Saturday, June 9, 2007

Brief Evaluations

Hi all,

As it is clear from the title line, these evaluations will be brief, however, should be able to give you a fairly good idea of what I thought of your work and what your final grades might be (your grades are now out, however, per the most recent university regulations I am not allowed to post them on any public forum, which, of course, includes this blog). Below, I will go through the evaluation analysis of all the assignments that have been posted on this blog in the last three months and address each of you's performance.

Somnea: there are too many copy-and-pastes in your democracy paper for it to result in a high evaluative outcome. This said, I believe there are original ideas in it and this is what I evaluated. Your second paper (the fascism one) is a complete copy-and-paste which constitutes plagiarism, the issue I addressed in the post below this one.

Sokha: your democracy paper is quite good. There's a lot of analytical content on the political theories of the three ideologues you had chosen, which is exactly what I was looking for. The style of writing is clear, coherent and succinct where necessary. Your second paper (comparative between the political theories of Mao and Deng) is a solid paper, although not without certain flaws, the most significant of which seems to be the fact that you don't address the issues of theories of Mao and Deng, but rather their policies and how these policies affected the development of the Chinese economy. The paper ends abruptly and leaves the feeling that you ran out of writing time and decided to wedge the analysis of the conclusion into a potted version of it. In addition, there seems to evidence of excessive reliance on one source which results in a lack of scholarly opinions on the issues you chose to explore and analyze.

Vichet: a very good first paper. Very strong analysis of the social contract and its proponent. I particularly appreciated your drawing a clear line between the theories of ideologues who had contributed to the creation of the concept of social contract. The second paper took on a very broad issue such as the fall of the USSR, which really should have been narrowed down to only one facet of your essay -- how the USSR's interpretation of the Marxist ideology affected and, possibly, expedited the demise of the Soviet Union. I thought the topic is interesting and being largely unaddressed in the literature, as of today, certainly merited this research.

Thearin: an excellent paper on James Madison's political theories which combined a fairly accurate analysis of some of the effects of the application of Madison's theories in the United States. One of the strongest point of the paper is your analysis of the constitutionally imposed system of electoral college in the US and its -- what some believe to be -- undermining effects on the US representative democracy. The second paper's (fascism) merits include the drawing of a distinction between Nazism and fascism, which is an issue that is critical to the successful analysis of historical fascism, rather than its modern offspring which is, for the most part, confined to Hitlerism.

Chansath: your first paper was not submitted on time and, therefore, will not be counted toward your final grade and your second paper is identical with that of Somnea's and another author's and, therefore, will not be counted either.

Borada: you have not submitted a single paper in this class, nor did you fulfill the terms of our agreement on writing reviews on the papers posted on this blog.

Those of you who did participate in the blog discussions did a great job peer-reviewing your classmates' papers and pointed out, for the most part, valid concerns and drawbacks in your colleagues' work. It was a pleasure working with you and seeing you grow in the knowledge of the subject of the course and learning to critique each other's work.

Give me a call and schedule an appointment if you need more feedback on your work in this course.



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