1. This writing project is designed to develop and sharpen your critical media literacy as it relates to popular culture. The purpose is to write a 5-6 pages of critical/interpretive essay that analyzes a specific example of media-related technology and popular culture. Choose a media-related technology that you believe has a significant impact upon popular culture. Good examples are (but not limited to): cell/smart phones, portable tablets, computers, and television. You may also choose a specific form of social/digital media “technology” such as: Twitter, email, Facebook, or Instagram. Attempt to answer the following questions and provide examples where necessary: How can media enable the formation of community? How is identity performed in/with media? How are constructions of youth, gender, race, ethnicity, and/or sexuality mediated through media technologies? Can media technologies be a vehicle for political activism? Is it possible to refuse media?

Follow the general “writing guidelines” provided below.

Writing guidelines

Writing papers lies at the heart of communication courses, and commitment to this activity should motivate our students. Class size and the amount of material we have to cover work against conditions which would be ideal for writing. Anyway, I ask you to write papers which are in essay form. The introductory and final papers should include a cover page with your name, the date and the class, and section number. The introductory paper should be 5-6 pages long and the final paper should be 8-10 pages, double-spaced, typed, excluding reference page.

Things To Do: First, let’s rule out things not to do. I don’t want biographical information about yourself and also assume that I have some knowledge about the subject matter that you are writing about, that you write for a reader who does not need a detailed summary of definitions. Personal response always plays an important role when you read and react. But don’t use your research papers as opportunities to write in detail about why you like/dislike being in the class and/or reading class materials. Also, reading for ‘theme’ or ‘message’ has become ingrained in almost all modern readings. I don’t speak critically when I say this. Just be careful if you work on your theme not to sound too sweeping or dogmatic. And try to remember one thing: you are reading only a small portion of a larger and substantial corpus of writing and research on media and popular culture.

Provide enough evidence and cite properly and clearly through the paper. The most convenient way to document anything you cite is to give a parenthetical reference like this: author’s name, title, followed by page number and year of publication. Consult the MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), Chicago, or Harvard style manual if you need more detailed advice about citations. These style-books can be found in the library in the reference section or online. You may want to put all your references on an additional page and place them under a heading of ‘Bibliography.’ Also, you will be graded on your references to class readings and discussions. Limit the use of Wikipedia as references. I do not bar the use of internet references but keep in mind the quality of source, i.e., the reference must be from a well-known site (for example, New York TimesWall Street JournalRolling Stones, etc.).

Format and Mechanics. Please take care to write in paragraphs, each with a topic sentence or one controlling idea. There is no absolute definition of the length of a paragraph. Keeping two extremes in mind, however, is useful. Avoid the single sentence paragraph and make sure that no one paragraph extends over the whole of a page. About the finished product — neatness and clarity help but they won’t rescue a paper that shows little thought or thought but absence of polish. Writers who take pride in their work always complete at least two drafts as they attempt to refine what they say and discover in the process their ideas and thoughts. Please proofread your paper carefully, checking for spelling, typographical errors, grammatical matters and word usage. Make sure that the print is dark and clearly legible.

Stick to the deadline and take it very seriously. Any paper received AFTER the first FIVE minutes of the beginning of the class time will be considered late. For this you will lose 5 points (this includes any paper which is submitted during the scheduled class time). Once the class is over, NO PAPER will be accepted. Your paper will go ungraded. I have accepted late papers in, what College refers to, extenuating circumstances which are: serious illness, death of an immediate family member, and religious observance just prior to the due date. In such circumstances you need to contact me in advance, if possible, and provide ample documentation such as notes from the physician and/or family members.

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