Final research paper Instructions — May 2018

instructions:

British filmmaker and journalist Adam Curtis has been reinventing the ways in which TV documentary films have been made for a long time. In his latest film Hypernormalisation (2016), Curtis tackles the recent oversimplification of world events by politicians and the people they represent. Based on our previous discussion in class about his 2002 The Century of the Self and the role of the music and sounds that populate his long films, your research paper will tackle the music and overall soundtrack in Hypernormalisation. Your paper should formulate a critical analysis of the approach and aesthetic employed by Curtis through his soundtrack and the way it interacts with the archival footage or visuals in the film. Of course, you will have to watch the entirety of the film.
Some helpful questions that will allow you to start developing your thesis: Is the selection of music composed of previously released music as in his older films or has he commissioned new pieces in the film? If so, who are the musicians and how are they relevant to the documentary’s content? What makes Curtis’s musical selection or use of music so distinctive from the more normative documentaries on television and in what ways can we call it “experimental”?
– You may choose to talk about one or two aspects within the film that address the soundtrack and the way it informs us (or not) on the visual content. You may also compare those aspects with the film you have seen before.
– Your final research paper should clearly outline your own argument and ideas about the documentary film while using serious sources and thorough research to support your arguments.
– The paper should be a minimum of 1200 words and a maximum of 1500 words and have space between lines, and a font size of 12.
– You should have at least 4 sources
– Include a bibliography.
– Remember to quote when using words that are not your own. Referencing them is a
must. Plagiarism will cause you to fail the course.
Final research paper Instructions — May 2018
Critical analysis
British filmmaker and journalist Adam Curtis has been reinventing the ways in which TV
documentary films have been made for a long time. In his latest film Hypernormalisation (2016),
Curtis tackles the recent oversimplification of world events by politicians and the people they
represent. Based on our previous discussion in class about his 2002 The Century of the Self
and the role of the music and sounds that populate his long films, your research paper will
tackle the music and overall soundtrack in Hypernormalisation. Your paper should formulate a
critical analysis of the approach and aesthetic employed by Curtis through his soundtrack and
the way it interacts with the archival footage or visuals in the film. Of course, you will have to
watch the entirety of the film.
Some helpful questions that will allow you to start developing your thesis: Is the selection of
music composed of previously released music as in his older films or has he commissioned new
pieces in the film? If so, who are the musicians and how are they relevant to the documentary’s
content? What makes Curtis’s musical selection or use of music so distinctive from the more
normative documentaries on television and in what ways can we call it “experimental”?
– You may choose to talk about one or two aspects within the film that address the soundtrack
and the way it informs us (or not) on the visual content. You may also compare those aspects
with the film you have seen before.
– Your final research paper should clearly outline your own argument and ideas about the
documentary film while using serious sources and thorough research to support your
arguments.
– The paper should be a minimum of 1200 words and a maximum of 1500 words and have
space between lines, and a font size of 12.
– You should have at least 4 sources
– Include a bibliography.
– Remember to quote when using words that are not your own. Referencing them is a
must. Plagiarism will cause you to fail the course.
DEADLINE IS MONDAY, MAY 28, AT 5 PM
General tips for the essay:
Start with a TITLE, your title for the essay
Find a main topic [set up AFTER analyzing the material you have gathered] to unify you essay
and introduce it first, then in the body text develop the arguments that SUPPORT your thesis
describing and analyzing the elements in the SELECTED scenes.
(1) Introduction: Write a short introduction, which includes a summary of the topic you will
discuss in the essay (your thesis). It should be no more than a few sentences.
(2) Summary of the film: Identify the elements in the documentary to support your arguments.
Use clear and simple sentences to express your ideas. Your thesis is a reformulation of the
topic; you might need to narrow it. Use the thesis to unify your essay.
Be careful to summarize what the author has presented, from the authorÕs perspective. You
will have the opportunity to critique the articles and offer your own opinions in the next section,
Analysis.
(3) Analysis: This section is where you develop your own thesis and argument about the topic.
Analysis is much more than a simple declaration of whether you “liked” the film or not, so avoid
this common mistake. In the analysis section, you present your analysis of the book, including
an argument and evidence in support of YOUR thesis. See the section on Writing Your Essay
below for more information on how to determine your thesis. Basically, your analysis examines
the assumptions or presuppositions of the sources’ argument; evaluates its validity, strengths
and weaknesses; and makes clear your position in relation to the authors.
You have the power to agree, disagree, or tackle what the author says just as you would in a
conversation with friends. The most important thing to remember for this assignment is this:
your argument about the documentary will be the most important and interesting part of your
paper.
(4) Conclusion: This should simply reiterate your main points and conclusions. It should be no
more than a few sentences long. The conclusion is NOT the place to introduce new information,
facts, perspectives, sources, etc. — if you think of things now, insert them in the proper place
above. This closing statement should not be a broad generalization or sweeping statement, but
a precise summary of your main thesis and argument.
Grading:
Your thesis: the main topic that unifies your essay
Your description and analysis of the material
The structure and the transition; the logical flow from one topic to the other
The development of each point/topic and its content including the description and analysis of the
artworks
The identification of the elements of the artworks and how they support/explain your thesis]
The themes, concepts and theories raised in relation to the works
The information and sources
The format
Avoid:
-Assuming that what you read is a taboo and is ‘true’, discuss its relevance and research other
sources that might contradict, conflict, and/or support your claim.
– General statements such as ‘the artists is the greatest of all’, ‘interpreting art depends on the
viewer’, the artwork is fantastic’, etc.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q: How can I figure out what my thesis is?
Having done your reading, you may have a thesis in mind from the start. In this case, write your
thesis first, and then proceed to build your paper around it. Sometimes your thesis will not be
completely clear to you until you have spent some time writing and thinking your way along
through your first draft. Then, summarizing your own paper can help you find your thesis. By
looking over your rough draft, you can see what general point seems to underlie what you are
writing. You may find more than one, or see that the point you were trying to make doesn’t hold
up. In this case you need to remove some parts of your essay or think about a better way to
focus your paper. In a way all writing is summarizing, deciding what to include or exclude. Part
of this decision depends on your purpose, your audience, and how much space you have. Your
thesis is, in a sense, the most boiled down summary of your paper that is possible, and will
usually be one sentence (but no longer than a paragraph) in length.
Q: What is meant by “argument” in writing?
An argument consists of facts or statements put forth as evidence–a reason to accept the
writer’s thesis. All papers must have an argument, but this does not mean that you are
necessarily attacking the work of others; rather you are presenting a flowing, logical stream of
information to back up your thesis. An argument is a course of reasoning aimed at
demonstrating truth or falsehood. It is the connections drawn between the bits of evidence that
demonstrate your thesis. Connections are many, and the one you are interested in may not be
obvious. A successful argument identifies relevant bits of evidence and those elements that are
indicative, and connects these with each other for your reader. Just as math professors ask you
to show your work, in writing you need to show your reader the course of your thinking that led
you to your conclusions. DonÕt assume that your audience is thinking the same way you are;
you have to lead them by the hand without being patronizing.

 

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