Course Expectations: Projects & Weekly Productions

Individual Course Website/Blog (30%). Each student will submit a weekly “intellectual production” for the course in the form of a “post” to a blog or the creation of a webpage. Production assignments will be formally specified at the end of each class period, by the instructor and on the course website. Assignments may include textual, visual, and other (video blog) formats, and represent the intellectual efforts of students in the course to engage with not just the course readings and class discussion, but artefacts and experiences in popular/media culture.

Each time, the genre and format of the assignment will change, and students will be encouraged to try out new modes of expression – from video documents to graphic narratives/serious comics. Dues dates for production assignments will be indicated. All assignments are due VIA email to the course instructor with a link to your blog/website.

Doing Cultural Studies: Critical Media Analysis 15%

Your job is to choose ANY TV show/series, film/film series, comic, manga, video game, etc. and review it with reference to the Stack and Kelly (2006) article, as well as adding 3 other sources.

Comparative Analysis Angle: You may also select a critical thematic based on power dynamics relating to ideology, gender, race, class, age, religion, sexuality, abile-ism, normative representations of schooling, normative representations of political life, etc, and do a comparative analysis of the thematic ACROSS different media, films, TV, shows, etc.

In effect, what representations are presented, what narratives are being told, and what particular perspectives (interests) are being advanced. Again, please ensure reference to the Stack and Kelly (2006) article, as well as adding 3 other sources.

At least two sources MUST include journal articles, books, or other scholarly texts and one can be from more popular or journalistic media. References must adhere to a standard referencing format (e.g., APA), and you must be sure to cite all quotations and/or ideas properly in your review. Avoid like/dislike statements and make sure you choose one (or two) critical lenses for analysis (ideology critique; challenging representations in relation to race, class, gender, sexuality, economics, consumerism, body image, and so on; postcolonial theory, etc).

Marks will be deducted for improperly cited texts / 400-500 words, well-written!

Due by/before Week 9 [Weds Nov 1]

Final Group (or Individual) Project 35%

This is an individual or group (2-3 people max) multimedia project that frames a critique of popular culture through issues of class, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, disabilities, consumption etc., or through some kind of critique of representations and (popular) cultural narratives based on some theme (gender, post-colonial studies, ideology, and so on).  Alternately, you can focus on other course themes – or pitch your own idea to me.

You can accomplish this through a short documentary film, a remix video, through mashups, hacking memes (in video context), through constructing a kind of multimedia tumblr or storify blog, or by producing your own multimodal graphic text (graphic novel) or ‘zine’ (digital or non-digital).

The point is that you’ll be learning new technical skills to bring the power of critique to popular cultural forms and disrupting them.

The project will be accessed on how successfully you convey your critique or demonstrate creative/critical educational opportunities (linking to course theories and readings outside of the course, on your own).  The expectation is NOT that you will produce a cinema quality documentary film or commercial level website, but you should take some care that images, text, sound, etc. are audible, legible and in focus, and consider aspects of craft and aesthetics.

In class presentation of work-in-progress for feedback (5%) will be ‘the content’ of our final class meeting, where we share our critical perspectives on popular culture and education/learning.

Final project (that responds to critical feedback).  (30%)  Due one Week after Final Class


In-Class Pop Quizzes/Assignments:

One of the most valuable things you can do as a student is to show up for class having read and attempted to understand the readings. In order to assess this as an ongoing part of your intellectual work in the course, a “pop quiz” or other assignment (such as a written assignment related to the readings) will form part of how you are assessed in the course. There will be no make up on these, though you will have one that you can “throw out” without having it count for marks.

Course Information

Important Course Information for Students

All students are expected to familiarize themselves with the following information, available on the Senate Committee on Curriculum & Academic Standards webpage (see Reports, Initiatives, Documents)

  • York’s Academic Honesty Policy and Procedures/Academic Integrity Website
  • Ethics Review Process for research involving human participants
  • Course requirement accommodation for students with disabilities, including physical, medical, systemic, learning and psychiatric disabilities
  • Student Conduct Standards
  • Religious Observance Accommodation

Grading, Assignment Submission, and Lateness Penalties

Grading:  The grading scheme for the course conforms to the 9-point grading system used in undergraduate programs at York (e.g., A+ = 9, A = 8, B+ – 7, C+ = 5, etc.).  Assignments will bear either a letter grade designation or a corresponding number grade (e.g.  A+ = 90 to 100, A = 80 to 90, B+ = 75 to 79, etc.)  (For a full description of York grading system see the York University Undergraduate Calendar.

Assignment Submission: Proper academic performance depends on students doing their work not only well, but on time.  Accordingly, assignments for this course must be received on the due date specified for the assignment, via email to the instructor.

Lateness Penalty: Assignments received later than the due date will be penalized one letter per day that the assignment is late. Exceptions to the lateness penalty for valid reasons such as illness, compassionate grounds, etc., may be entertained by the Course Instructor but will require supporting documentation (e.g., a doctor’s letter).

***All students are required to bring all readings to class – whether printed or to be viewed in another (digital) format.