Wednesday, November 30, 2005

11/30 Mini-research project

In today's class, you will be working in groups, to do some mini-research projects on our new topic: gender & equality. I am going to throw a lot of information at you, you will get to do some research.
First, you might need to do some brushing up on the terms we will be discussing. I would suggest a trip to "Wikipedia" my favorite online encyclopedia.
A couple of starter pages to look at, to familiarize yourself with.
"Gender Studies" a fairly short and bland read on a very general topic.
One more. In this reading on Feminism, you will be introduced to early feminist theory and the name Mary Wollstonecraft who
"... is one of the few writer[s] before the 19th century that can be called [a] feminist. By modern standards, her metaphor of women as nobility, the elite of society, coddled, fragile and in danger of intellectual and moral sloth, does not sound like a feminist argument. Wollstonecraft believed that both sexes contributed to this situation and took it for granted that women had considerable power over men."
Lots to see, plenty of potential topics of discussion in the above idea alone.
Another interesting section is the "feminism in many forms" and it might be fun to browse the "major sub-types of feminism" as well. Take a look.

Neither of these is the final word on the subject, you can and I suggest that you should do your own further research on either or both of these fields. There are links at the bottom of these pages to help you along.
You will have about 10-15minutes to familiarize yourself with this information. Talk with your classmates, discuss what you read/skimmed and then we will move on. You will probably need to do some further reading on your own.

icon_arrow.gif at the end of the 15minutes, we will briefly discuss as a class.

icon_arrow.gif Second, a general overview of the topic and it's relation to film. The site is called "media matters." This is a non-profit Canadian group that creates a lot of media awareness and educational materials. The information we will look at is fairly basic, but again, it is meant only to give you a general background in the subject, or to remind you of what you already know. The idea is for you to do your own research and learn more on the subject on your own.

"stereotyping in the movies" is actually a site for parents to teach their kids about these issues. I am sure there are similar sites here in Japan and if you know of any, I would love to learn about them. It is basic, but informative, as are the exercises.
"Media Stereotyping" Is a good starting point for researching about specific groups and their portrayal on TV and in film.

You might also look at this: "A panel on strong women characters in SF" which is a transcript of four authors discussing this specific topic in a written, online chat format. It is very conversational and informative and since the panel are writers and scientists, it makes an intersting read. Take a look and feel free to discuss what you are reading with your partner.

icon_arrow.gif You will have about 30minutes to look over these three sites. I don't expect you to get through all of it, but I expect you will have made some significant progress. You will want to finish reading them on your own later. We will again, briefly discuss as a class, (asking questions is good).

icon_arrow.gif Finally before we leave today, I want you to decide which reading your will be working on for next week. post your group and your topic to the this topic along with any questions you have. The readings below will lead to a blogger assignment due by next Wednesday. Here, you will work in groups and focus on one of these read it, and do further reasearch. If your group decides it does not wish to work on the topic chosen in class, present other options and I will be willing to change your group's focus. Below are some possible directions for your assignment. These assignments all require group work and further research.

Your job is to break into 5 groups of 5 and working together, create a forum topic by next week about the information you researched, and the new information you found.
Your goal is to present the information your group has found to the class. you will have time to share information on Monday in class (after we have discussed Friday's film). Presentations will be given on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. The group will create a topic on the forum and each student will need to post some information that helps the rest of the students understand your groups' specific topic. The presenations are short, but I expect everyone to participate. Non-participants, (no speaking, abasent, or little added information) will get to present what they have learned from this assignment in written form. This will entail a 3page writing assignment, or receiving a zero on this (one of two) presentation assignments -- a very very bad thing for your grades.

Below are some possible places to start your group's research, mostly done on your own, outside of class, and discussed on this blog ( details in class). Again, you do not need to focus on these specific topics, but they are a good starting point.

Possible starting points for Gender. You do not need to use any of these, however, they would be good places to begin.
"Feminist Utopia" is a good place to start for a group(s) thinking of doing a detailed report on some of the different forms of Feminism. Notice that there are many forms of Feminism and there is no possible way a group could do justice to this topic in 15minutes. Your group will want to focus on one (or maybe two similar/contrasting) form(s) of feminisim. Your group members will want to research and focus your research....

Some further articles and readings.
"These chicks kick butt" for a short glance at some strong female characters and
"Construction of a female heroine" for a longer, more in-depth look.
"Gender through the eyes of Disney"

"Fluffy Feminism" The new '21st Century' form of feminism is discussed. It will probably sound very appealing to some. Like the text above, this article should be summarized and developed by the group. They will want to learn more about the different types of feminism that are mentioned in the article, and might mention those as well in their research. You might want to look at "theories defined" which will give you some other sub-categories of feminism to compare with. Also the site at Wikipedia also has a bunch of definition links under the "sub-types" heading.

"Space babe Leia flaunts a rare feminist flair" an article about a middle of the road female character, one with some very strong and atypical characteristics for females and some more common traits too. It is a good read. Here is one article on a popular feminist character. Your groups job will be to read this, summarize the points and then find more information to support the topic online. You want to do more than just summarize the text though, if would be nice if you could expand upon it and show us similar or contradictory images and examples to help us better understand this text. I have some thoughts on further research, if you are interested, ask. As for now, you might want to check out these two link as well to learn more about tough leading women characters. Still, some would object that they are still being objectified. Is this an accurate claim?

Starting points for a presentation exploring race & ethnicity.
"Asian Stereotypes" a website devoted to the portrayal of Asians in film and on TV. The Asian-Americans are a large and influential group in America with a voice. They have often protested stereotypes directed at other asians, here is a brief look at the issue. You might do further research later, using some of their keywords in a search engine. You might look for infromation about this group and how they fight against racial stereotypes in the states. you might also wish to browse the Anti Defamation League's website for more information, or maybe even focus your research on women and men stereotypes in Japanese media (you could look at stereotypes about foreigners or, maybe more interestingly, about stereotypes about Japanese men and women and the way their roles are portrayed in the media).

"Race & Ethnicity" is a website from Washington State University with lots of articles and links to other bits of information. This is a large site that contains a lot of information. It will take some research to use effectively, but it is a gold mine (very valuable) to a group focused on this topic.

"Disney's Portrayal of Culture & Race" Builds on the information given on the Media Matters website (from the second section today). Its a bit light, with not a lot of academic weight, but it could be a good article to get a group focused on a more specific direction.

So there you have it; a rather large assignment and an agenda for the class over the week. I realize there is a lot of information here. Please ask questions if you are confused.
Have a good one, folks.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Stepford v. Alien

Okay, which will it be? Your assignment here is to state clearly your preference. You will get credit for this assignment by indicating your choice and your reasoning behind your selection. You can choose either film; The Stepford Wives (1975) or Alien (1979) or choose not to participate in the decision -- any three of these decsions will be fine, as long as you explain why you feel this way. I will count votes before I go to bed Sunday night, around midnight (12:00), so let's make the posting time prior to midnight Sunday.

Good luck!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


First a vote backed up with your reasons why.
Sleeper or 12 Monkeys

Which one do you want to watch on Friday? Why? I will give you about 15minutes to discuss, research, and write up your answer before we move on to our current class assignment. Before you vote, you might want to check the imdb write-up on both, or the script (all linked above) for 12monkeys. Here are some other facts about the films.
Sleeper (1973) Director Woody Allen. Performers Allen, Woody; Keaton, Diane. Length 89minutes.
12 Monkeys (1995) Director Terry Gilliam. Performers Willis, Bruce; Pitt, Brad; Stowe Madeline. Length 129minutes.

Both are good, but for very different reasons. You will notice that 12 Monkeys is considerably longer than our class. If this is the film we choose, I will run it through to the end on Friday (finish around 4:40pm) and would be willing to re-screen it (show it again) on Saturday. I will reserve a room, hopefully our regular classroom to allow us to watch it again. We would need to set a time to do this on Saturday. I am willing to show Sleeper again on Saturday as well. Again, we need to establish 1) if people want to do this and 2) if so, what time.

In class today, we will work on developing our ideas for this next paper (paper 3). Most of you are ready to start developing your ideas about Gattaca if that is the film you want to write about. If it isn't, you are welcome to write about Soylent Green or either off the two films we might watch on Friday. If you choose one of these two films, you will need to be responsible for watching it and developing your thoughts on it. You can bounce them off me, but it will require more work on your part. Easier to continue developing your thougths on Gattaca. If you are going to conitnue with the Gattaca writing, here is the process and the steps for today.
  1. Read my comments on your theme and summary.
  2. Develop your ideas through discussion, research, and outlining your developed idea (you should have time to do some of all three things in class).
If you are planning on writing on one of the other films, you should plan to follow the same process but add the step of talking with me first. Let me know if you aren't planning on discussing Gattaca in your paper. This is fine, but I want to know.

So today is a chance to work on your ideas and doing this means being responsible and focused on task. If your are lost, or if at any time in class, you can ask me for advice, or bouce ideas off of me. You will have to manage your time, discuss your ideas with a friend (or in a small group) is a greatway to clarify your idea and share thoughts. If you feel you work better on your own, you can use the time to research, or if you feel you are ready to start outlining your paper, work on that. I will expect you to have some sort of outline ready for class Monday. And I am planning on working on your drafts in class next Wednesday, so bring what you have written by then to class as a hard copy and on disk too!

Ok I think that is it. Use your time wisely! Ask questions, discuss, think, write, work on this paper!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

11/09 Gattaca & Ch6

Today's class is going to be a mix of different things. Lot's to acomplish, not a lot of time to do it. I love the vacation time, but it does require us to be more focused, sorry.

We will start by finishing Gattaca. At the end of class, I will ask you to post questions/comments about the film we watched. Please finish this post before the end of the week (by Saturday would be good).

We will have a few minutes between the end of the film to discuss chapter6. Chapter6 is good stuff for any researched writing assignments you will have. As it is applicable to all your current and future writing work, and thus very valuable to you, I will not be assessing your understanding of it. Still, if you have questions about the content I do suggest you ask.

After about 10minutes to discuss the book, we will begin our lecture.

After the lecture, there should be some time for questions, then I will hand out the Unit3 (future-time) writing assignment. This is in addition to the writing assignment due next Tuesday on Gattaca (the Tuesday assignment is discussed on the Gattaca running sheet I gave you before we watched the film. I hope that isn't too confusing.

Ok, that's the plan. Let's get to work!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

11/03 Next week's film

Hello. Next Tuesday, we will watch another film set in 'the near future.' Just as we saw (and you were able to effectively name in our previous two classes) these SF films often give us a better understanding of some of the issues of concern to people at the time of the creation. If you have the time and the desire, I invite you to help decide which film we will watch. I have narrowed the film choice down to two films:
  • Gattaca (1997)
  • Logan's Run (1973)
If you are interested in helping decide on a film, I would suggest you find out a little bit about both these movies and then post a comment on the blog that explains why you would prefer to watch one over the other. Again, that's a post on your choice and your reasoining for choosing one over the other. I am curious to know your thought process on choosing a film and also by explaining your choice, you might be able to convince others to select your film as well. (You should read other students' comments before you vote -- assuming others have made comments....). See you Tuesday!

wed 11/02

Today's class is a writing workshop, focused on writing more than workshopping. I am willing to discuss and help people with any part of their paper that they need, but i think more than anything, you just need to work on the paper. So here is the plan.
  • First, i will ask you to do a short writing (10-15minutes) about Soylent Green describe (two or more) of the additional themes you see in this film. Please do not list the ones we talked about in class (Rich v. Poor, Power & Corruption, Women as Objects) that we discussed in class -- these are great themes, but I want to see what else you noticed. After listing a couple more themes and how/where you saw them, I'd like you to decide which one you think you would write about , if you had to write a paper on this film and why. Whole writing assignment no more than 15minutes.
  • Next, I want you to open your draft, and if you have the hard copy I made comments on, get that out too. Decide what you need to work on today in class. What do you need to do to make your paper better? Once you have decided on a focus, work on that. If you need help from me, if you want me to explain or give advice, ask. I do offer this link to OWL... which has good information on all aspects of paper writing. Take about a half hour to work on one askpect of your paper.
  • At about 3:15, I want you to take a break from working on the paper and take a look at look at a classmate's work. Exchange papers, do a bit of peer editing. The idea is that your writing will be made a lot better if you have another set of eyes looking at it. When editing, focus on content and ideas, not grammar. If you focus on one person's paper, you should be able to give it a through go over in about 15 minutes. Discuss your comments, then, if there is time, make corrections. Remember, you can turn in your paper today or next Tuesday.
  • Reemember to save a copy of your work today. Save and then send it back to yourself, or save to your Z drive, or your disk, whatever, just make sure you don't lose the work you do today in class.
That is all. Good luck and please I am here to help, if you need anything, just ask.