TV Criticizing

 For your midterm paper, you will watch an episode of a “reality” TV show and analyze it using perspectives covered thus far in class to create an argument for how this program does or does not construct social or individual realities in American life. Some questions you might consider include (though no need to limit yourself to this list or answer every single question if it is irrelevant to your argument): What narrative(s) are being used to convey a sense of reality in American life? Whose experiences are privileged and whose are excluded? What “hidden” assumptions help these narratives to function? Who benefits from this “reality” or who is harmed by this “reality?” Are there binary oppositions at work in this construction of reality? If so, do they present a problem? How might you challenge realities built on binary oppositions? Who is the intended audience(s) for this program? Why was this program (and particular view of reality) created? In other words, what purpose does it serve for American individuals and society? What production strategies (lighting, camera angles, sound, etc.) or textual strategies (visual, verbal, signs, connotations, genre recognition) are used to communicate or create a “reality” to audiences? How does this program work to reinforce (or resist) dominant social realities of class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, religion, and/or (dis)ability? Be sure to include in your paper: A brief description of the TV show Your definition of “reality” Whether or not the TV show represents your definition of “reality” and why At least two sources from class to support your argument (you are welcome to use more than two source from class or other sources as well) Formatting instructions: A successful paper will synthesize specific and focused examples from the program, concepts from class and personal reflections to present a persuasive case for how American realities are constructed. This paper should be 4-6 pages in length (not including title and reference pages). All papers must follow APA format, use credible sources, be double-spaced, utilize 12-pt Times New Roman font and have a complete reference and title page. See the example essays posted on Carmen for help with these formatting tasks. Papers should be submitted electronically as Word documents via Carmen’s Dropbox function. All essays are due at our class start time on Tuesday, February 26th. If you have any problems with submission, please see me as soon as possible.


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