The critical analysis essay is your opportunity to apply class materials (and beyond) to your own cultural analysis. It is a research essay, meaning you must use the course material as a jumping-off point, but you are also required to include other academic materials. It is not an opinion piece – it is a research essay, meaning that you will find an important cultural figure in the public eye and then use academic sources to perform a critical analysis of how cultural themes around gender can be applied and can enlighten our understanding of the world around us. Your essay must introduce the person and make a case for their cultural significance (an included photo always helps, but will not count towards your page count!), and then you will clearly state a thesis and build an argument based on their cultural significance using themes from the course. How people make sense of an interpret and react to a cultural icon tells us a lot about society, rather than the individual. Does their identify confirm common-sense understandings of gender? Does it push against boundaries? What are the boundaries that they conform to or resist against, and why do these boundaries exist in the first in place? What systems of oppression are upheld through how we culturally interpret this person or conversely, how does this person challenge sources of oppression? The analysis must focus on gender, but you are encouraged to take an intersectional approach and explore how race, sexuality, class, or ability intersect with gender and what that tells us about broader cultural themes. It should include materials that we cover in class, but you are also required to include at least 6 additional academic sources of material we do not cover in class.
YOU MAY NOT USE ANY CULTURAL FIGURE THAT IS COVERED IN OUR COURSE TEXTBOOK.
Reading Synthesis and Critical Analysis essay MUST BE ON DIFFERENT TOPICS and substantively different.
The essay should be 2,000 words in length, double-spaced, with 1” margins, and a 12 point font. All pages should be numbered and include your name and student number in the header. Academic citation and bibliography are required and must be in ASA or APA formatting style.