Indiana State University Introduction to Film Studies Paper

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For invited tutor only. Please write the final paper based on the abstract you just wrote for me. The good neighbor policy topic and your choice of films are good. And here is just some requirements I copied and pasted from the teacher

In a well-crafted paper of ten to twelve pages, explore and attempt to resolve a significant research question in World War II-era Hollywood film history, one that clearly relates to a topic or cluster of topics discussed in our seminar. The paper must have a clear, contestable thesis and a rhetorical structure (paragraph order, topic sentences, properly framed quotations, etc.) that reflects this thesis.

Designing a Topic: The process of arriving at your central research question (your “guiding question”) will require several steps: choosing a broad topic, then narrowing or focusing this topic to a manageable scope, and, from there, to articulating the question (or series of interrelated questions) that allow you to best illuminate your topic for your reader. The question should have some general conceptual and historical interest but needs to be analytical in its/their structure: you need something that is answerable in the context of a discussion of primary sources, filmic and/or nonfilmic (e.g., texts gathered from significant archives).

To help start this process, I recommend that you consult the model laid out by Booth, Colomb, and Williams in Chapter 3 of The Craft of Research (3rd ed.). See sections 3.2-3.4 (pp. 39-48) in the e-book edition of this text, which I have linked to our main Carmen page, under “Research Resources.” We will also be spending a considerable amount of class time talking about the research process—gathering and assessing primary sources, developing topics, and asking research questions—this semester, and the skills you’ll be practicing in the “research dossier” assignment are central to this project.

*I expect to meet with you individually at least once to discuss your plans for the essay—and very much look forward to these conversations. Use me as a sounding board for developing topics and questions; try to do so relatively early in your process, so that your ideas have sufficient time to grow and develop.

Primary Sources: Although film analysis can (and, in many cases, should) be a component of this paper, the paper needs to substantially engage with a set of nonfilmic (textual) primary sources, whether those are trade magazine reviews, pressbook advertisements, newspaper articles, Production Code files, or screenplay drafts that you have located through archival research. (A “primary source” is a source created in the historical period you are researching. So, for example, a review of Casablanca that appeared in Motion Picture Herald in 1942 would be a primary source, whereas an academic journal article about gender roles in Casablanca and other early 40s Warner Bros. films that was published in 2007 would be a secondary source.) For this assignment, your topic and guiding question need to be prompted at least in part by your nonfilmic primary source research.

Any films covered in this essay need to be from the World War II era. If you are aware of and interested in writing about a significant World War II-era American film not included on the syllabus, let me know; we can discuss whether or not it’s appropriate for the assignment. Likewise, in some cases, I may have an additional title to suggest: a film that is very closely related (thematically, in terms of genre, by virtue of having the same director, etc.) to something you have seen and might be interested in writing about. I’ll also be happy to help you locate video copies of any of these films.

Secondary Sources: This is a research project, so one of your main goals will be to “situate” the primary source material in very specific ways—bringing in important film-historical contexts and other framing issues from American cultural history more broadly, entering into the “critical conversation” about the film, and so on. To do this, you will need to locate pertinent secondary sources, using the OSU Library Catalogue and pertinent research databases linked to it. I recommend the MLA International Bibliography and the Film & Television Literature Index. You’ll need to use these sources to shape your argument in the essay. These secondary sources (in most cases) will be things like: journal articles (from film studies journals like Cinema Journal, Quarterly Review of Film & Video, or Film History; or from interdisciplinary cultural studies journals like American Quarterly) that offer critical analyses of films; portions of books on broader issues in cultural history; book chapters on the work of a specific director, on our period of American film history, or on a specific film genre; or pieces of film theory.

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