The rest of the (non-blog) assignments for this class are multi-tiered and designed to help you produce a reflexive and critical final project. You are encouraged to work with others on a collaborative project, since so much of the work we evaluate in this class is the product of communities rather than individuals.
Your projects will include the following elements:
- Abstract and Working Bibliography (5%) – Due Wed., July 10 (Week 3)
- Research paper, Creative Piece, Blog (20%) – Due Wed., July 31st (Week 6)
Part 1: Abstract and Working Bibliography
In 250 words, tell me what you want to write about and how you will do it:
- First tell me which option you plan to take on (research paper, creative project, blog) and notify me if you will be working in a group, pair, etc. Each group need only turn in one abstract.
- If working in a group, outline the division of labor as will be implemented as you approach your project.
- Briefly introduce the texts and topics you will be working with.
- Specify the themes, tropes, elements, etc. you will be focusing on
- Present your original argument or intent with the project
- Include a works cited (about 5 texts from the class or outside related ones) that will be influential in shaping your analytical lens.
Over the course of this class we have examined a variety of media and their relations to Transnational Asian America. For this final paper, you are asked to produce a sustained analysis of one instantiation of Asian American popular culture from this class (or propose a related text). Your project must be local and specific in scope and your evidence must come from critical close readings of purposefully chosen text(s). You may also supplement your readings with a limited amount of contextual or theoretical research. Any of the theoretical texts from class can also be used to contextualize your paper.
Nitty gritty: Minimum requirements: 6 full pages (no more than 8 pages). MLA formatting, original title, 12 pt. Times New Roman Font, 1-inch margins, and a works cited page.
Please note, that many of the questions are suggestive and you do not need to answer them all or be exhaustive. The goal is to write a cohesive argument that is logically carried through the paper, and supported by substantive and concise close readings.
1. Gender and Sexuality
Choose a specific trope, trend, etc. in the representation of racialized gender and/or sexuality within Asian American pop cultural production, or general US cultural production. Advance an argument about the significance of such a representation, the cultural work it reflects, and the gender/sexual/racial politics at play. Through close reading analysis, present specific examples from a few texts (from this class or related outside texts) and examine how gender/sexuality and race emerge in these texts and the work they collectively do.
2. Counter Production
Because ethnic minority groups in the US have had disproportionate power in representing themselves in mainstream media, this has often resulted in the perpetuation of problematic stereotypes and myths. Focusing on one or two particular texts, make an argument for how Asian American artists have responded to such representations. What genres, language, form, media, etc. do the artists utilize? Why are these choices important? What critiques are being made and how?
3. Genre Texts
Limiting your scope to a specific genre (e.g. “chick lit,” science fiction, noir, pulp fiction, comic book heroes, etc.) examine either the representation of one or two exemplary texts from that genre or a remix/reboot/remimagined version of that genre. For example, how does Bollywood Confidential both utilize the conventions of the “chick lit” while offering subtle critiques of the genre and the perceptions of South Asian culture? What rhetorical strategies are used (e.g. characterization, language, structure, etc.) and what do they accomplish? How are the critiques being made? What do they say about the genre? The audience? The culture?
4. Youth and Old Age
Throughout the texts, the problem of generational conflict has emerged time and again. Choose one example of such conflict as it is represented in a particular text and examine it within its cultural and historical context (e.g. C-dub and his Chinese American parents in early 2000s Southern California in Ping Pong Playa). Explain the significance of the tension being represented and what it might mean when viewed from a macroscopic scale. What is the significance in the choice of media and genre for this particular narrative, and for communicating such conflict? How is such a struggle represented? Why?
5. General Question (tailored to individual interest)
Limiting yourself to a specific event, image, trope, trending news topic, or controversial political issue (e.g. Monsanto’s GMO food products, melting polar ice caps, zombie apocalypse), write an essay that examines one text from the course (literary, cinematic, or otherwise) in relation to another text of your choosing. How do these texts form part of a larger body of work that responds to your proposed topic? How do they critique or present alternatives to established representational practice?? What is the role of media to the scenario examined?
In roughly 2500 words, produce a critical blog addressing a specific phenomenon, genre, history of images or tropes, etc. significant to Asian American popular culture (see above for examples). The blog should be less formal and academic in tone, but equally critical and analytical in content. Bloggers are expected to take advantage of the multimedia affordances of digital media by including images, film clips, sound, etc. to establish contexts and intertextual connections.
These posts should form a cohesive sequence on a single topic. You can choose from one of the above topics, suggested for the research paper, OR you can write about a topic of your own choosing as it relates to Asian American popular culture. The benefit of the blog is that you have room to play with media and to contextualize and historicize the very topic you engage with. Have fun, but also be thorough, sensitive, and mindful.
How your format and structure these posts is up to you, but you should flesh out your own blog from which to complete this assignment: author an “About” page, consider the voice you use (your own, a character, etc.), thoughtfully produce a graphic banner, etc. This blog will eventually be linked off the main course page.
Sample blog: Wontons in Matzo Ball Soup
Nitty gritty: 2500 words minimum. The blog should be consistent and thoughtful in style, tone, etc. and take advantage of networked media (use hyperlinks, embed videos, etc.) in a relevant manner. The voice of the blogger(s) should be distinctive and appropriate, and complement the discussion of the subject matter. It should be informative, well-researched, and critical, while also being accessible and inviting to general audiences.
In an effort to understand, from a personal perspective the labor necessary for the production of commercial culture, often consumed as leisure, you may choose to produce a creative piece informed by your own critical work in this class. This creative piece will be accompanied by a critical analysis of the piece. This piece should critique, remix, or reimagine themes, events, trends, etc. significant to Asian American popular culture. The accompanying analysis of your text must include a works cited page that cites theoretical and primary sources that influence your work. The creative piece itself can take a variety of forms: poetry, short story, comics, play, screen play, comic, short video, image, etc. In writing your piece, keep in mind the way the authors of the course material make use of rhetoric, genre, visual language, or form to present original creative work that is socially, culturally, and politically informed.
Nitty gritty: The form and length of the creative piece is flexible and depend upon the proposed project. The critical accompaniment should be a minimum of 4 pages, MLA format, 12pt font., 1 inch margins, with a works cited page.