Class Goal: To introduce ways of thinking about analyses of cultural resistance in media.
Connection to Course Goal: Critical literacy skills about cultural texts; reading for/understanding multiple functions of texts.
- Discuss Homework: Briefly discuss the analyses, emphasize connections with their own paper, and field any questions doing them has raised for students: (10 min.) You may want to use the "question at issue" handout in the Appendix.
- How did you go about choosing your text? Was it hard to find one that worked? (CSOW: how might selection be important to their own papers)How did they come up with something specific to focus on? Did they have to make choices? decide right away? did they analyze many things? (CSOW: how might they decide on a focus and stick to it in their own papers)
- Did they run into any texts that seemed only entertaining or where cultural analysis might not work? Why might this happen? (CSOW: choosing something they like or where they can’t see culture not a good choice)
- Did the analysis seem too "obvious"? (CSOW: are obvious analyses good choices given the purpose and audience of this paper)
- Which was harder: comics or ads? Why? (CSOW: the difficulties of humor-comedy frequently reproduces something in order to make fun of it)
- What other difficulties did they run into?
Summary: Remind students to keep in mind how hard it can be to focus, see something, or deal with comedy when making their topic choices for the next class. Warn them that you will be anonymously using parts of their homeworks as part of an exercise in the next class on focusing and developing.
Transition: Before we can get too much further into topic choice and thesis development, though, we need to look at the third way of analyzing on the assignment sheet. We’ve talked a lot last week about cultural reproduction and the cultural function viewing might serve, but we haven’t looked at resistance yet, something brought up by the two essays for today.
- (2) Discuss Rapping and Gray in Small Groups: Put questions on overhead and have groups answer with textual references to support their answers: (10 min)
Groups 1 and 2: Answer the following questions for your assigned article (either Rapping or Gray)
- What new images or ideas does the author think have been introduced by television? List them.
- What is the effect of these new images? How does the author imagine they affect viewers’ attitudes? their actions?
- Draw a picture (like the one last week) of the stated or implied relationship between t.v., the viewer, and culture in your article.
Groups 3 and 4:
- If you were to do a paper with a resistance focus, what would you need to "prove" resistance? Looking at both articles together, extrapolate a list of the kinds of things your paper would have to set up. Think, for example, about what basic premises you would have to set up and what kinds of contextual information about culture and the show in question you would have to provide.
- What is the "so what" of articles focused on resistant media messages? In other words, what purpose do the Rapping and Gray articles serve? Why do you think they might have written them? How might the intended audience be affected by these articles?
- (3) Large Group Discussion (25 min)
Have groups 1 and 2 present and consider the following follow-up questions, while they present or after both groups finish.
- why t.v. (which is after all a business) might produce resistant messages.
- whether they can think of examples of shows with resistant messages
- whether a particular show can be both resistant and reinforcing at the same time?
- could they re-read reinforcement with any of the examples in these articles, particularly Roseanne?
--Once you’ve established a clear understanding of resistance and how resistance can be used simultaneously with a reinforcing thesis, ask students to return to their homeworks and see if they can offer an alternative "resistance" thesis to the ad or comic they analyzed. Have them write this thesis at the bottom of the page.
--Have groups 3 and 4 present and follow-up with questions on how developing a resistance thesis might differ from a reinforcing one. Emphasize that the exigence (so what) is usually different here as well--i.e. sometimes defending a show rather than revealing hidden meaning, or offering a reading of "cultural change" rather than trying to get viewers to be more critical.
- Collect analyses of comic/ad done over weekend. Be sure comic or ad is attached. (Comment by next class, focusing on how well their ideas for analysis are focused and meet the criteria for a "cultural" thesis.)
- remind about topic proposal for next class
- promise them they will begin getting more into the details of their own paper now that the "ways of thinking" for this assignment have been covered