Film and Television Analysis

For this assignment, you will write a short paper (1500-2000 word count) that will be an
audience study. This paper will use theoretical concepts drawn from cultural studies,
reception, and fandom, and these concepts might include critical work that focuses on race,
class, gender, sexuality, and ability.
WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT
Pick ONE film or television text and explore what fans and other readers have said about it.
Many people post commentary on the Internet about movies they have seen—message boards on
the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com) can be a good place to start. Professional film
reviews will also offer an additional perspective, as will more specialized websites and op-ed
pieces.
Questions that an audience analysis might explore include
• Do the responses you are examining fall in line with the primary text’s dominant
meanings?
• Are readers performing preferred/dominant readings? Or are readers making oppositional
or otherwise negotiated readings?
• Are readers rewriting the show for other ends?
• What do the reader responses reveal about today’s culture, particularly in relation to race,
class, gender, sexuality, and ability?
Obviously, there will be a lot of Internet chatter about most popular films and television shows.
Do not attempt to cover it all in the space of the paper; rather, find what you think are interesting
responses to your given media text and fashion your thesis around that fact. You may have to
slog through a lot of empty or meaningless sites. Try to find something unique or offbeat about
how consumers relate to your chosen text, and that can become your thesis. In other words, do
not write a paper about how Captain Kirk is “cooler” than Captain Picard, unless you are using a
debate like that to explore a topic such as masculinity within the Star Trek fan community.
Think about what is at stake ideologically in your chosen audience analysis. Be sure to
demonstrate your understanding of the concepts discussed in the course, and be sure to use
proper terminology.
This assignment depends on your outside research on people viewing your chosen media text.
Proper citation form and a bibliography will be necessary. A helpful way to keep track of source
information is to cut and paste URLs. Source information must be incorporated smoothly into
your essay with lead-ins, relevant paraphrasing or summary, and thorough synthesis. Proper
citation form and a bibliography will be necessary. The bibliography will not be considered part
of the word count.

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