AMST101– Final Paper Guidelines
For the final paper, you are required to choose some example of contemporary popular culture (a movie, TV series, album, a celebrity, an ad campaign, etc.) that you think is in some way emblematic of the times, that is, that reflects some topic or trend in popular culture that you have noticed, heard, or read about. This trend could be expressed as a pervasive trope or a new take on an old theme or a genre or hybrid form that is indicative of the times.
In discussing the trend you have identified, you should be able to juxtapose your independently selected choice with two of the films, TV series, or other works that were either assigned, that we saw clips of, or that were referenced in class. Since you are required to make a critical assessment of whatever you choose to write about, it is not always the best idea to choose your favorite example of popular culture for this assignment. You should also do some additional reading (which will be included in your works cited page as a secondary source) to see what kinds of issues have been raised about your selected material. Clearly defining what you will be exploring in your title will help you to select your two additional primary sources.
While the midterm tested your analytical skills, by asking you to apply different lenses to various social constructs reflected in popular culture (such as race, class and gender), this assignment requires you to employ those analytical or deconstructive lenses in addition to presenting your own idea (arguing a thesis).
Sample paper topics:
Anti-Heroes in Hollywood: The Godfather, The Sopranos, and Empire
Popular Culture and Politics: House of Cards, The Wire, and Hamilton
How Hollywood Hates Academics: The Sopranos, Good Will Hunting, and
Hollywood and Women in Charge: Scandal, Jessica Jones, and The Closer