INTRODUCTION. The premise of this course is that fiction and film not only reflect a particular historical moment but also influence the audience’s views on pressing social issues. Popular culture not only entertains, but also shapes public perception and even public policy. Dehumanizing individuals or groups by presenting them as monsters to be feared, hated, and annihilated can have significant social and political consequences. Monster theory can help us understand the motivation for negative representations of aliens (whether different species, races, or sexes) and how such representations promote prejudice, exclusion, and scapegoating.
GOAL. Use monster theory to analyze and interpret the politics of an artifact or series of related artifacts from contemporary popular culture that respond to a current, controversial social issue.
REQUIREMENTS. Submit a PDF containing approximately 4 pages of written analysis introducing the chosen issue and applying monster theory to analyze the chosen artifact(s). Insert images (of photographs, memes, tweets, etc.) directly into the PDF when practical. Larger artifacts (such as new articles) can be included at the end of the PDF as appendices when practical. Alternatively, links can be provided (for videos and so on). Stills from videos and films can also be inserted as images. In other respects, follow the same instructions as for the course papers: engage monster theory and course topics; formulate a strong argument; organize the argument; present evidence supporting the argument; cite all sources; edit the writing for clarity.
TOPIC. The controversial social issue will be chosen by the group. It should relate in some way to topics that have come up in this course such as xenophobia (including anti-immigrant sentiment), racism, antisemitism (or islamaphobia), and sexism. One example of a recent issue in the news is the portrayal of a supposed caravan of criminals aiming to cross illegally from Central America into the United States which is being used to support building a wall across the Southern border. Another example is the portrayal of transgender people as predators intent on molesting children in bathrooms which is being used to support legislation limiting their civil rights.
ARTIFACT(S). Artifacts can include photographs, short videos, films, news and magazine articles, advertisements, social media memes, tweets, etc. For instance, you could look at news coverage, photographs, memes and tweets depicting Honduran immigrants as a monstrous caravan of criminals. Or you could analyze the infamous horror-film style political advertisement supporting the anti-transgender “bathroom bill.” Or you could look at the way news and social media depict women who make claims of sexual harassment against powerful men. Or you could look at the way the film “Get Out” turns the tables by depicting racism in White suburbia as monstrous.
only needs to be 2 pages long,
ALSO Our topic for the paper is about how monster theory relates to President Trump’s continued rhetoric about closing the southern border.