Cultural Artifacts

Cultural Artifacts

Background: Our study of critical discourse reveals to us that considering familiar things in new ways enhances our understandings of the artifacts that inform our everyday lives. In this paper you will have the opportunity to analyze an artifact or artifacts from popular culture to shed new light on the meanings of those artifacts. Remember as you select your artifact(s) that your goal is to practice using critical analysis and critical writing to generate new knowledge about those artifacts.
Context: In a democracy people are confronted with various images, discourses, points of view, etc. Clearly, democratic consciousness requires us to do more than merely identify with these things. To make decisions about where we stand on political, ethical, commercial, etc. interests, we must use our critical abilities to analyze the artifacts that create and inform our realities. In this paper, your job is to select a set of cultural artifacts that share a common theme and use the critical concepts we have studied (Masculinity, Male Archetypes, Power, Beauty, Race, Gender, Social Constructionism, Etc.) to discern what those artifacts mean and how they mean what they mean.
Please be aware that the use of Film Terminology/Film Techniques in analyzing films is required. What techniques you will use in your paper ought to be in your thesis statement. I’LL BE LOOKING FOR AT LEAST THREE, THOUGH YOU MAY USE MORE, DEPENDING ON YOUR FILM(S).
Pick one (1) of the following 2 options, either a or b. (B has two choices)
a) The “Woman” option: Essentially, for this option, I want you compare and/or contrast the notion of feminism in Snow White and Pretty Woman. What has changed? What hasn’t? Why? For this question, you will need to have your own definition of feminism (from the readings or a credible outside source — NOT WIKEPEDIA WHICH GIVEN ITS ABILITY TO BE EDITED BY ANYONE IS NOT A CREDIBLE SOURCE — and tell me what that is and its characteristics. Use scenes and film techniques to analyze the similarities and differences in feminism; do not simply point out changes in plot; rather explain their significance to your argument. What is an audience supposed to learn about women and/or feminism from chronicling and analyzing these similarities and differences? The answer to this question, whatever it may be, is the crux of your arguable thesis.
For this option, you must pick mis-en-sene in the films as one of your three film techniques (costuming, props, furniture, etc.) as part of your argument and thesis statement to analyze. In other words, how do the artifacts within the film contribute to the changes in

feminism that you are making an argument about? YOU MUST ALSO INCLUDE ONE OTHER ARTIFACT, a Doll, an ad, etc.) as part of your Analysis
In short: Three (3) film techniques including Mise-en-scène?One (1) other outside artifact of your own choosing (dolls, ads, movie posters, etc) to analyze

b) The “boy” or “race” option: Compare and/or contrast the Disney version of the film to cultural artifacts surrounding the film. For instance:
ads: you tube — or ads from magazines, movie trailers
•    historical documents (old movie posters or reviews from the time of the movie’s original ?release) ?
•    political cartoons ?
•    dolls/toys and (Princess lines and male action figures) ?of these two stories to a different source, particularly in regards to race or masculinity issues. Here, do not only list differences or similarities, but make an argument about how particular differences ultimately render a different version or “reading” of a particular character(s) or of the story. Yes, I know for instance, that Barrie’s’s The Jungle Book is different from the Disney film, but it’s your job to show me how those differences make a different interpretation, and what that interpretation, ultimately, means. How does, for instance, the differing images of Indians (or their absence) from the original to the later in Peter Pan reflect changing views of Native Americans in our society? ?
Here are your choices:
•    1) Compare Disney’s Peter Pan to Native American Artifacts past and present. What argument can you make about race (and/or masculinity) from doing so? ** For this option, you may use the films Brother Bear or Return to Neverland as one of your artifacts, but you must have another one — toys, dolls, etc. as part of your analysis. Also, ?the scholarly essay “The Neverland of Disney Indians” from the Diversity in Disney Films book ought to help. ?
•    2) Compare Disney’s Peter Pan to J.M. Barrie’s original book (about 150 pages). You must also include at least one other artifact in your analysis. (Dolls, Toys, Ads, not another movie) ?BOTH OPTIONS A and B must have at least three artifacts (Movies, Toys, Dolls, Ads, Books, etc.) You may have more. This means the two movies and an outside artifact for Option A and B- 1; and a movie, book, and outside artifact for option B -2 ?PS: Do not write a thesis that says essentially that the book/movie or movie/movie are different in terms of race or gender issues. This we know. Do not write a thesis that says: “If one watches these two films one sees changes in race or feminism.” Change is change is not an argument. Tell the reader what the changes means— make an argument! ?The paper must include:?•A thesis: A thesis for me means stating not just what you intend to “prove,” but how you intend to prove your argument. This doesn’t mean every specific example/detail you are going to use in your analysis; rather your thesis should include key words/concepts that provide a kind of “road map” for how to follow your analysis. ?Every strong argumentative analytical essay contains three essential components:
1.    What are you going to “prove” (the argument) ?
2.    How you are going to prove it (the method) ?
3.    What is the point of reading — what is the significance of your argument? ?(Yes, Snow White is trapped within certain conventions of gender, so what? ?What are we supposed to learn from this?) ?
•    • 5 pages in length (10 or 12 pt. font w/1” minimum margins). Drafts must be two pages. • ?Follow MLA format. See your handbook or on line sources. Please put Works Cited on a separate page. ?
Grading of Drafts
Drafts will not be graded, but will be commented on by your classmates. To insure, however, that people produce drafts of substance, (no “I-dashed-off-five-sentences ten-minutes before- class, gimme credit”), I require you to produce a minimum of Two Full Pages for credit in your participation grade. A v is full credit; v- is a lowering of your participation grade by .5. This is a quantity grade; not a quality of writing grade. Again, if you don’t turn in any draft, your participation grade is lowered by .5.
Please see Formatting and Grammar style stuff from your Learning Memoir essay.
You may include copies of your artifacts (pictures of dolls or ads, at the end of the essay, if you wish.
A WORKS CITED PAGE LISTING NOVIES AND OTHER SOURCES MUST BE INCLUDED.