The purpose of the short paper assignment is to give students the opportunity to use their sociological imagination to apply sociological concepts to a film analysis.
Pick a fictional movie or television show (not a documentary) to analyze with a sociological imagination. It may be an animated film, a drama, or based on a true story/biography, or approximately 1.5 – 2 hours of television shows (the same show in a series).
Write a 3-4 page paper analyzing that movie with a sociological lens. You’ll briefly summarize the movie, and then, you’ll address the content of the film in light of the sociological discussion we’re having in class and in your readings. Pick one broad theme (e.g., race, gender, a specific theory) to apply to the film. Clearly define that theme—citing Conley and discuss that definition. For example, if you’re discussing racism, discuss various sociological aspects of racism; you may also have sub-themes of racism (ethnocentrism, power, etc.). This focused analysis will give you room to think deeply and analytically about a particular topic. Some questions you might consider in writing your analysis (note: these are only suggestions for prompting your thinking; please do not try to answer ALL of these in your short essay—choose just a few, or maybe only one:
- What cultural themes appear in the film? Define and discuss these themes, using Conley to support your analysis. Be sure to cite Conley when paraphrasing or using his words.
- Do the characters in the film engage in relationships of inequality? Do they practice racism? Homophobia? Sexism? Ageism? Provide support from the Conley to text to define these terms and show how the examples you chose illustrate these concepts.
- How might a particular social theory inform your analysis of this film? Identify the social theory, and cite Conley’s text, then show how the film illustrates this theory, using evidence from the film and Conley.
- What institutions are at work in this film and how are people in the film conforming to the norms of these institutions? Define institutions, and use support from Conley to show that the examples you chose illustrate these concepts.
Your paper must be typed, double-spaced, have page numbers and a Reference Page (citing the film, the Conley book, and any other articles from the course that you cited in your essay). The Reference Page is not included in the page number requirement.