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POL S 270 Essay Assignment - Explaining Political Economy Concepts


In Winter 2019, Prof. Gill had to cancel the mid-term exam due to Snowpocalypse cancelling several days of class. He implemented an alternative writing assignment that proved to be very popular and elicited a great deal of creativity from the students. Having mulled over this in subsequent months, the professor decided to substitute out a homework for this assignment and assign it a higher weight.


The purpose of this essay is to have students apply any of the concepts they have learned about in class to solve an interesting puzzle or question they see in the news or their daily lives. Students should approach this essay as a means of teaching a political economy concept to another person who has not taken POL S 270. Use of multiple political economy concepts are also allowed, though the student should be cognizant of the word count/page restrictions. Prof. Gill believes the best way to learn something is to be able to explain it to another person in clear and engaging language. This is a skill you should cultivate in college.


Write a (no longer than) 2,000-word (roughly 3-4 pages) essay that helps to explain an important political economy concept to another person who may not have had any courses in political science or economics. Ideally, you should frame your essay with an interesting question or puzzle that needs explaining, and then use a concept introduced in class to explain that question/puzzle. Your question/puzzle can come from history, the news, or personal experience (everyday living). You are also free to scan the course online discussion board for ideas and use some of the questions posed there. If you cannot think of a creative question/puzzle, you may choose to simply explain the concept as if you were presenting a lecture/talk on the topic, using some form of illustration to bring the concept to life. We encourage you to provide a catchy title to your essay (other than “My Essay”).


You will also need to submit an electronic copy of the essay on the course website under the “Homework Assignments” section

The electronic submission will be scanned with plagiarism detection software. We will be doing spot checks to see that the electronic copy matches the hard copy. Failure to submit an electronic copy will result in a 20-point penalty (out of 100 points total). This may sound harsh, but it is the result of student misconduct in the past. There will be several reminders during lecture so we will not be accepting the excuse of “I didn’t know.” If you didn’t know, that means you didn’t read the instructions fully and/or were not attending lecture regularly Note: Do not cheat, which includes engaging in plagiarism or paying somebody else to write your essay.


In Winter 2019 we detected someone hiring another person to write their essay. It was very obvious this occurred and we have developed several techniques to check for this. Any instances of cheating will be forwarded to the Academic Misconduct Office.


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