Media Analysis and Criticism

Media Analysis and Criticism

This assignment asks you to analyze an image-based media object (e.g. commercial, music video, film, television episode, magazine cover, website, etc.) using theoretical tools inspired by class readings and discussions. In 5-6 pages you are expected to engage with course materials (readings, lectures, class discussions, screenings, etc.) by way of an original and critically engaged response to one (or more) of the themes, ideas, and concepts covered. The purpose of the assignment is not to summarize or review—you can assume your reader (i.e. your instructor) has done the same reading you have.

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Rather, your objective is to synthesize the material you’ve chosen to focus on and use it to critically reflect on the media object of your choice. What have you been thinking about while reading, listening, watching, and discussing in class? How can course readings, concepts, and themes help you to better understand, analyze, and critique a particular media object? Your paper might consist of a deeper reading of one or a few related themes in some of the readings, and how they connect to larger issues raised by your media object. You might also elaborate on an idea or question you had while reading, watching, and/or listening, and use your media object to answer it. Or, you can develop from selected readings a broader argument about a topic or theme emerging in the course as it relates to your media object. You decide.

You are free to write about whatever you like so long as your paper:

(1)fits in with the course (i.e. engages with themes, concepts, and ideas central to the critical

study of media);

(2) is a critical response to the various materials discussed class; and

(3) is supported with evidence and an argument.

The openness of the assignment is part of the challenge. Having done the readings and actively listened and engaged in class, which key theme or idea in the course is important to you? And now, how are you now going to write about it?


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