FTVE 210-9349: AMERICAN ETHNIC CULTURES
Fall Semester 2019
Description: A five-page analysis of at least one US movie that deals with an ethnic issue.
Required: Compare two films. One of the films doesn’t have to fit the above description (it can be non-US, for example). The essay must contain a focused, debatable thesis that you defend with evidence from the film(s). You can compare 2 films by the same director, 2 films featuring the same actor, 2 films from different cultures, 2 films treating a similar issue, 2 films from the same culture, 2 films in the same genre, 2 films telling a similar story or containing the same character, 2 films that use one device in different or similar ways, etc. You don’t need to get my approval for films, as long as they fit the above descriptions. Always keep the main ethnic message or intended effect of the film(s) in mind while writing; always keep your thesis in the forefront of your reader’s mind. Include at least one paragraph that connects your thesis to the filmmaker’s overall intent for the film. You do not have to mention any outside sources on the film, but if you use one you should properly cite it with a consistent citation style like MLA or APA.
Typed, stapled, double-spaced, 12-point font, proofread word by word (not just spellchecked)
Identify the film/year in the first paragraph of the essay; italicize title throughout (no “quotation marks” or underlining), describe action in the present tense (not past), use characters’ and not actors’ names.
Five points off automatically if you don’t follow these directions.
Attach Essay Checklist to the back of your essay, with all items checked off to show you did them right.
Avoid plot summary—provide a description only to advance your thesis. Keep a copy for yourself. Email me if you’re having problems (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you want feedback, email me a proposed thesis or first paragraph (not an entire rough draft) no later than 48 hours before the due date. Failure to use quotation marks and cite the original author’s name, or other symptoms of plagiarism when using others’ words, will result in an immediate F in the course.
Films to write about: Look at Interracial Film List in Canvas Files for ideas. This is a list I’m porting from CSUEB, so disregard instructions at top of list.
Optional ideas for the essay: For all of the below, the comparison/analysis must produce a specifically focused thesis that you support throughout.
The Role of Cars in Quinceañera, Edge of America, Mississippi Masala – The Magical Negro
The Role of the Elder in Ethnic Teen Films – The Mexican spitfire stereotype
The alcoholic parent in American ethnic films – Arab terrorist stereotype
Compare the heroine’s journey in songs from Pocahontas and Moana – The Ideal Ethnic Home
How an interracial romance catalyzes the message of Mississippi Masala
Foreign Exchange Students in American Teen Films – Image of the high school in films about ethnic teens
The Asian Avenger Figure – Images of Russian criminals in film – images of the Arabic interpreter
The American Neorealist Ethnic Film: Killer of Sheep, Exiles, Precious, Fruitvale Station, Moonlight
Slow Motion in the American Ethnic Documentary, fiction film – ethnicity in prison films
Image of the South Asian techie in film or TV – Ethnic characters on drugs
Images of Irish Catholics in films – Images of Italian-Americans – Images of Scandinavian-Americans
The Chinese Dragon Lady Stereotype – the Chinese landlady – the Asian American TV anchor
The Interracial Buddy Action Film – its ideology / how it’s changed over time
The Asian Adoptee in American Films – The mail-order bride – the Asian/Persian entrepreneur
Montage Sequences from Better Luck Tomorrow, A Better Life, Mississippi Masala
The Racial Vigilante in Hollywood – Death Wish, Dirty Harry, Falling Down