Length :Papers will be 800-1000 words, double-spaced, and 12-point Times New Roman font.
Heading: Include a heading for your paper that has :(o Your name) (o Section) of the class you are in (oWord) count of your essay (calculated after you finish writing it) (oTopic) you selected
You’ll be investigating:
1) what messages and meanings are conveyed through these cultural items, and
2) what these cultural artifacts demonstrate about U.S. society/who we are
Since most of you have been extensively exposed to these same cultural items for a lifetime, try approaching this
task by using an outsider’s perspective – In other words, “make the familiar strange!
(Choice A) Card-Worthy Occasions You will go to a website, http://www.hallmark.com/ , and analyze the images and/or messages in greeting cards. The website contains hundreds of examples of a variety of greeting cards.
Select at least 20 cards to analyze. I recommend choosing a genre to focus your analysis, such as an age group, a gender, or a milestone/event.
Spend some time looking for themes in the cards – in the images pictured on the cards and/or in the written messages. (A theme is something that appears numerous times and appears to be a common component in the type of card you selected.)
oIdeas: You might notice themes involving gender, race-ethnicity, or sexual orientation/preference. Or, the social construction of ideas such as family, relationships, or aging. Or, how U.S. society defines what moments/milestones are worth acknowledging/celebrating, and how. Or, how emotions, or humor, are
evoked for different occasions. Etc.
Then, in your essay discuss the sociological importance of the themes you chose to analyze (i.e., items #1 and #2 above). You can write also about the things that were rare or not present in the cards and what that absence might indicate. In your conclusion, you are welcome to share your suggestions for creating cards that might better represent who we are, or provide more productive or diverse message
(Choice B) At the Movies
You will be analyzing the movies showing at Gallatin Valley Cinema (or, another mainstream theater that offers at least 8
movies at a time).
For any one week, write down the list of movies showing at the theater. Then go online and watch the official trailer
for each one. (You do not need to watch any of the movies in full.) Current Gallatin Valley Mall movies can be
found here: https://www.regmovies.com/movies
You will be analyzing themes in the movies – in the characters and/or the stories.
o Ideas: Similarities and/or differences in storylines/plot/character types/lead or supporting roles, etc. You
might pay attention to personality traits, relationship status, race-ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status or
profession, sexual orientation/behavior, etc. In your essay, sociologically analyze the most significant trends you observed. In addition to the trends you identify as
important, you can discuss aspects of any movie(s) that strike you as unique, rare, or absent. You might also consider the
intended audiences and what impact the film(s) may have on them (i.e., messages sent/received). DO NOT describe or
analyze each movie separately. Rather, you will analyze the movies as a group. You want to focus this essay on what we can learn about U.S. society from the popular/mainstream films made and shown, and what films “teach” us when we watch
3 them. In other words, don’t spend so much time/words describing the films that you aren’t able to do a strong analysis and
sociological commentary —see the file