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Contested sovereignty

Answer one of the questions below in 3,000 words.

  1. Sir Arthur Watts wrote, ‘States through their rulers or governments, think of themselves as sovereign. They do not, of course, always know what sovereignty means, but it is clearly worth having and keeping’. Comment and critically analyse Watt’s statement and the broader issues it raises.
  2. Do you agree that the codification of state sovereignty ‘led inexorably to the Holocaust and atomic warfare’?
  3. In what respects, if any, has sovereignty been undermined in the post-Cold War era? Has this been a positive or negative development?

When marking essays, lecturers will consider:

  • the extent to which you demonstrate a capacity to analyse your chosen topic;
  • the extent to which the remit of the assignment has been met;
  • the range of research and collation of information and material;
  • the structure and coherence of the argument;
  • the clarity and accuracy with which ideas are expressed;

the selection and correct attribution of sources in support of an argument

Structure and Quality of Argument

  • Is the assignment’s structure outlined in the introduction?
  • Is the overall structure of the argument clear and coherent?
  • Are the points made in a logical sequence?
  • Is the argument sufficiently analytical?
  • Is there a conclusion?
  • Does the conclusion address the essay question directly?
  • Is the conclusion adequately supported by the preceding argument?

Use of Evidence

  • Are the points made supported by evidence from cited sources?
  • Are the sources drawn on sufficient and appropriate?
  • If empirical evidence is used, is it described clearly and in appropriate


  • Does the evidence presented support the conclusions reached?
  • Is the interpretation of the evidence presented appropriately qualified (i.e. avoiding overgeneralisations and sweeping statements)?


  • Is the writer’s argument adequately backed up rather than just asserted?
  • Are the sources used subjected to analysis and critical reflection?
  • Has the student researched the topic sufficiently?
  • Has the student thought about what they have read or simply reproduced

material from sources?

  • Is there evidence of critical thinking or an original synthesis?
  • Has the student gone beyond the essential reading?

Writing and Presentation Skills

  • Is the assignment referenced correctly?
  • Are quotations identified and fully referenced?
  • Are the ideas presented fully credited?
  • Is there any evidence of plagiarism?
  • Is the assignment fluent and readable?
  • Is the grammar and spelling adequate?
  • First class essays (70-100%) will: address the question or title; follow a structured and signposted sequence; demonstrate familiarity with the relevant literature; present an analysis and evaluation of the ideas and theories discussed; reveal internal integration and coherence; use references and examples to support the claims and arguments made; provide detailed references and sources in the bibliography or reference section; be written in good and grammatically correct English. Differences within the range are usually attributable to differences in the quality of analysis and evaluation and internal integration and coherence.

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