Write a 4-5 page essay in which you analyze a cultural text (a film, memoir, novel, set of images, etc.) or social practice associated with the United States during the Civil Rights Movement. You may take ONE of the following approaches:
Perform an ideological analysis of a film, photograph, television report, documentary, journalistic account, recording, or other cultural representation of the Civil Rights movement. What does the text suggest about America in the 1920s through the 1950s? How does the text construct a particular form of collective memory about equal rights? That is, how does it work to make a certain view of civil rights seem “incorrect”? What features of the fear of equality are foregrounded, which ones are rendered invisible, and what is the effect of these choices? Your response should use class readings or other reliable secondary sources to develop/support the argument.
Analyze how the Civil Rights movement and the struggle for equality continues to resonate in contemporary American culture and politics (for example, the recent Presidential elections). Choose one or, at most, two examples of contemporary culture that illustrate the on-going renegotiation of the meaning of the equality; explain how and why attitudes shifted during this era. Your response should use class readings or other reliable secondary sources to develop/support the argument.
Consider a text or practice that constitutes a form of cultural politics. How does the text or practice illustrate the tensions inherent in this style of resistance? That is, how successful is the text or practice as an act of resistance to established forms of power in minorities in the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s? What made this change happen in a multiple generations? Your response should use class readings or other reliable secondary sources to develop/support the argument.
Whatever approach students choose, all papers must contain (or demonstrate) the following:
A clear argument (thesis), backed up with substantial textual evidence (e.g., quotes and descriiptions) and thoughtful reasoningMinimal plot summary of texts (I want argument and analysis, not mere descriiption).References to at least three different course texts or outside source materials. Outside sources must be from a reliable scholarly journal or book on the subject of Vietnam. Use internet sources sparingly, and, if you use them, double check them against alternate sites or sources for accuracy. Internet sources will not count toward your total of three references.A strong conclusion that makes clear the significance of your analysis (i.e., what it helps the reader understand about the history or legacy of Vietnam)All sources, including primary sources (i.e. the films or novels you are analyzing), course texts, and outside sources should be cited in proper MLA style (only!). For help with MLA style, see the MLA handout in the Writing Tips folder of the D2L, or visit one of the online links to MLA advice provided there. You do NOT need to cite material taken from lecture, but do NOT quote it verbatim (word-for-word) either.
Formatting Guidelines
Papers must be typed, double-spaced with twelve point font and 1” margins all around. On the right hand corner of the first page, single-spaced, you need to provide the following information: Name, course title, date. One space below, centered, you need to provide the title of the essay. It can be whimsical, clever, or serious; what it cannot be, however, is “Essay #2” or “An Analysis of [name of theme].”


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