Guidelines for Draft Keyword Essay
Due at the start of class on December 7 and online via SafeAssign on the course BlackBoard site before the start of class on December 7th. These drafts will be graded and available for pick up from my office (G202B) between 12:00 noon and 4:00 PM on December 14th. Given the tight turnaround for returning your first drafts to you, late essays cannot be accepted – either in hardcopy or online. Please do not request exceptions to this rule.
5 to 8 pages (typed, double-spaced, using 12-point font and one-inch margins), 15 points
Building on your work on the thematic filmography, the second stage of the keyword project requires a draft essay that presents a preliminary version of your keyword analysis. Think of the draft essay as your first opportunity to work out the central argument of the project, to organize the main theoretical points, and to clearly demonstrate key contradictions and/or paradoxes the analysis is designed to reveal. The point at this stage is to provide a fully worked out draft of the final project. Proceed as follows –
1. State a well-crafted and conceptually sophisticated central thesis or argument that engages concepts and theories introduced in the readings. The argument must be about the selected keyword, its theoretical significance and political implications. I should find your thesis/argument within the first two paragraphs of the essay.
2. Citing relevant authors we have read over the semester, introduce the main theoretical points, key characteristic elements and internal contradictions, historical shifts it has endured, and contradictions and/or paradoxes that are central to the selected keyword. I should get a clear idea of what your selected keyword means, key shifts and contradictions your analysis seeks to pursue, and why the argument is important.
3. Incorporating examples of films/TV programs from your filmography, offer a critical analysis of how various media texts have treated, engaged and/or expressed your selected keyword. Using material from the media texts in your filmography as evidence for your argument, provide well thought out and clear connections between your theoretical/historical discussion of the keyword and specific examples of films/TV programs. I should get a clear idea from the analysis of how examples from your filmography support the central argument you are making in the analysis. For example, if your analysis tracks how archetypes of the “ebony saint” or “black matriarch” have shifted across time, the essay must connect specific illustrative examples drawn from your filmography with your theoretical discussion of the power of these cultural archetypes. If your analysis pursues media images that dramatize the political philosophies of racial integration or nationalism, the essay should link specific illustrative examples from your filmography to reveal how media images work to celebrate, or vilify, these political philosophies.
If your analysis tracks historical shifts in the powerful scopophilic operations of the “racial gaze,” the essay must connect illustrative examples from your filmography to your theoretical discussion of what is at stake in these shifting dynamics of the gaze.
4. Organize the analysis clearly and coherently so it moves logically from one point to the next – without repetition or sudden jumps as you move from one point to the next. To enhance the
coherence and clarity of the discussion, you are encouraged to divide the discussion into sub-sections, and give each sub-section a descriptive title or heading.
The draft essay must be accompanied by a working bibliography of works cited. The bibliography does not count toward the page requirement.
• Does the essay state the central thesis or argument for the project within the first two paragraphs? Is the thesis well crafted and conceptually sophisticated? Does it engage with concepts/theories from the readings?
• Does the essay provide the reader with a good sense of the main theoretical points that the selected keyword engages? Will the reader understand the keyword – its significance, the shifts it has endured, its internal contradictions – from your discussion? Does this theoretical discussion engage with – and cite – specific authors?
• Does the analysis offer clear connections between films/TV programs included in your filmography and the theoretical discussion of the keyword? Do these connections serve as good evidence to support the central thesis or argument?
• Is the analysis clearly organized? Have you divided the discussion into coherent sub- sections? Have you given each sub-section a descriptive title or heading?
• Does the essay run 5 to 8 pages in length (typed, double-spaced, using 12-point font and one-inch margins)?
• Is the essay accompanied by a working bibliography of works cited?
• Have you proofread the document at least twice before submitting? Your work will be graded
down if the writing shows poor syntax, grammar or spelling mistakes.
• Are your pages numbered and stapled together?