Media and Popular Culture, Spring 2011
Take-Home Final Exam
Answer any 5 of the 10 questions below. Each answer should be at least one complete page long. The exam should be typed, double-spaced, in Times New Roman 12-point. The exam is due by 5 PM on Wednesday, May 2. You can either drop it off in my office mailbox (738 One Park Place South) or email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your response should demonstrate that you have carefully studied and understood class readings, lectures and discussion, and can apply ideas from the course to individual texts. When questions refer to specific authors, you should clearly address the ideas of those authors, demonstrating your understanding of their arguments.
1. Pick any contemporary media text. (You can choose a film, TV show, book, graphic novel, advertisement, game, website, or any other source.) Drawing on Omi and Winant’s Racial Formation in the United States, discuss the text as a “racial project.”
2. Pick any contemporary media text. (You can use the same text for multiple questions, or different texts if you prefer.) Drawing on Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pigs, discuss the representation of gender in the text. How does the text reflect the “postfeminist” era?
3. Pick any contemporary media text. Drawing on Alexander Doty’s “There’s Something Queer Here,” discuss queer readings of the text.
4. Pick any comic book or animated text. Drawing on Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, discuss the “pictorial vocabulary” of the artwork. Draw a triangle on the page and show where the art fits in relation the vertices of “reality,” “language,” and “the picture plane,” then explain why.
5. Pick any game. Drawing on Ralph Koster’s A Theory of Fun for Video Games, discuss what makes the game fun.
6. Pick any game. Drawing on McKenzie Wark’s GAM3R 7H3ORY, discuss the “gamespace” of the game and how it relates to the world outside the game.
7. Compare your own experience and that of your friends to the generational sensibility described in Emily Nussbaum’s “Say Everything.”
8. Pick any contemporary media text. Drawing on Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities, discuss how the text helps create a sense of national identity.
9. Pick any contemporary media text. Make a “culture-jammed” version of the text.
10. Visit a park, garden, or other nature space. Turn off all electronic devices. Sit quietly for at least 10 minutes observing the landscape and animals. Describe the experience, and compare it to your usual pace of life.