ISS210 Section 37
Extra Credit: Film Analysis
This extra credit can add up to 6% to your overall course grade. It must conform to standard academic writing and formatting. You must include the citation for the film at the beginning of your submission.
Watch a documentary film from the list provided.
Identify the social problem. There are two ways a film engages with a social problem. One way to identify a social problem is direct. The film we watched in class, 13th, directly engages with the social problem of mass incarceration. A second way a social problem is identified in indirect. Documentaries about social movements use the social movement to illustrate the social problem.
Identify the thesis of the film. Procedure to find the thesis: What is the message the filmmaker is providing? What animates the film? How does the film want the audience to understand the social problem being addressed? The thesis of the film we watched in class, 13th, is that mass incarceration is the most recent mechanism of social control in the history of control over black people.
Identify the significance and purpose of the film. To do this, think about makes the social problem a problem that you should care about and why the film was made. What can we do with this information?
Outline and analyze the content of the film. Here you want to identify important elements of the film. If there is a story you want to relate, be sure to analyze it and explain why you thought that was important.
Make course connections. Choose a single concept from the course to integrate into your outline and analysis of the film. Be sure to illustrate several ways in which the concept is given meaning through the narratives in the film. For example, the film 13th might use the concept of the state and analyze how the state manages labor through racism; the same film could be analyzed in terms of the ways racism is maintained historically through formal legal mechanisms that target a particular class-status of people; yet another analysis of the same film might analyze how capitalism operates to maintain social structures that oppress black people. These are three different ways one could analyze the film 13th. In other words, there is not one correct way to analyze a film. This is about illustrating critical thinking and the integration of the course content into your thinking. The bonus is that it will also help you think through the course materials so that you can be more effective on your final reflexive analysis for ISS210 Section 37.
Submit on D2L. This will include a turnitin screening for plagiarism. Do not need to hand in a paper copy. Do not email me your paper.
*Avoid using phrases such as “I believe” or “I think” or “I feel” because as the author it is fluff that detracts from the quality of your writing. Beliefs are for religion, we know it is what you think as the author, and feelings are emotional, not academic.
This is an academic institution and you want to write a professional essay. Imagine your audience is readers of the New York Times. Do not think of yourself as a journalist; think of yourself as a scholar.
Plagiarism and academic dishonesty of any sort will result in a failing grade for the course as a whole.
Documentary Film List
Black Power Mixtapes
When the Levees Broke
Harlan County USA
Belo Monte: An Announcement of War (2012)
Daughter of the Lake
To Die Sowing Life
Granito: How to Nail a Dictator
When the Mountains Tremble
Monsenor: The Last Journey
Films can be found on Netflix, Amazon Prime, filmsforaction (free), lib.msu.edu has both physical and/or online versions, or films might be rentable at various online locations.
Due: Wednesday December 5, 2018 by 10pm.
*No late submissions will be accepted.*