POPULAR CULTURE SSCI AS106
Below you will find some suggestions for essay topics for this course.
PLEASE keep in mind that no matter what topic you choose, you must include at least ONE of the central themes of the course- how does popular culture produce and reproduce social structure and values. The extent to which these themes apply to the essay will vary from topic to topic.
The essays should be four to six (4-6) pages double-spaced, 1000-1500 words, Times New Roman, size 12 font and the pages numbered.
Make sure that you reference your sources and include accurate APA references. This essay must include a minimum of five (5) sources (3 of which MUST be academic sources ie. Database/journal articles).
No Biographies will be accepted – this is an argumentative paper.
CREATE AN OUTLINE
Your outline is simply a one to two page document which tells me what your topic is, what your thesis is, what the three main points of your paragraphs in the body of the essay are and a reference page. This reference page must be in APA format and list at least three sources that you have looked at regarding your topic.
I have provided some suggestions for topics. You may have an idea of your own and that is fine. Please just e-mail me prior to tell me what you will be submitting.
Everyone has their own area of specific interest in Pop Culture so there can be many possibilities for your topic. Focus on your personal interests.
1. Choose a country or an area of popular culture (advertising, news, movies etc) and discuss how “Americanization” has had an impact on other cultures.
2. Globalization has made companies less accountable pick a company or industry to illustrate (not one discussed in class) – argue to agree or disagree.
3. Discuss the relationship between a specific music culture (ie Hip Hop, Punk, Pop, etc.) and ONE aspect of representation (ie. Masculinity, religion, etc.)
4. Discuss ONE area of representation (gender, race, class, sexuality, etc.) in one genre of film (ie. Science Fiction, Teen Comedy, Horror, etc.)
5. Examine the prevalence of resistance in teen movies. Are they effective? How?
6. Demonstrate how consumer items and consumer culture reflect social meaning in Western society.
7. Pick one aspect of advertising and discuss its impact on social life.
8. Are pop culture resisters (ie Michael Moore and Jon Stewart) truly resistant? Can you resist pop culture from within? Use theory in your answer.
9. Discuss the internet and its impact on modern popular culture. Is it contributing to cultural diversity and resistance or to cultural imperialism?
10. Using Michael Parenti’s form of media bias, examine the bias around an important political or social issue (ie. Global warming, the “war on terror”, the financial collapse etc.)
11. Discuss the corporatization of education. Is it positive or negative? Why?
12. Choose one famous popular culture artist (or small group) and discuss their popularity in terms of one of the three theorists: Adorno, Gramsci, or Fiske.
13. Apply Chomsky and Herman’s propaganda model to media coverage of one prominent international event.
14. Analyze the role of alternative media in today’s popular culture.
15. Examine the difference between realism and reality. You might want to use a ‘reality’ television program (ie Big Brother, The Hills, The Real Housewives of OC) and a narrative television program (ie 90210, Gossip Girl, Melrose Place). How does realism help to make what is constructed appear natural?
CREATE THE ESSAY
Using your outline, create the final essay. Your outline and final essay topic and thesis may differ slightly because as we work on things they can change. You may also add or change your references as you work. However, the final essay must have at least five references.
If you should completely change your mind about your original idea that is acceptable as well. You would just drop me a line and tell me that you are more comfortable with a different idea. The outline is really set up to help you get started on the essay. It confirms to me that you have done a little thinking about the topic and accessed some sources. It means you won’t be cramming the whole process into one night of writing.
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