ESSAY TOPICS: for your essay (4 pages), you must choose one of the following four topics:

ESSAY TOPICS: for your essay (4 pages), you must choose one of the following four topics:



1)      Immigration Essay: Immigration has become a hotly debated political issue in recent years,particularly with respect to immigration (particularly illegal immigration) from Mexico to the United States. For this topic, I ask you to do three things:


A)     By talking to family members and conducting historical research (your own investigation into your family’s past), describe what push and/or pull factors motivated past generations of your family to move


B)     Using the textbook, lecture material, and/or additional scholarly research materials (journal articles, books, etc.), compare and contrast these push/pull factors to those that have and continue to drive Mexican immigration (both legal and illegal) to the United States today


C)     Drawing from your findings, provide a well-argued and evidence-based comparison and analysis on US immigration policy towards Mexico



2)      Cultural Landscape Essay: A cultural landscape is defined as a place–either a humanly producedor physical landscape – that is attached with social meaning. The suburban landscape, for instance, has historically embodied the values and principles of the “American Dream.” Based on the textbook, lecture material, and/or your own historical research (newspaper articles, journal articles, books, Google searches), identify a cultural landscape, in Washington state, or anywhere else of your own interest (such as Yellowstone National Park; Spokane, WA; the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC; Disney World; the 9/11 memorial site in New York; Hollywood, CA, etc.), and do the following two things:


A)     Using concepts and material from class (i.e., the “socio-spatial dialectic”), describe why the landscape you selected qualifies as a “cultural landscape” – such as, what social meanings are associated with the place/landscape you selected?


B)     Trace the history of this place/landscape and provide a narrative that captures its origins as a “cultural landscape” and how it has (or has not) changed through time, in its social and/or physical form



3)      Commodity Chain Analysis: In our present-day society, it is increasingly difficult to know whereour food is produced and where our products are made. It is almost as if the things we buy magically appear on the store shelves; we have little idea and often any thought concerning the process of how that thing arrived on the shelf for us to buy. ‘Made in China’ labels only tell part of the story; this assignment asks you to tell the rest of it. Your task is to pick one commodity, one brand and one country (for example, i-Phones, Apple, and China), and trace how this product, from its origins, ended up on a store shelf in Cheney or Spokane, or from wherever you purchased it (it may have been online). You will need to do your own investigative research (Google searches, etc.) to uncover the company, or variety of companies, involved in producing the commodity, and the various production processes, labor conditions, and facilities that the commodity (or its various components) traveled through before finally arriving on the store shelf.

4)      World Systems Theory: For this paper topic, I expect you to first review Immanuel Wallerstein’sworld systems theory – of core, periphery, and semi-periphery – and the global, political-economic forces driving the carving of the world into these three broad regions. I also expect you to then review, in your own summation, George Modelski’s model of world leadership as well as Nikolai Kondratiev’s “long waves” of the global capitalist economy. Within these three theoretical models, there are compelling implications for understanding and contextualizing world political and economic history as well as the future. After reviewing these three figures and models, identifying their strengths and/or weaknesses, as you see it, you are to, lastly, provide you own “predictive” narrative that outlines your own feelings about 1) the power of these three models (when taken together) to chart out a course of possible futures scenarios, and 2) what kind of future or possible future(s) you see as most likely given what we know from the past historical trends and patterns illuminated by each of the models.



CITATION GUIDLES: Please cite your work properly:


There are three principles to follow: 1) When directly citing a source (book, article, etc.), place “quotation marks” around the text pulled from the source, and cite the last name of the author followed by the year of publication and page number in parentheses, such as (Anderson, 2012, pg. 12). This is called a parenthetical citation. 2) Alternatively, rather than using many direct quotes in your essay, it is advised to paraphrase your sources using your own words and summary. Here, simply use the above style of parenthetic citation after a sentence that is based on a particular source, and drop the page number, such as (Anderson, 2012). 3) At the end of your essay, you must provide a list of references that provide the full details of each citation.


An example for a book would be the following (last name, first initial, (publication year). Title in italics. Location and name of publisher):


Harvey, D. (2003). The New Imperialism. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.


For a journal article (last name, first initial (publication year). Title. Journal name in italics, volume number (issue number), and page numbers):


Anderson, M. (2010). The Discursive Regime of the “American Dream” and the New Suburban Frontier: the Case of Kendall County, Illinois. Urban geography, 31(8), 1080-99.


For a newspaper article (last name, first initial (publication year). Title. Name of newspaper in italics, section [if there is one], page numbers [if there are any], and month and day of publication):


Roeder, D. (2008). Bronzeville ‘Land Grab’; Residents Say They Just Want Area to ‘Maintain its Mixed-


Income Character’. Chicago Sun-Times, Financial, 43, May 5.



There is no precise style to organize your references in terms of punctuation, parentheses, etc., but you must be consistent.

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