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Final Research Paper Overview:

This will be a seven to ten page (approximately 2500-3500 words) research paper. In this project choose a person, who is a leader/activist/thinker, that is involved an intercultural issue of conflict and peace that is of interest to you. The person you choose can be local, since intercultural events happen here as well. Analyze the key figure’s moral mapping, relations of power, and multiple identities and then offer brief policy recommendations related to the issue with which they are engaged.

Recommended Research Sequence:

  1. Choose an issue that is important to you and a key figure (leader/activist/ thinker) who is involved with the issue. Key figure could be:
    • Political/Government Leader
    • Activist
    • Private Sector Leader
    • Religious Leader
    • Non-profit Leader
  1. Research a solid secondary source about the person; begin to consider your initial assessment of the factors/agents/variables in this person’s relation to culture, conflict and peace. For example, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight against Muslim Fundamentalism and Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change, may be used as either primary or secondary sources and may lead you to other primary sources if these issues are of interest to you.
  2. Investigate a primary source on the subject to discover primary data about the person in order to make your an interpretation of their moral mapping, relations of power, and multiple identities. A primary source is a record of what a person says about themselves or about their areas of concern; it can also be direct interviews of your own (one or two people) that you interview yourself. At times primary sources are difficult to find—take care in the choice of your project that you choose something that has primary and some secondary sources.
  3. Research a second reliable secondary source on the person; compare and contrast the secondary source interpretations. A reliable secondary source is not Wikipedia or an on-line resource; it is most often a scholarly article or monograph. Cite as footnotes and create bibliography for all sources that you use in your paper.
  4. Based on your study of the primary data, taking into consideration the two secondary interpretations, adjudicate the evidence and make a determination about the moral logic that you discovered in the primary data. Upon reflection make your own judgments on the plausibility of the interpretations of this data. Remember this is not just your opinion, but an informed perspective based on your reading of the evidence and the secondary interpretations of this data.
  5. We are NOT asking you to “pass moral judgment.” We are asking you to understand and explain the moral map, social location and cultural landscape of the person, and his or her work. We are asking, as Clifford Geertz argues, to be in “conversation” with this person. And finally, in line with the initial rules for conversation that Prof. Wellman outlined on the first day of class, how you must change if necessary.
  6. Based on your assessment, write a policy recommendation that you would offer this key figure if you were invited to advise them on this issue.

Structure of your paper:

  1. Summary of issue and key figure you have chosen to analyze
  2. Why is this issue important to you? This is your positionally in relation to the issue and research. Why is this important to others?
  3. Analyze the key figure engaged with this issue that you have chosen. This is the main body of your paper where you explain your analysis of the key figure.
  4. Write a brief policy recommendation to the key figure.


Your grade will be based on how well you:

  1. Follow these guidelines
  2. Make a clear and interesting argument for your policy recommendation
  3. Provide supporting evidence from your research and course readings
  4. Organize your paper clearly 
    Use these bolded subheadings to structure your paper: 
    Introduction to Issue and Key Figure, Issue Relevance, Analysis of Key Figure, Policy Recommendation
  5. Write clearly and effectively

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