VCC390H5F: Topics in Visual Culture

| October 20, 2016

Department of Visual Studies
VCC390H5F: Topics in Visual Culture
Celebrity and Promotional Culture
Essay Proposal (15% of Final Mark)

 The 5% per day deduction for late assignments begins at the end of class.
 You do not need to submit to turnitin or with an Academic Integrity Checklist.
Essay Guidelines:
Two to Three (2-3) double-spaced pages, 12-point font. You may go over the
page limit by 10 lines.
Ten (10) academic sources not assigned in course materials that you will use in
your Final Essay.
Step One:
Select one (1) theme that you will use as a frame for your Final Essay:
1. Using a film or television series as a case study, explore the concepts of
“meritocracy” and “democracy” as it relates to 1) the film’s production company
and/or the television network; 2) the film and/or show’s content (i.e. its actors
and story arc); 3) the film and/or television series’ media promotion.
2. Do a comparative analysis of an aspect(s) of celebrity and promotional culture
explored in VCC390 and a non-Western context (NOT Canada, U.S. or Britain);
3. Examine the role of celebrity endorsements as it relates to consumer brands,
such as Budweiser or Apple.
4. Using a social media platform as your primary media text (i.e. Facebook,
Twitter, Instagram, etc.) examine the concept of “democratainment” and
celebrity, considering the larger question of hierarchy – how does one move
from an “ordinary” person to a “media” person via social media.
5. Do a comparative analysis of two reality TV genres; i.e. game show v. lifestyle
show and the role of celebrity and the “demotic” turn;
6. Pick a political leader and/or election campaign (of the last 10 years). Explore
the “celebrification” of politics, and the promotional techniques used to cultivate
a political leader’s public persona, i.e. Justin Trudeau or the U.S. Election 2016.
7. Do a comparative analysis of the concepts of “infotainment,” “individual
customization” and “interactivity” as it relates to daytime talk shows (“soft”
news), or television journalism (“hard” news).
8. Choose your own theme as it relates to celebrity and promotional culture, and
the role of media.
Step Two:
 In 2-3 pages outline your approach to your chosen theme as it relates to the
theories of celebrity and promotional culture outlined in the course.
 You should provide a brief overview of your approach to the theme, what your
research questions will be, and provide a thesis statement.
 Your essay is expected to be argumentative in nature; you should not aim to
“prove” the rightness or wrongness of your chosen theme. Instead, explore the
relationship between celebrity, promotional culture, and the media.
 Your Essay Proposal (similar to your Final Essay) can cover any historical
period explored in this course (i.e. 19 th, 20th centuries or the contemporary).
 Academic sources include peer-reviewed journal articles, scholarly books,
theses and/or dissertations NOT newspapers, blogs, magazines, websites.
 No title page please. Your title, name, student # should appear on the first
page of your assignment.
 Use MLA, APA, or Chicago style. You may use footnotes, not endnotes.

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