People Consider Social Issues National University
Assignment – Film and Theory Paper: Crazy Rich Asians
Click on the “Week Four Assignment – Film and Theory Paper” link above to submit your assignment.
Film and Social Theory Paper:
Part of the challenge of learning classical theory is applying the concepts introduced in class to contemporary culture. Whether movies or documentaries, films have been a fundamental medium for the past one hundred years for having people consider social issues, problems and other social phenomena.
1. For this paper, choose a film or documentary from the list supplied below,
2. watch it (even if you’ve seen it before),
3. and write a critical paper of 5 to 7 full pages of text (this is the body of paper, and does NOT include the abstract, cover page, sources, etc.) that synthesizes your learning from the class reading, lectures, and discussions, and research of at least three social theorists (minimum) covered in the class. (See grade scale in Course Outline.)
4. You must include a works cited page with a minimum of six academic sources, plus your film. The films I have chosen depict social problems or social phenomena that are relevant for assessing the continued relevance of classical social theory today as well as in the time in which the theories themselves were constructed.
Reminder of style requirements: All papers must include the APA components: Cover page, abstract and references page(s). Length requirements apply only to the body of the paper (not abstract, sources, etc.). I recommend using Purdue Owl if you do not have a complete copy of the APA style book. Papers that do not include a works cited page in APA do not fulfill the assignment: The grade is zero. Please make sure you are following APA style.
Exercise (Do NOT literally write this into your paper! It’s just an exercise.)
For example, what would Durkheim, Marx, Simmel and Veblen have to say about the plot and characterizations of one of the many film versions of Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens? What would they say of the themes developed in any of the various movie versions of Jane Austen’s Emma (a modern version of which is Clueless)? What would Marx, Freud, Simmel, Veblen and/or Martineau think of the plot and characterizations of Mean Girls, or The Devil Wears Prada? How would they respond to Erin Brockovich or to Fight Club? (Remember, you are not actually writing how you think the theorist would react to the film; you’re applying their theory. This is just an exercise to select your theorists.)
In your paper you will need to:
1. Provide a brief (half a page at most) plot summary of the film, and critical information such as the year it was released, who directed it, and what (if any) novel or actual case it was based upon. This summary must be no more than 125 words, a long paragraph.
2. Name and explain theories and concepts developed by the social theorists to explain not only the plot, action, and setting but the characterizations of the major parts played by the actors. According to the three or more theorists you have chosen, what social forces have shaped them and have influenced their motivations, aspirations, goals, and behaviors? In what kind of society do they live? How does that society shape the individual?
As with any university paper, use standard formatted margins and fonts. Cite your sources parenthetically within the body of your paper and include a reference page. The title page, abstract and reference page(s) – all items other than the body of the paper – do not count in the 5-7 pages required. While sources outside the class are not required, any additional sources must be cited and referenced as well.
Outside Sources: Be aware that Wikipedia and blogs are not acceptable sources. I will give a brief tutorial on how to find acceptable outside sources through the NU library, using the SocINDEX database. To ensure your outside sources are from academic, peer reviewed journals, please use SocINDEX. Please review an English writing handbook, NU Library re: peer reviewed sources, and the APA about what constitutes a reliable academic source. Some good sources for help with writing your papers and discussion boards are found on the course outline.
Theorists you need to use are Karl Marx and Thorstein Veblen.