Posts Tagged ‘Research and Cultural Identity’

Mad Men: Cultural Identity in Early 1960s America

by   |  04.21.10  |  Film and Visual Art

Below are links to two, 4-minute recaps of episodes from the AMC tv show Mad Men. These clips present only highlights from these episodes, so the transitions between scenes are abrupt and may be difficult to follow. However, these scenes present a taste of an imagined culture in early 1960s America that should be somewhat coherent. The main characters are men and women who work in a New York advertising firm or are family members of these ad men. While watching, pay attention to the visual rhetoric and language elements that deal with cultural or social identity. After viewing the clips, please work in groups of threes and post responses to the following questions as a comment to this blog post:

  1. Who are the members of your group?
  2. What do you notice about the men in this culture?
  3. What do you notice about the women in this culture?
  4. How would you describe the interactions between men and women in these scenes?
  5. How would you describe employer-employee relationships in this culture?
  6. Do these clips present any elements of racial identity? If so, how? and to what effect?
  7. From a rhetorical perspective, while thinking about cultural or social identity, what might be one of the persuasive goals behind these clips?

Recap Clip #1: “Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency”

Recap Clip #2: “Wee Small Hours”

Cultural Identity and Non-Literary Texts – THX1138

by   |  04.18.10  |  Film and Visual Art

George Lucas’s student project film titled “Electronic Labyrinth THX1138 4EB” is a strange movie—certainly low-budget—science fiction genre—and it’s often confusing. However, this film efficiently creates a cultural universe that includes some interesting aspects of social identity. As you watch, pay attention to the ways in which the film constructs identity, especially among different classes of people. After viewing, please work in groups of three to discuss and post responses to the following questions as a comment to this blog post:

  1. Who are the members of your group?
  2. How would you describe the cultural universe in this film?
  3. What happens in this film—how do you understand the ending?
  4. What visual elements/data does the film use to construct social identities in this culture?
  5. From a rhetorical perspective, while thinking about cultural or social identity, what might be one of the persuasive goals of this film? In other words, what is the purpose of this film?
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Thesis for Research Essay

by   |  04.05.10  |  Thesis

To begin thinking in terms of your thesis, which is required for Step 5, please post a comment to this blog post that indicates the primary literary text(s) you are working on and includes a tentative/working/draft thesis for your research essay. Remember, your thesis must address how your literary text addresses some aspect of cultural identity.

Other resources for developing a thesis follow below:

What is a Scholarly Source?

0 Commentsby   |  03.29.10  |  Research and Cultural Identity

To follow up our discussion of scholarly sources in class, below are criteria to consider when searching for scholarly sources.

Scholarly Sources:

  • Are written by scholars (people with Ph.D.s) who are experts on relevant subject matter
  • Include articles published in peer-reviewed journals
  • Have a thesis and are fairly long (usually 10+ pages for articles)
  • Include books published by a scholarly publisher (like a university press)
  • Use extensive verifiable evidence to support their claims
  • Usually have a (long) list of Works Cited or bibliographic footnotes
  • Have a professional design
  • Are up-to-date and relevant to the issues being researched

Research Goals and Evaluating Secondary Sources

by   |  03.29.10  |  Research and Cultural Identity

In class on Friday, we discussed the following items related to the goals of research:

What are some of the purposes of research?

  • To confirm the validity of your claims – appealing to the opinions of experts
  • To establish your credibility as an informed reader of a text
  • To provide historical context for your argument/analysis
  • To discover new knowledge (highest goal of research)

Pitfalls of Using Secondary Sources

  • Losing your own voice

Secondary sources should be used sparingly to supplement your claims about a text – claims from secondary sources cannot be your primary argument about the text. When quoting a secondary sources, be sure to follow up the quote with your explanation or argument about why the information from the secondary source is relevant to your claims.

  • Quoting sources that have no relation to your text
  • Failure to properly cite sources

Research Step 1

by   |  03.24.10  |  Research and Cultural Identity

To document your work on Step 1 of the research project, please respond to the following items as a comment to this blog post:

  1. What is/are your selected primary literary text(s)?
  2. What particular aspect of cultural identity appears in your primary literary text(s)?
  3. What is your (narrowly focused) research question?

The research room at the New York Public Library, as photographed by Diliff, edited by Vassil:


Cultural Identity and The Research Question

by   |  03.22.10  |  Research and Cultural Identity, Thesis

Consider the following guidance when working on Step 1 of the Research Essay Project:

Many different factors can work independently or in combination to construct a person’s or primary text’s understanding of cultural identity, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Socioeconomic status or class
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Political ideology
  • Sexual orientation
  • Geographic location
  • Nationality
  • Language

The cultural identities noted above can be explored in a number of ways as well, including how cultural identity affects understandings of various issues, such as:

  • Law and public policy
  • Environmental and technological issues
  • Community involvement and service
  • Access to employment, education, and healthcare
  • Economics and global resources
  • Immigration, assimilation, and separation
  • Ecumenism and sectarianism

The Research Question

In addition to the examples and guidance on the assignment sheet for Step 1, please read the section from your Sequence textbook on generating research questions (261-64). Additional guidance on research questions can be found on the following links:

When developing a research question, the key is specificity. Narrowing the focus is, generally, the best approach.