Primary Source Analysis
For this, you will be taking a closer look at an international relations topic that intrigues you. Choose a topic that interests you (historical or contemporary). Some ideas include the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Munich Pact, the fall of the Berlin Wall, India and Pakistan joining of the Nuclear Club, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Russian invasion of Crimea.
Then select a primary source on the topic you chose, specifically, a speech from a political leader. Review Understanding Primary and Secondary Sources and Analyzing a Primary Source before you begin searching for a primary source. If you are at a loss for where to begin searching, here is a start:
The National Security Archive: http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/
Internet Modern History Sourcebook: http://www.fordham.edu/Halsall/mod/modsbook.asp.
George Mason’s Center for History and New Media: http://chnm.gmu.edu/teaching-and-learning/.
When sifting through sources, ask yourself how a realist, liberal, or constructivist would interpret this primary source. Then select a perspective through which to view the primary source. You may choose to view this primary source from a realist, liberal, or constructivist perspective. Then using the CLA guidelines detailed in this syllabus, include the following in a six-to eight-page, APA-formatted report/
Briefly describe your source. Include contextual information about the source. What does the reader need to understand about the context (and history) in which this source was made in order to understand your analysis of the source? Include the information the reader needs to understand the source, but do not include extraneous (unrelated) information.
Make a statement. This should be at the end of your introductory paragraph or directly following the introduction. Make an argument from a particular perspective.
Example: Although realists would disagree with A about B, this primary source perfectly illustrates three of realism’s primary assumptions X, Y, and Z.
Example: Despite President X’s call for a more globalized and peaceful world order in source B, her overall foreign policy view is decidedly constructivist as seen in source A.
Example: Throughout this film, the main character’s primary motivations stem from a constructivist understanding of the world as seen in XYZ.
Analyze the primary source. Elaborate on your statement above. This is the main part and the length of this section should reflect this. Use references as needed. As you analyze the source, ensure that you answer the following: How would theorist X view this source? How does the language in this source reflect/contradict this theory? If you are comparing primary sources, what theoretical views are expressed in these sources? The same? Different? What accounts for this difference?
Conclusion. Keep this short. Restate your thesis at some point in the conclusion. Offer some concluding thoughts–draw connections to other material, current or historical events, etc.
Include your source.
*Please refer to the Grading Criteria for Comprehensive Learning Assessments (CLAs) in the University Policies for specific guidelines and expectations.
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