Critical Encounters

Critical Cultural Analysis of Everyday ‘Texts’

‘To understand the craft of reading is to understand the world as a text and to be able to read it critically…’
– Robert Scholes, The Crafty Reader

Based on Scholes’ quote above, apply some of the critical lenses offered in Critical Encounters, and do a critical analysis of a cultural text or media artifact (contemporary cultural phenomenon, Internet phenomenon, video game series, music video/s, film or television phenomenon, etc).

In short, I am asking you to perform a kind of critical literary analysis of the ‘world-as-text’.

You may even explore aspects of schooling and/or educational practice as an object of critical cultural analysis, using the tools and lenses offered by Appleman to examine taken-for-granted aspects of everyday schooling (the ‘hidden curriculum’ and ‘null curriculum’  – google ’em!).

Remember, multiple lenses can be used at once, and most ‘critical writers’ out there are integrating multiple lenses (they need not be seen as mutually-exclusive paradigms).

Expectations (and Tips)

  • Yes, this is a kind of formal critical essay – but as discussed in class, that does not mean you can’t write creatively, with style and attention to ‘the literary’.
  • The pleasure of interpretation: Select a somewhat complex/interesting cultural artifact or phenomenon – and see if/how critical interpretation can be a pleasurable experience as ‘you try on’ any of the critical lenses offered…
  • Engage Appleman’s text to help frame or open your discussion: develop a key idea and/or respond to key quotes (this may help get the ball rolling for you, too)…

As you interpret, see what kinds of ‘intertextual’ connections arise (e.g., are there literary texts, poems, other cultural works you can cite, connect to, to deepen, or bring nuance, to your discussion)?

Due: Week 9 [Fri Nov 4]

2-3 pages min; on top of that, you can integrate images, screenshots, pictures, etc, to illuminate or model ideas.

Critical cultural analyses of texts may draw upon (at one and the same time):

Critical Media Studies
Post-Colonial Criticism & De-Colonization
Feminist Criticism & Gender/Queer Studies
Critical Race Theory and Critical Multicultural Lenses
Ideology Critique & Class Structure Analysis