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Thesis seminar Latin America: Latin America in Transnational Perspective

Vak
2014-2015

Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies who have succesfully completed the second year elective course.

The number of participants is limited to 12.

Description

A bachelor’s thesis is the students’ largest and most important piece of work in the program. It is a research paper of substantial size, which to a considerable extent is the result of research and writing that is independently done. Collective supervision is provided in thesis seminars. The aim of the thesis seminar is to guide students through the process of designing a research question; collecting literature, sources, data, and other materials that are necessary for answering the question; bringing logic and persuasive order in the material and in the arguments supported by it; and designing appropriate research methods. In addition, attention is paid to the relevance of the students’ research to a wider academic or non-academic audience.

In recent years, scholars across many disciplines have started to move beyond the framework of the individual nation-state and explore how transnational phenomena have influenced their objects of study. Historical, political, cultural and economic topics can benefit from a transnational perspective which accounts for the flows of ideas, people and goods into, out of, and within the Latin American region. In this thesis seminar, students will come together to learn key concepts relating to transnationalism and how these concepts relate to their individual research projects.

Within this seminar, students will choose one of 5 tracks: economics, politics, sociology, culture, or history. The seminar meetings will focus on two things: teaching the theory and methodology of transnationalism, which all participants will be expected to utilize in their theses, and teaching the structural elements of thesis writing and research, including identifying appropriate primary sources, identifying secondary literature and constructing a literature review, analysis of sources and application of theory and methodology, devising a research question, and higher-level writing skills. Together, these skills will used to produce a thesis which analyses each students’ chosen topic relating to Latin America and its place in the world. This will provide a link between the area studies courses and the written presentation skills developed in previous levels, and the international scope of the degree program as a whole and the higher-level skills expected of graduates.

The pace of instruction in the seminar is fast: students are expected to complete assigned readings and tasks before coming to class (including preparatory reading prior to the first session). In addition, the thesis itself is a guided but largely independent project.

Course objectives

Based, and further elaborating on the knowledge and skills acquired, students will prove themselves to be able to:

  • work with research techniques that are current in the discipline(s) applied by them;
    • comprehend sophisticated academic debates;
    • report on their studies and research in good written English;
    • work and write under time-pressure, and deal with deadlines.
    • report on their studies and research in good spoken English;
    • participate in debates in an active, prepared and informed way, respecting other people’s convictions and emotions;
    • understand fundamental cultural differences and divisions.

The general academic skills covered by these aims are:

  • collect and select specialised literature using traditional and electronic methods and techniques;
    • analyse and evaluate this in terms of quality and reliability;
    • formulate a well-defined research problem based on this;
    • set up, under supervision, a study of limited size, taking into consideration the traditional and electronic methods and techniques relevant for the discipline;
    • formulate a reasoned conclusion on the basis of this;
    • explain research findings in a clear and well-argued way, both orally and in writing.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Eight seminar meetings of two hours, spread over semester.

Course Load

Attendance: 16 hrs.
Collective presentation: 12 hrs.
Individual presentation: 8 hrs.
Literature review: 80 hrs.
Relevance note: 12 hrs.
Total: 140 hrs.

Assessment method

Common presentation: 10 %
Individual presentation 1: 10%
Individual presentation 2: 20%
Literature review, chapter 1: 40%
Relevance note: 20%

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

T.B.A.

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Remarks

In addition to the thesis seminars, there will be individual supervision. However, no thesis can be submitted that has not been written in the context of a thesis seminar.

Contact

Dr. M.F. Carmody, email m.f.carmody@hum.leidenuniv.nl