SCREEN GENRES & MEDIA HYBRIDS (COMM 2085)
Final Essays 2250 words – worth 50% Due Date: Thu 23rd June 2016, submit via Learn Online Late Submissions:
Essays that are submitted late without a valid extension will be deducted at 5% per week (or part thereof) and returned without comments.
Final Essay Requirements:
Write up your response to one of the topics as an argumentative research essay that incorporates the constructive use of close film/media analysis.
All essays must meet the academic research requirement of 10-12 academic references (books, book chapters and/or journal articles) and demonstrate an engagement with those sources to achieve a passing grade.
Students must also demonstrate independent research on their topic (4 academic sources) to achieve a passing grade.
The following do not count as academic research sources: film examples; your lecture notes; online course notes (from this or other university courses); IMDB; Wikipedia; magazine or newspaper articles. The above may be used and cited but you must still meet the minimum amount of 10-12 academic sources (engaging with books; book chapters; and journal articles).
All essays need to make use of appropriate essay formatting, academic citation (e.g. Harvard Referencing) and include a full reference list and a filmography. Remember: you cannot write on the same genre or film that was used in the minor essay. Discuss your chosen examples with your tutor.
FINAL ESSAY TOPICS
1. Given the rampant hybridity and inter-textuality of the postmodern era, there is no place for genre theories and definitions. Do you agree? Your response should account for both genre and the existence of hybridized genres by drawing upon at least 2-3 of the genre theorists we have studied.
2. Central to the development of the western has been a celebration of its myth making (for instance: the individualism of the gunslinger or the taming of the wild frontier) and a destruction of those very myths. How can this be? How might this apparent contradiction also affect stable categorizations of the western genre?
3. Do genres serve common narrative functions? Test out Propp’s formalist model by applying it to 2 different screen genre examples. Where does Propp’s formalist approach leave us with regards to generic definitions?
4. Genre films are as much about their own generic reality as they are about a larger historic, social and cultural reality. Do you agree? Focus on 2 examples from one of the screen genres we have studied in your response.
5. Focusing on 2 examples from 2 different genres that we have studied – the western, science-fiction, horror, melodrama, musicals or action film – analyse how they represent the relationship between the individual and the larger community. What are the specific value-systems and/or codes of behaviour that each of your genres represent?
6. Explore how the melodrama or the horror film represents the family and/or other social institutions as a potential site of conflict, anxiety and trauma. What critical approaches help us to best understand your chosen genre?
7. Focusing on 2 examples from either the western, action cinema, horror, the musical or science-fiction, analyse how gender affects and informs the genre’s iconography as well as its main thematic conflicts.
8. Analyse the similarities and/or differences between classical Hollywood musicals and the contemporary musical. How do you account for the ways in which the musical genre has persisted and/or mutated in the contemporary?
9. How and why does horror self-reflexively engage its audience in both horror film fandom and processes of viewing? Discuss with close reference to at least 2 horror films.
10. How useful is a psychoanalytic approach to horror? Discuss with reference to 2 films from the horror genre. You may also consider the sciencefiction/horror genre hybrid.
11. Taking into account scholarship on generic repetition and variation, compare and contrast how Hollywood and another national cinema of your own choice represent a particular genre. How do you critically account for their differences, if any? Incorporate the analysis of 2 examples (one from Hollywood; one from outside Hollywood) in your response.
12. Conduct a close analysis of one of the genres we have studied in this course and how it is repeated and varied across mediums – for example, in the shift from film to television or film to computer games. What remains stable in the genre and what has been altered by its cross-media dispersal? Can film genre models still be used or do they need to be re-thought?