Create a blog post describing, analyzing, and evaluating a popular cultural text of their choosing

GENERAL DESCRIPTION
Throughout the semester, students will be required to write three (3) blog posts. Each blog post should use concepts from class (both discussions and readings) to describe, analyze, and evaluate the cultural text discussed.

For this assignment, students step into the role of “cultural critic.” The tone of blog posts is professional but entertaining. Students should write for a diverse audience who may not be familiar with the text or texts discussed, the genre the text is part of, or the concepts learned in class and applied when analyzing the text (or texts).

ASSIGNMENT PROMPT
Blog Post Three: Your Choice (Due with Module 15)

Students will create a blog post describing, analyzing, and evaluating a popular cultural text of their choosing (note that the media discussed cannot be part of the cultural content assigned in this course). This can include a song or album, tv show, movie, comic strip, book, an advertisement… be creative. As long as you can write about it as a cultural text, using the concepts that you learned in the course material you should be fine. If you aren’t sure whether your choice is appropriate, feel free to run it by your academic coach.

Students should include a basic description of the content they chose, to orient the reader and give any necessary context. Additionally, analysis and evaluation of the content should consist of a coherent thesis statement that is logically supported with evidence.

The questions below should help you think about the cultural elements in your cultural text, and will serve as a guide for analysis and evaluation. An effective analysis should be structured around a thesis statement, but will address these questions. In other words, your job is not to simply answer these questions one by one. Instead, you must engage in writing as a process in which you develop a coherent and logical argument that deals with these questions. This is where critical thinking and communication are crucial skills.

To achieve core area objectives, students are asked to pay special attention to the following questions (Note that the labels in parentheses refer to the competency areas that are evaluated using the rubric that is associated with this assignment):

How does what you have learned from class apply to the cultural object? (Critical Thinking)
In what way does the production of the cultural object affect the final product? (Critical Thinking)
How is the artist/author/musician/actor/director/etc. (artist for short) positioned in society (race, class, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, disability)? (Social Responsibility)
How does the artist’s position in society affect the production, consumption, interpretation and reception of the object? (Social Responsibility)
How does the object represent an ethical position? If an ethical position appears to be missing, what could be the reasons that it is missing? (Personal Responsibility)

GUIDELINES
Critical thinking, social responsibility, and personal responsibility are assessed according to the attached rubric, based on how well your analysis addresses the questions in the prompt. Communication skills are assessed as an overall component, based on the following guidelines and specific requirements.

In order to effectively address the above questions, blog posts should:

Be between 500-750 words, submitted as a discussion post that responds to this Canvas prompt
Engage in the writing process described below, to clearly communicate a thesis statement with relevant supporting arguments
Include concepts from the course material as part of the analysis and evaluation
Include pictures, multimedia content, and links to relevant content (as described below)
Accurately cite ALL sources at the end of your blog (See this Citation Guide for help and links to additional resources)
Make sure you are familiar with the Sociological Concepts guidelines
In addition, students are required to comment on at least 2 of their peers’ blog posts for each assignment.

Comments should be 75-100 words, and substantively engage the blogger’s points.
Students should also engage in dialogue with people who comment on their blog posts.
Commenting is worth 5% of each student’s final grade.
Note that all instances of plagiarism will result in failing the assignment and will be processed under the Honor Code.

THE WRITING PROCESS
Your analysis should show that you have engaged in critical thinking, and can address issues of personal and social responsibility. However, you must also be able to communicate that you have done those things, which means that you are expected to develop your written communication skills, following the general guidelines below. It’s important to note that without following these guidelines, it may be difficult to determine whether you have mastered the other core competencies (i.e. critical thinking, social and personal responsibility).

I generally think of the writing process as about 75% thinking and organizing and 25% actually writing. In the case of a blog post, you will also spend some time on the presentation of ideas, and including interactive multimedia elements.

1. Before any of the writing actually begins:

Critically listen to the song/album and think through the questions above. Take notes and reflect on what you want the topic of your blog to be.
Develop a thesis (a claim or argument you will make and support throughout your blog post). Your thesis should be related to ideas from the course (think about representation, social construction, power, discourse, etc.).
After you have a solid claim, identify reasons you have for making your argument and evidence that supports it.
Organize your thesis statement and supporting arguments in a logical order.
2. THEN you can begin actually writing:

Your blog post should be well structured, with the thesis statement at the beginning, and organized into supporting paragraphs.
Each paragraph should have a topic sentence, and be coherent and cohesive. They should contain reasons and evidence that clearly support your claim (thesis).
Always proofread before submitting the final draft.
3. For a blog post, it’s important to remember:

Blogs are dynamic and should contain multimedia. (This is one of the main differences between this assignment and a regular paper or discussion board.) Be sure to include pictures and hyperlinks to videos about the topics that you discuss, and link to relevant material. Be sure that your links work, and are not behind a firewall that must be logged into.
**An Important Note on Links and Citations:

CITATIONS should be used for scholarly sources, such as the readings for this class (which you should be using in your blog). They should follow a scholarly format, which requires the use of in-text citations in the body of the blog AND full citations in a reference section at the end of your blog (see the citation guide linked above for more guidance on this). You MAY include links for this content, but you don’t have to. LINKS should be used for things like referring to other popular culture content or to link to an example of something that supports a claim you are making.

For example, if you say that gourmet donuts are sweeping the nation: You could CITE a scholarly study with data that shows the number of business loan applications for donut stores, and put an in-text citation and a citation at the end of the blog. OR you could provide a LINK to a popular media article, a tweet, or something else online that supports your point: Donuts have been taken to a new level (Links to an external site.) and have even become part of our popular culture, as seen in this Twitter thread (Links to an external site.) comparing gourmet donuts to a K-pop star.

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