Background: While popular culture seems innocuous enough, the music, television, movies, books, social media, and video games that we surround ourselves with actually shape our views on race, class, gender, and sexuality, whether we realize this or not. As a result, popular culture can strongly influence our views on race, class, gender, and sexuality — in both positive as well as negative ways — and more importantly, popular culture can even define our sense of identity.
Since one of the learning outcomes of this class is to execute an effective research strategy, we’ll be using this as an opportunity for you to take a pop culture artifact of your choice and look at how and why it affects who we are.

Your Task: Write a 7- to 10-page research essay in which you research one specific pop culture artifact and its effects on our sense of racial, class, gender, or sexual identity, then discuss these implications on all of us as a society.
You can focus on any particular pop culture artifact, but you must first check that you have okayed it with me. Remember, it is better to be more specific than too broad. Your research paper must not simply be a “book report” of facts that you discover, but a deeper analysis of how and/or why this particular pop culture artifact has the influence that it does on our racial, class, gender, or sexual identity.

Organization: For the first section, you must give a thorough backgrounding of the pop culture artifact you are researching and aspect of identity you will be focusing on. The primary emphasis will be on analyzing the artifact, talking about the aspect of identity your research paper will be focusing on, and providing some specific examples of the artifact.
In the second section, discuss and explain the significance of your examples and how they impact your audience. In addition to the research you will be providing, this is where you can include any personal interviews to support your claims.
In the third section, conclude with your thoughts on the significance of your research. What is your overall “SO WHAT?!” Provide some concrete courses of action, possibilities, and solutions. What are our next steps as a society?

Research: Using MLA format, draw from no less than 3 primary or secondary sources for your research, and no more than 5. Primary sources vary, from interviews, oral histories, autobiographies, speeches, songs, photographs, newspaper articles, city records, and directories, to diaries and the letters that document times past. In our library, some of these sources may be in the form of print indexes and microfilm. Secondary sources, meanwhile, are based on primary sources. In our library, they may be in the form of articles and e-books on library databases (SuperSearch) and books.

Essay Requirements: I will be taking into consideration these qualities: § Sophistication and insight § A thesis that proposes an argument § Thorough development of the thesis through clear topic sentences that connect back to your thesis statement § Well-developed, persuasive body paragraphs § Logical organization in line with your purpose and audience § Properly cited sources using MLA style § Reference or “Works Cited” page according to MLA format § A snappy introduction § An original and creative title that limits and focuses the scope of your paper § Spelling, grammar, sentence variety, etc.
Your essay should be 7-10 pages long, typed, double-spaced, with 1” margins. Do not use a font larger than 12 point.

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