How Reality is Reshaped in Making a Murderer and The Thin Blue Line

Step 1: Choose 1 Topic from the last 5 weeks of class.

class slide

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Cultural Memory and Identity


Identity Construction and Viewing Positions

The Traumatized Self: The Politics of Witnessing

Testimonial Documentary Film (or TV Series): The True Self

Step 2: Choose a Case Study from the Media, encompassing 2 Media Texts to Compare. You will organize the Term Paper as a Compare and Contrast Paper.


Paragraph – Text 1

Paragraph – Text 2

Paragraph – Text 1

Paragraph – Text 2



The Case Study can come from any medium: the Popular Press, Magazines, Editorials, Podcast Documentaries such a “Serial,” Famous Photographs from History, Videogames and Digital Culture, Feature or Documentary films, Famous Rhetoric or Political speeches, News Reports on significant events (Moon Landing, OJ Simpson Trial), Notable TV series (worthy of analysis), A Controversial Media Moment (Superbowl halftime shows, Fyre Festival, YouTube Stars who caused controversy like Logan and PewDie Pie), Fine Art or Museum exhibition that caused debate or reflection (the Royal Ontario Museum’s racist 1989 Exhibition). Etc etc etc. Advertisements are discouraged. Email if you feel strongly about selecting ads to get permission.

Ask: How do these 2 Texts depict the Politics of Identity such as representing class a certain way, gender, race, memories of certain people (good or evil) and certain events in history?

Consider how we look at various Media each week: Magazine features, a Movie clip, Historical Photographs or War Memorials. You are permitted to compare 2 different Media Forms, or the same one. For example, you could compare the film World Trade Centre (2006) with the Memorial built at that site now: how do they each create meaning and reflection?

For example, Roland Barthes uses the Case Study of the Saluting Soldier photo from Paris Match Magazine. He suggests that this image is France’s representation of itself as a “good colonial” country that justified its invasion of Algeria. You may do the same with your own example (you can look at 4-6 Historical Photos, but don’t take on more than 2 games, 2 films, or 2 literary works without emailing the prof. It could be too much work!).

Develop a Thesis by thinking about your Case Study in conjunction with your Topic. For example The Lego Movie (2014) does not suit the topic of Cultural Memory, but The Ted Bundy Tapes (2019) or Leaving Neverland (2019) are very suitable. What does your item from media and culture say about your topic?

Thesis statements often take some work to develop.

Begin your Research here:

Type in Titles and Keywords, and view them in terms of Relevance (change the settings).

Example Titles:

“Testimonial Documentary: How Reality is Reshaped in Making a Murderer and The Thin Blue Line”

“The Traumatized Self: Jamie Lee Curtis’s Final Girl Persona in Halloween (1978) and Halloween (2018)”

“Genders: The MeToo Movement’s Revaluation of Kevin Spacey versus Bill Cosby”

“Cultural Memory and Identity: Comparing Nostalgia for the Obamas with Nostalgia for the Kennedy Years.”

Step 3: Write an organized essay of 1850+ words.

Make Introductions brief – end them with your Thesis Statement and Describe your Case Study somewhere in the Introduction.

Include screen shots or Images if possible/relevant for your Media Examples. Put these after the Essay in an Appendix as “Figure 1” and so on.

Reference at least 2 authors assigned in the course.

Reference at least 3 outside academic sources.

Utilize a recognized documentation style (e.g.,

Avoid long block quotes.

No Title Page please.

Integrate ALL “quotations” (quotations cannot stand alone in your essay).

Take this opportunity to explore a topic that interests you.

Sample Solution

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