It’s nice to see how your topic has evolved from the start of the semester.
In terms of your independent variables, maybe also consider looking at foreign pressures. You can do this by checking to see the extent of international media coverage on the respective prison, or by looking at whether or not the home countries of the detainees tried to pressure the international community for support.
With regards to the questions you posed at the end of your presentation, since you will only have access to declassified documents, I think that is a good starting point. However, this is a very important point to keep in mind and communicate to your reader when working on your final paper that as more documents become unclassified, these findings might change. In terms of the second question you asked, the case selections seem like a smart choice because they are similar enough but have fundamental differences (one still being open while the other shut down) which allows you to use Mill’s method of Difference.
Good Luck on your final narrative paper and can’t wait to see what your research findings are in 306!
I think that the fact that you source only from declassified documents should not encroach too much on the validity of your project. I assume that researchers working on similarly confidential topics have faced similar obstacles. I think what matters most for your research to be valid is that you make sure that your project accurately captures the phenomenon that you introduced in the beginning of your presentation, which I think it does. I thought that your causal models were clear and easy-to-follow. Your literature review reminded me very much of the Saunders piece we read in class about the construction of the lone mother identity as a risk or a victim to pity. I think that choosing a small-n methodology to do this discursive research is interesting and you seem to have grounded your design with multiple references to appropriate scholarship. One tradeoff though, by solely focusing on the discursive aspects of the puzzle, there are some factors that came to mind as you introduced your two cases. Have you considered taking into account the various bilateral relations between the US and either Iraq or Cuba during the time periods you delineated? Do you think this may have played a role, and the official discourse between countries? Overall I think this was a very strong presentation, well done!
**Carabine article, not Saunders
I appreciate how you identify the similarities and differences for your research. Your presentation is well diagrammed, so it was easy for me to follow your approach to your methodology. Regarding the questions you posed at the end, I would say yes, it is valid to only consider documents that have been declassified. As researchers we can never capture the full picture of what we are studying, but we can use what we have to work with. As long as you are transparent about your sources and conduct reliable research, I do not think the lack of classified document will negatively impact your research. For your next question, I would say no because you are putting a timeframe around your research. The results of your research could even inform policy on Guantanamo currently or bring a new perspective to the current situation.
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