.
In June 2004, CUNY adopted an updated policy on academic integrity. It is consistent with, but not identical to, the regulations above, and can be viewed in detail at:
Last revised, 1-26-08
Syl271, Day Session, Fall 2008, p. [Last edited 12-11-08]