Class Goal: To illustrate what kinds of directions cultural analyses might take and how they might be proven/developed.
Connection to Course Goal: CSOW with current paper--how these ways of thinking and developing might be applied to the context of their paper; emphasis on critical thinking about texts and contexts
- Group work: Divide the class into 4 groups and assign them the task below. Tell them to use their homeworks as a beginning. (If you want to check their understanding, collect these homeworks at the end of class.) Reproduce the questions on either a handout (one for each group) or overhead. If you use a handout, make an overhead of each one so you can show the rest of the class the questions while the group is speaking. Give them 15 minutes for activity.
- According to Katz, what specific cultural norms are being reflected by advertising? (i.e. cultural reproduction) List all of them with a corresponding page # for where each is brought up.
- What reasons does Katz offer for the portrayals of masculinity in advertising? What does he think the cause is behind such portrayals? Why is it, in other words, that men in our culture need or like such images? (i.e. cultural function)
- What effect does seeing masculinity portrayed in this way have on men reading these ads according to Katz? What effect do these ads have on our culture's overall view of masculinity?
- Draw a picture of the relationship Katz seems to be assuming among advertising, culture, and readers of ads. What affects each?
- According to Douglas, what specific cultural values or beliefs are reflected in the advertising which appears during the X-files? What are we being "told" by these ads? (i.e. cultural reproduction)
- Why does Douglas see the ads as so important to interpreting the message of the X-files? What does she assume about the relationship between the ads and the show?
- What effect does watching both the ads and the show together have on the viewer? What is the combination of the two "teaching" us?
- Draw a picture of the relationship Katz seems to be assuming among advertising/television shows, culture, and viewers of both. What affects each?
Groups 3 and 4 (note: skip these groups if you are running out of time)
- What is the thesis/main point/purpose of the essay?
- What evidence is used in support of the statements the author makes about culture? List all the kinds of evidence used.
- What evidence is used in support of the statements about advertising and/or the t.v. show? List all the kinds of evidence used.
- Evaluate one specific analysis of an ad and/or t.v.show. How effective is this analysis? What could make it better?
- Discussion of Group Work (25 min.)
Cultural Discussion: Begin with groups 1 and 2, asking questions and summarizing after each presentation. Try and highlight in this discussion both how culture works (its effect on viewers, its relationship to cultural norms) and the function of cultural analysis for the reader (i.e. to highlight the "unseen" so the influence might be changed). Some possible follow-up questions for the whole class after each presentation are below.
[Warning: donít try to do them all; the best questions will focus on the goals above but emerge from what the students present. Remember your goal here isnít necessarily to summarize the essay and/or to get it "Right" but to explore the topics with the students. The accuracy of their reading of the essay is not the main point in this unit-instead, the readings serve to get their thinking started and to demonstrate how analysis might work]:
Katz - Group 1
- Why might such ads be effective advertising? Why do they keep showing up so often?
- Do men realize the effect advertising might be having on them? Does it matter if we are conscious of it?
- Are the ads an accurate reflection of culture or are they creating our concept of masculinity? Can it be both at the same time?
- Whatís the goal of Katzís essay? ie. why write it? Does it help the viewer to be conscious of these things?
- Is there any sense of "resistance" in the ads? Can they think of any which Katz doesn't use?
- Do you agree/disagree with Katz? Can you disagree with specific analyses and still be convinced about his cultural thesis?
Douglas - Group 2
- Why is Douglas assuming that the ads and subversiveness of the X-files are actually working together? Why is it no "accident" for her that this kind of advertising appears with this particular show?
- How important are ads as you view a show? What can looking at them tell you about viewers and assumptions of viewers?
- Would most viewers even think consciously about the ads? Would X-filers assume that they are actually receiving messages which support dominant culture?
- Is it fair to say the subversiveness of the X-files is undercut by its ads? Is this a fair way to analyze a show?
- Do you agree/disagree with Douglas?
Summary of Discussion of Cultural Issues:
- Write-to-learn: Have each student draw a "picture" of the relationship between t.v., culture, and viewers that they personally believe in and write a few sentences to themselves explaining why.
- Do not share these; simply tell students to keep this relationship in mind as they work on their own analyses. This relationship will be key to explaining what the effect of their own analyses might be on their readers. That is, their "exigency" (reasons for writing) is similar to Katz and Douglasí-to expose the unseen in order to explain/inform viewers with a particular intended effect.
- Writing Discussion: The goal of the questions posed to group 4 and 5 is to highlight how people prove analyses. As each group presents on questions 1-3 highlight for students the ways their own papers might be developed with
- proof of claim made about culture (experience, other texts, readings)
- proof of claims about t.v. show and culture (close analysis of ads)
- With question 4 focus on how close textual analyses are conducted. Offer suggestions for improvement on the analyses the groups find most troubling. Lead them to a critique of Douglasí analysis (i.e. assuming connections/effect is obvious rather than connecting each specifically.)
Summary of Writing Discussion: Keep ways of analyzing and need for proof in mind. Will come back to it in the next 2-3 classes.
- Homework for Friday: Reminder to read hooks, RRA 483-90 and Blue and Naden, RRA p. 314-30 and write a response to question #4 in RRA at end of hooks.