This paper asks you to reflect on the semester, pick an area of the course that you find especially interesting, engaging, and or productively challenging, and dive into it. What should come out of that process is one of two things: (1) a paper of original research should produce a thesis/argument, critical analysis, and rigorous questions pertaining to a particular aspect of our consumer culture. I ask for proposals so I can work with you in determining and focusing your project; please contact me no later than the end of Week 14. It is okay if proposals are messy and uncertain – I’m happy to help!
Below are some suggestions for structuring your ideas:
1. A formal, critical research paper that attempts to investigate and ask questions about a particular aspect of this course (examples could be as solid as attempting to examine how a specific presidential candidate uses social media to self-brand, and conjuring up an argument based on that research; or could be as potentially abstract as attempting to understand how ethical consumption is attempted in the current time period – perhaps referencing a recent campaign to do so)
2. An extension of your journal paper (focusing on an aspect or case study that you feel needs more attention, and that you can critically build upon).
3. A paper in the form of a proposal to a brand – how you might want them to perform better, more ethically, sustainably, humanely, creatively, etc.
4. An analysis and critique of a film or TV program about advertising and consumer culture (several documentaries and fictional works to explore, and suggestions can be provided).
5. Papers that attempt to either apply theories discussed in class to a particular moment of promotion or consumerism that interests you, or that attempt to work against a theory with examples in mind. (As an example: working with Andrejevic’s ideas on surveillance and data collection to write critically about the consumer culture of Netflix or Facebook)
6. If you feel so inclined and have media experience, I would also gladly accept a video or multimedia project – a short documentary about consumerism (at IU, in Bloomington); ads that attempt to show a brand in a new (maybe more ethical) light; creation of webpages, blogs and/or social media accounts that deal with consumer culture in a way that interests you. Proposals would of course need to be discussed at length, more so than written work, and I would require a 3-4 page write-up about your project (a defense of it, essentially) to go along with the final work.
7. For all of these, especially the final media idea, I have in the past been open to proposals that factor-in collaborative work. Let me know if that is something you and a fellow 315 classmate are considering, and I can meet with you in regards to approving such a project. Note: proposing a collaborative project does not guarantee its approval. Justification needs to be given as to why collaboration benefits the research and work process.
These are just general ideas; your proposals can expand on them, or diverge completely.
General Formal Rubric:
For papers: 8-10 pages, double spaced, 1-inch margins all around, 12 point Times New Roman font, numbered pages, stapled
This paper requires 2-3 references from class, in addition to any other formal research you conduct. Works cited needed at end of document. Some resources to look through: other articles or chapters from this course; official websites and social media accounts of your chosen brand; quality/popular press newspapers and magazines: NY Times, Washington Post, Business Insider, Forbes, Ad Age, Brand Channel, Ad Busters, Fortune, Wired Magazine, Variety, Ad Week, Wall Street Journal, etc.
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