Monday, August 17, 2009

Syllabus for Conflicts in the Caucasus

Military Conflicts in Asia: Conflicts in the Caucasus
ICP 410.3
3 Credits
International and Comparative Politics
American University of Central Asia
Fall Semester 2009
J. Otto Pohl, Ph.D.

Meeting Time: Tuesday room 308 and Friday room 216 at 3:35 pm

Course Description: This course will cover the five major military conflicts that have erupted in the Caucasus since the collapse of the Soviet Union. These conflicts are the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno Karabakh, the two wars in Chechnya between pro-independence forces and the Federal government of Russia, and the conflicts between the Georgian government and secessionist movements in Abkhazia and Ossetia. The class will focus on the roots of these conflicts in the Russian Empire and USSR and concentrate on the historical, ethnic and geographic factors involved in sustaining continuing hostilities.

Requirements: The grade for this course will be based upon one geography test, two oral presentations and two papers. At the end of the third week I will administer a test on the political geography of the Caucasus. Students will be asked to identify the various political units of the Caucasus and their administrative capitals on a map. This test will form 10% of the total grade. Most of the course will be centered on student presentations. To this end students must give two oral presentations on a single conflict in the Caucasus. These reports are to be based upon written reports due exactly one week after the oral presentations. Presentations must be given on the day for which they are assigned. For the first set of reports students must have at least three sources for the oral presentation and five for the written paper. The first report and paper should provide a basic historical background to the conflict. This information should include the participants, their motives and goals, and the key events of the conflict. The oral presentations should be at least ten minutes long and no longer than fifteen minutes. The first written paper should be between 2000 and 2500 words. The second oral report should have at least five sources and the second paper ten sources. The second report and paper should expand upon the first one and deal with the reasons behind the prolongation of the conflict, international involvement in the conflict, and possible solutions to the conflict. The second oral report should also be between ten and fifteen minutes. The second written paper should be between 2500 and 3000 words. Finally, students are expected to actively participate in asking questions and commenting on the presentations of other students. Late papers will lose ten percent each day they are late. Students must come to class on time. Being more than fifteen minutes late will count as an absence. Students will lose one letter grade after four unexcused absences and fail the course after seven. Written proof of an emergency from a doctor or other appropriate authority is required for an absence to be excused. No mobile phones are to be visible during class. They are to be out of sight and turned off. I will eject any student from class that has a visible cell phone or whose cell phone rings during class. This will count as an unexcused absence. Finally, I have a significant hearing loss and may have to ask people to repeat their questions or statements from time to time. You can minimize this by speaking loudly and clearly. This syllabus is tentative and subject to change.

Readings: Each week that there are presentations the students presenting are responsible for selecting the possible readings for the class. For the first presentation they should select three articles. For the second presentation they should select five. All presenters are to provide me with a list of their selected articles the week before their presentation. That way I can read the articles and judge whether they are appropriate. I will then assign at least one of the articles provided to me by the presenters to the entire class to read each week. Please only select academic journal articles. The easiest way to do this is to use JSTOR and EBSCOhost. Please avoid submitting articles posted on the internet that have not first been published in a peer reviewed academic journal. Providing me with appropriate articles a week in advance will form a significant component of the grade for the oral presentations. Failure to provide me with the requisite number of articles a week before the presentation will result in a 10% reduction of the grade for the oral report.

Policy on Plagiarism and Citations: I have a zero tolerance policy regarding plagiarism. If I catch any student plagiarizing once I will fail them for the assignment. If I catch them a second time I will fail them from the class. Plagiarism includes any verbatim copying from a source without using quotation marks or setting the text up as an indented single spaced block quotation. If I find that more than five words in a row in your paper show up in the same order in a Google search and you do not have the words in quotation marks or set up as a block quotation I will fail you. Putting a footnote, endnote or other citation after the copied words without the quotation marks or block quotation form is still plagiarism, you are claiming to have paraphrased verbatim text, and you will still receive an F. Taking text from a source without citing it and rearranging the words so that it does not show up in a verbatim Google search is also plagiarism. I will also do Google searches to see if you have taken text and merely rearranged the words. You must either paraphrase the sentence by putting it completely in your own words and citing it with the proper footnote, endnote or in text citation or quote the actual text verbatim complete with the proper citation. Completely paraphrasing sentences in your own words, but neglecting to cite the source of the information is also plagiarism. All information that would not be known to the average person on the street with no university education must be cited. When in doubt always cite a legitimate source. Wikipedia is not a legitimate source. Books published by university presses and academic journal articles found on JSTOR are legitimate sources. Other sources may or may not be legitimate. If you have questions about whether a particular source is legitimate you can ask me. Using Wikipedia or other illegitimate sources will result in a reduction of one letter grade for each citation in a paper.


Geography Test: 10%

First Oral Report: 10%

First Written Paper: 20%

Second Oral Report: 20%

Second Written Paper: 30%

Class Participation: 10%

Grading Scale:

100-96 = A
95-91 = A-
90-86 = B+
85-81 = B
80-76 = B-
75-71 = C+
70-66 = C
65-61 = C-
60-56 = D+
55-51 = D
50-46 = D-
45 and lower = F

Class Schedule:

Week One: Introduction to the course and review of the syllabus

Week Two: Geography, Ethnicity and History of the Caucasus

Week Three: Geography Test

Week Four: First presentations on Nagorno Karabakh.

Week Five: First presentations on the First Chechen War.

Week Six: First presentations on Abkhazia.

Week Seven: First presentations on the Second Chechen War.

Week Eight: First presentations on Ossetia.

Week Nine: Review of material presented so far.

Week Ten: Second presentations on Nagorno Karabakh.

Week Eleven: Second presentations on the First Chechen War.

Week Twelve: Second presentations on Abkhazia.

Week Thirteen: Second presentations on the Second Chechen War.

Week Fourteen: Second presentations on Ossetia.

Week Fifteen: Wrap up and conclusion. The final paper is due at the end of week fifteen.

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