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Unit Two, Day 15 - Tuesday

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.

(1) 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.

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)

(1) What new images or ideas does the author think have been introduced by television? List them.

(2) What is the effect of these new images? How does the author imagine they affect viewers’ attitudes? their actions?

(3) 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:

(1) 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.

(2) 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.

--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.

Transition to #4: Now that we have seen both resistance and reproduction in the four essays we have read, we’re going to start looking at how to do our own analyses. We’ll start this by considering what kind of questions we need to ask about the TV shows that we might analyze for our papers.

(4) Small Group Work: Break students into four groups and assign them the following tasks. The goal here is to highlight both what kinds of things to look for when trying to come up with a focus and how the things you look at might differ according to the genre of the show and type of analysis you want to do. (10 min.) [you’ll need blank overheads and pens for this; otherwise, have them put lists on board]

Group Task (reproduce on overhead):

For the type of show assigned below, generate a list of questions you might ask of the show when watching over the next few days. Consider all three analysis options when creating your list. Think about the things you might look at (e.g. who has the power in the family, etc.) that could lead to a focused cultural analysis as well as questions specific to the genre of show (e.g., why is Cartman from South Park so funny?). If it helps, think of a particular show within the genre that everyone in your group is familiar with to help create your list. Write your list on the overhead provided to share with class.

(5) Share Responses: As groups share, ask other class members to make additions. Also encourage them to think about what kind of analysis or thesis each question/focus might lead to. Finally, consider how other aspects of the show might factor into the analysis (e.g. the advertising around it; the ads for it during other times, etc.)--i.e. what besides the show might lead to information about its intended message/audience. (10 min.) Write down these responses because we’ll come back to them in the next class.

(6) Closing