Exercise 3.2: Research Homework

Objective: clarify the central question of your scholarly research essay by problematizing your exhibit.

Estimated time: 2-3 hrs

Due by 9:30 a.m. Monday, April 6th 

Part 1—Watch and Read

  • Watch your film OR read the coverage on current event you have selected and take careful notes on patterns and anomalies you observe. You will use these observations and your preliminary research to create a clear, focused research question for your scholarly research essay.
  • Read and annotate Simon During’s introduction to Stuart Hall’s “Encoding, Decoding.” The reading is dense, so remember that you’re looking for ideas and concepts, which are outlined in the videos. One key concept that Hall explores is re-presentation, so think about how groups of people are represented in your film or the media. The reading is in your course pack, but in case you lost that, you can download a copy.
  • Review the five ways of identifying an intellectual or interpretive described in the Identifying Problems writing guide.
  • Review the Strong Research Questions writing guide.
  • Read Functions of Sources writing guide

Part 2—Write a Summary of Your Film (Journal 3.2)

Write a summary of your film as soon as you finish watching it. Doing so will help you to record what you think is important about the film without (accidentally) plagiarizing another summary of the film. OR write an overview that summarizes the media coverage you have observed.

Part 3—Preliminary Research

  • Conduct preliminary research on your exhibit and also analyze it in order to determine the main question you want to explore in your scholarly research essay. Therefore, make sure to look up existing opinions about your film. Find out how the film is categorized as a genre and how that genre is defined.
    Example: A past student noticed that central female characters in the animated film Inside Out seemed to be based on common female stereotypes, yet the film was universally praised as a feminist masterpiece. Therefore, in her research essay, she asked: Do the stereotypical depictions of Joy and Sadness undermine the film’s reputation as a “feminist” film?

Part 3—Draft Your Research Question

  • Write your research question, using the guidelines in the Strong Research Questions writing guide. Post your question as a comment below.

Library Class Virtual Visit

Because our classes are now online, the library has created this guide to help you with your research, which is a required learning objective of our English 110 class. You will complete this work as part of your classwork on Monday, April 6th.

The guide includes a chat box for questions, and a library instructor, Max Thorn, will be available to answer your questions during our class time on April 6, 1:40 to 3:30 p.m. and 4:40 to 6:30 p.m. You can also chat online with a librarian chat online with a Queens College librarian Monday through Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.

And, of course, I will be helping you with the research for this essay.

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25 thoughts on “Exercise 3.2: Research Homework

  1. Mulan is praised for having the messages that women are just as qualified for war as men are. However, by having songs such as “Girl Worth Fighting For”, “Honor To Us All”, and “Make A Man Out Of You” go against the equally it teaches and highlights the fact that women are solely used as a driving force of a male?

  2. The movie “Under the Same Moon” highlights the struggles of that illegal immigrants in the United States. But ultimately shows the length of mom and son’s love for each other. Many immigrants make the same journey that Rosario made in the movie but does their life improve by doing this?

  3. Mulan has been viewed as breakthrough when it comes to female representation compare to previous Disney’s film before it. However, the beginning of the film where she is required to put on a make up and show her lady side still in lines with traditional thinking of what makes a women “attractive”. Also even until she defeated the entire army, she still needs the King’s appraisal to be recognized as “the savior of China”. Does these two instances means women ultimately still means men approvals in order to achieve meaning in life?

  4. The film “The Joy Luck Club” reveals the pasts of older women and their daughters and how their lives are shaped by the conflict between Chinese and American cultures as they strive to understand not only each other but their families. In a way, they assimilated into American culture to survive, but in part had to give up some of their Chinese culture. Must an immigrant give a piece of their cultural identity in order to survive in a new country, or can they retain who they are entirely?

  5. In the movie “Mulan”, Mulan makes the critical decision to go to the Chinese army in place of her father, who is physically not capable of going. How does going to the army go against the stereotypes of women that are shown in the movie?

  6. “Whale Rider” was praised for internationally for empowering girls in a indigenous culture dominated by men but does the representation of this sexist ideology undermine the rest of the culture by using it as a platform to support a sociological movement?

  7. “A Silent Voice” (2016) is known for illustrating the issue with bullying using a deaf character, but is it really necessary to use a deaf character to demonstrate a common issue.

  8. “Glory” (1989) is renowned for its interpretation of the 54th Massachusetts, an all black Union company fighting for both the slaves and their own freedom. How does the regiment go against the unequal treatment of blacks and whites whilst fighting both the Confederates and the Union’s treatment?

  9. The film PK is an exhibit full of questions breaking through the ideologies formed in a society regarding religion. Through a comic screen play, the movie engages some of the most serious conversations in the society. It reflects how Godmen manipulate religions to enforce their power and establish the discourse that refrains one from questioning bizzare practices and calling it faith.

    Does the contradiction between religions undermines the distinction between right and wrong? Is it possible to freely question the ideology of a religion when you’re an insider of it?

  10. In the Film Persepolis, the past haunted the present, and it especially affected Marjane as she grew into her adulthood and throughout her life. Though, her life as a woman also reflected to that of the rest of her life as well, so the question I ask is:
    If one’s past has such a heavy influence throughout their present, then where is the same line drawn for one’s present being reflective of that to their past?

  11. “Hidden Figures” shows the accomplishments of colored women who deal with the troubles of segregation and racism because of the law. Why are there limits on someone’s abilities because of laws made by society?

  12. The film PK follows an alien’s journey of finding God. Throughout his journey, PK finds himself confused about which God to send his prayers to, and continues to be stumped when he prayed and had done everything various religious figures instructed him to do, he still could not reach God. This results in a debate between PK and Tapasvi Maharaj where PK concludes that society has created their own version of a God.

    Has religion transformed from being individual faith to being a social construct that became the driving force of an Indian society, which is claimed to be secular?

  13. “Sorry to bother you” is a dystopian, political satire piece, The film follows the journey of a black telemarketer who moves up the corporate ladder by taking using his “white voice” to sell pseudo-slaves to capitalists. This is essentially anti-capitalist, however it doesn’t critique capitalism on economic terms but rather on emotional & psychological terms, It shows how capitalism strips people of their identity & turns them into ‘work horses’ literally. The film shows desperate black men that give up their identity to gain success, it shows corporate personas & customs that are essentially fancy ways of instigating control by covering up obvious power gaps & even worse it shows a general society that couldn’t care less. The main character’s name is “Cassius Green” -” cash is green” & his story begs the question:

    Can we as a society participate in & take advantage of capitalism while being morally righteous & authentic to ourselves?

  14. This movie tells that in ancient China, Hua Mulan was the eldest daughter in the family. Since this was the time of the National War, the army went to catch civilian men everywhere to make them new soldiers and finally found the Mulan family. Inside, Mulan couldn’t bear the old disabled father’s battle in the battlefield, decided to cut off his long hair, stole his father’s armor, and decided to disguise as a man and join the army. In the process of joining the army, Mulan relied on her strong will and passed the hard training from level to level. Her spirit also moved all her comrades in arms. When the war situation was urgent, she was also found the identity of the woman. She was left in the snow, and in the end it was her bravery and warfare that successfully assisted the army to repel the invasion of other countries.

    Mulan’s status of men and women in the film’s ancient Chinese background is different, so how did this unequal status form?

  15. The film “PK” is about an alien who comes accidentally comes to the earth and loses his only device which he used use to communicate the other aliens from his own space. He has face difficulties on the earth however he found love, friendship who walked him through his journey. As PK had no idea about the earth, he always asked questions. The question human would not normally ask. His questions were all innocent. He wanted to reach God. He did not believe in one particular religion however the society wanted him to believe in one.

    Does the religion disciplines the society? Does the religion contradicts with humanity?

  16. In the movie, “The Breadwinner” characters Parvana and Shauzia are girls who dress up like boys in the movie in order to provide for their family during hard times. The main question being asked here is Why are there restrictions on someone’s abilities because of laws made by society and the bias on gender? (How men are the providers in the family and women are the maintainers).

  17. Mulan: is a film of a young Chinese girl marked as a unfix to be a wife. Her father order to go to the army however is unfix. Mulan take her father’s place dressed as a boy. the Ancestors send a small dragon to help get her back. Mulan saves china and bring home honor and a man.

  18. The fim Pk shows the journey of a alien and his discovery of the new planet. His journey consist of him finding the right god. he turned to religious figures to help him find the right one and even after listening he was still confused to see who his ideal god was. society played a roll as different people believe different things resulting in different gods.
    Is religion based on individual beliefs rather than what society practices as a whole to become united?

  19. The movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” focuses around the issues Greeks face when it comes to marriage and our strict “rules”. One of the main characters, Toula Portokalos, a greek woman, ends up falling in love with Ian Miller who isn’t greek in any way, shape, or form. Since Toula is greek it’s frowned upon in the Greek community for her to marry him, and the film makes this clear.
    Many Greek men and women face this issue even today, so in order to marry who they want does a greek need to go against their cultural identity?

  20. Yeh Ballet is a film based on the life of two young males of Mumbai, that despite their traditions, religion and economic status decide to follow their dream of becoming ballet dancers. Does this mean that you must always do what your culture and tradition says you should do or should you just follow your dreams?

  21. Ghost in the Shell is a Japanese Anime that is regarded as Sci-Fi and crime film. It is based on a cybernetic main character who is a woman wondering what truly makes her an individual. She realizes that as her body is owned by the government that she is not really an individual by anything besides her own thoughts and experiences if she were to resign from her job both her brain and many parts of her body would be taken back as property.
    What truly makes us as people individuals?

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