As the semester has progressed, we have encountered a variety of cultural issues in our readings about and discussions of pop culture. For your third paper assignment, write a researched argument that addresses an issue of social importance that you observe in some element of pop culture. This paper should a) briefly analyze a primary text that leads to b) an issue about which you will make a central argument that is then supported by c) making use of outside research to d) convince an academic audience of your position. Put more simply, find an issue in pop culture, take a position on that issue, and make an argument that uses scholarly books or journal articles to back up your position. Below, Ive provided some general issues that might get you started in thinking about what to write. NOTE: At least three of the 3 – 5 sources that you use must be scholarly, and only one source can be internet-based. Furthermore, I will ask you to present a simple annotated bibliography at your student conference so that I can approve your sources.
1) Gender: The role of gender (and what that concept even means) has been a social issue for decades now, and it would appear were no closer to finding ways to discuss it, much less agree about how we should understand it. Whats a particular issue within the larger concept of gender that has a social impact on our culture?
2) Race: Despite the notion that America is “postracial,” there are several indicators that race is still a subject of controversy and division in our culture. How do you see racial issues represented in popular culture, and what particular issues do these raise? What do these representations tell us about our positions on race?
3) Class: Events over the last few years have brought issues of class difference and class struggle (some might say “class warfare”) to the surface of the national conversation, whether thats in connection with the 99% and the Occupy Wall Street movement or the last two presidential elections. How do we observe discussions of class struggle in popular culture? What is at stake in these representations?
4) Choose Your Own Topic: You may also, if you wish, choose a topic that discusses an issue that is not represented here.
NOTE: you must clear your issue/argument with me first, and it must be a topic that can be derived from something you observe in popular culture.
Papers should be between 1500 and 2000 words (6 – 8 pages), typed in a standard, 12 point font, double-spaced, and with a maximum margin of one inch on all sides. No matter what prompt you choose, your paper should display a meaningful thesis that is well supported by specific, textual examples that are clearly cited according to the stylistic rules of MLA documentation. Papers will once again be graded based on clarity of structure, sophistication of argument, integration of evidence, and mechanics and usage. The paper as a whole is worth 25% of your final grade. Remember to include a Works Cited page. The rough draft of this assignment is due for Peer Review in class on Thursday, November 6th. A second draft, along with an annotated bibliography, will be due on Tuesday, November 18th by 5 p.m. Late papers will be severely penalized.
NOTE: Papers should be Word documents or Rich Text Format only—I cannot read Works, Notepad or Wordperfect. In other words, your file should be saved as a Word (.doc or .docx) file or a Rich Text Format (.rtf) file. In order to help me organize your papers, please title your second draft with your last name, followed by a hyphen, then a “3” with an “f” following the 3. (There should be no spaces in between any of the characters or letters.) To do this, select Save As from the File menu, and title the document so that it looks like this:
Also, to further avoid confusion, please indicate your class section number in your e-mails subject line.