Assignments

Blog Essays
There will be 4 required short essays distributed throughout the semester in which you are to respond to a prompt provided by the instructor and post to the class blog (the Home page) as a comment on the prompt. These will give you the opportunity to apply concepts and theories from the course to your everyday experience outside the classroom and to share your observations publicly. Your response should be at least 2 substantive paragraphs long. You are encouraged to respond directly to your classmates’ comments and to use the blog space to engage in productive dialogue outside the classroom.

Each response will be graded based on the following five criteria (5 points possible):

  • Fully addresses all aspects of prompt
  • Brings in applicable examples to support points; cites readings where applicable
  • Provides hyperlinks to examples (e.g. Youtube videos)
  • Engages meaningfully with previous responses and/or in-class discussions
  • Gestures toward further points of discussion/elicits further responses from readers

Journals

Throughout the term I will ask you to write personal reflections on the material from the course. You will submit them privately via the form provided on the Home page. These reflections can be brief and informal – as long as you write a thoughtful response to the question you will receive full credit.

Book Review

For this assignment you are to read a book on the topic of queer identity and popular culture and write a 5-page review essay.

A book review should summarize the major points of the book and briefly explain how the book is structured. It should also sum up the author’s central thesis or argument. It should then provide your own assessment of how well the author communicates this thesis or argument to the reader. You may want to think about how well the specific cases examined support the thesis and illuminate it for the reader. Finally, you should discuss how the book relates to the major concepts from the class (queerness, performativity, normativity, visibility, etc.).

(Download the full assignment description and requirements)

Second Paper/Project

Your assignment is to create an original project/paper inspired by one of our weekly themes (see syllabus for the list of themes). You have the following options:

(1)  A research paper (~10 pages), based on (a) primary or (b) secondary sources
(2)  A media artifact combined with a short paper (at least 3 pages) that explains your artifact and contextualizes it within the course material

(Download the full assignment description and requirements)

Final Exam

Choose a keyword that we have dealt with in depth during the past semester (some examples might be: visibility, identity, performance, community, consumption, etc…). Write an essay of approximately 700-1000 words that explores this keyword and its relationship to the concept of queerness and popular culture. You should bring in the work of multiple assigned authors. You may also wish to bring in points of discussion from our class conversations, your blog posts (and those of your classmates), and/or any of the films we watched in class. Be sure to cite your sources properly, whichever ones you decide to use.

I’ll be looking for a well-formulated thesis that makes a claim about the relationship between your keyword and queerness and popular culture, and then for you to bring in adequate evidence to support that thesis. As a final exam, your essay should demonstrate that you have understood and thoughtfully grappled with material from throughout the course. It should represent only your own work, and does not need to involve any outside research beyond the course materials.

The essay will be due on May 9th at 4pm. There will be a submission form provided on the main course page.

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