Paper #2: Artifact Proposal Paper
Texts of Popular Culture and Everyday Life
Now that you have digested the generic expectations of scholarly criticism, this paper asks you to begin the very first steps required to create your own piece of scholarly criticism. You have three central tasks in this 2-3pg proposal paper.
1. Describe and justify the text/artifacts you will analyze
2. Formulate the beginning idea for your thesis statement by drafting a research question(s).
3. Generate a brief preliminary bibliography (APA)
We have spent much of the semester discussing the complexity of texts. Not only do texts wield rhetorical influence, create meanings, and influence those who receive them, but texts also always constitute a site of struggle (meanings are rarely fixed nor universal depending on audience and context). As a “meaning detective,” you are to approach your text critically, concern yourself with what it has to say about ideology and power, and intervene in the meanings the text communicates. Remember: the process of selecting a text involves listening to and interrogating personal experience. To that end, you are to select a text that persuaded you, inspired you, and/or moved you. In other words: choose a text that excites you and instills curiosity!
Remember texts include cultural artifacts like specific tv shows, movies, books, magazines, politicians, comedians, social media, slang/vernacular, fads/trends, rituals/traditions, fan-cultures etc. The trick to selecting a text worthy of analysis is narrowing your topic. For the proposal stage, “narrowing your topic” means focusing on how the text provides a commentary on some socio-cultural/political/ideological issue (gender norms, race relations, economic disparities/class expectations, norms of sexuality, expectations of “success”/”happiness,” body norms, etc.)
To help you with this endeavor, your paper should be structured as follows:
• DESCRIPTION (.5-1 pg)
In this section you will briefly describe your text and its public circulation. Who is the audience for the text? Where in culture is your text located? What are some aspects of this text that interest you and why?
• JUSTIFICATION (1-1.5 pgs)
Here you will explore why everyday people and rhetorical/popular culture scholars should “care” about your text. In this section of the paper you will justify why your interest in the text matters to other people. How does your text comment on a specific issue of power? Does the text promote a particular ideology? Conjecture about some of the reasons your text is widely loved and/or hated.
• RESEARCH QUESTIONS (.5 pg)
Given your justification of the text in the previous section, in this section of the paper you are to formulate a research question that will eventually transform into a solid thesis statement as you move forward. Don’t worry about crafting a thesis statement just yet. Instead, using the elements or aspects of the text that interest you, pose a question or a series of questions about how the text makes meaning. Craft a question (or a series of questions) that interrogates the rhetorical influences of your text.
In addition to your few pages, you are also required to generate a preliminary bibliography of four sources that comment, analyze, or otherwise remark on your text/artifacts in some capacity. As this project grows you will be asked to reflect on what theoretical (scholarly) discussion your criticism joins (paper #3). But for now, you are to generate a list of at least four sources that comment on your text in some way. Those sources can come from blogs, fan-sites, scholarship, news media, and/or popular review sites.
POINTS POSSIBLE: 100
HARD COPY DUE IN CLASS
DIGITAL UPLOAD DUE BEFORE CLASS