PS1583: Topics in International Relations
Group Presentation: Explaining the Civil Wars of the 20th Century
One of the assignments of this class is to give a group presentation of an analytical examination of a civil war. For this assignment, each student will be assigned to a group at the beginning of the third class. Each group will consist of 4 students and will choose a civil war from the list on page 2.
The content of the group presentation will consist of a brief synopsis of the civil war and an analytical assessment of the causes, duration and termination/resolution of the war.
- To familiarize yourself and each other about the civil wars of the 20th century
- To use abstract concepts and theories you learned in this class to better understand real-life events
- To improve your oral communication and presentation skills
- Each member of the group is expected to contribute to the presentation but is not allowed to repeat what has been already said. Divide the presentation among each other. Each student in a group should be responsible for the one of the following roles:
- Member 1: Provide a background of the civil war: (when did the civil war take place?, who were the disputant groups?, what was the main issue of contention?, how did the war end?, what happened at the end?)
- Member 2: Explain the causes of the civil war. You need to apply the concepts and theories you have learned in this class to explain the causes of the war.
- Member 3: Explain the duration of the war and the effectiveness of outside intervention: (why did the civil war last as long as it did?, was there any involvement by outside third parties?, was it successful?, why/why not?). You need to apply the concepts and theories you have learned in this class to explain the duration of the war and the effectiveness of outside intervention in the termination of the war (if there was an intervention).
- Member 4: Explain the termination and consequences of the civil war: (how did the civil war end?, was there a peaceful settlement?, how durable was the peace?, what contributed to the durability of peace?). You need to apply the concepts and theories you have learned in this class to explain the termination and resolution of the war and the post-war stability.
- Presentations should not exceed 15 minutes.
- After each presentation, a 5 minute long Q&A period will take place where the audience is expected ask questions to group members regarding their presentation.
- There should be clear and smooth transitions between each presenter in a group. You need to work together as a group to be able to deliver a smooth presentation.
- There should be 3 to 5 points per slide and each point should not be more than 5 to 7 words.
- You are expected to email me your presentation slides 24 hours prior to your presentation day.
- Refrain from using too many pictures and animations.
- This assignment will constitute 10 % of your final grade. 30 % of your grade will be based on your individual contribution to the presentation and 70 % of your grade will be based on the performance of your group as a whole. Therefore, it is crucial that you work together in the preparation of every aspect of the presentation.
- Your performance will be assessed according to two criteria (content and presentation skills) on a 5-point scale (5 = excellent, 4 = above average, 3 = average, 2= fair, 1= poor).
- Evaluation criteria:
- Content: Reflects strong understanding of the civil war and your ability to effectively apply the concepts and theories you learned in this class to explain the civil war (65 %).
- Presentation Skills: Measures appropriate language use, grammar, effective articulation of ideas, appropriate use of gestures, facial expressions and eye contact (35 %).
List of Civil Wars:
You will be provided a list of sources that you can use to examine the following civil wars. (The start years of the wars are in the parentheses).
1. Rwanda (1990) 2. Sudan (1963)
3. Sierra Leone (1992) 4. Zimbabwe (1972)
5. Cambodia (1970) 6. Lebanon (1975)
7. Somalia (1982) 8. Liberia (1989)
9. El Salvador (1979) 10. Colombia (1948)
11. Bosnia (1992) 12. Chechnya (1994)