DUE: by 12am October 12, 2013 (emailed to harmoncb {at}

The proposal is worth 10% of your final grade.

(Late papers will be penalized significantly)

A note about choices:

You have been given a significant amount of time to consider the choice of objects (or ‘the subject’ of your movie).  While I understand contingency, I expect MOST of you to stick with the object you propose at this time.  I will read the proposals and get back to you with comments as soon as possible.

Depending on your discipline, proposals can take many shapes. When asked to propose a major project, there are occasionally strict formatting guidelines (federal grants).  There are also conventional considerations (grammar, spelling, appropriateness…ethos in general).  In this case, following Law’s fragmented coherence, I would like you to consider the proposal as a constitutive part of the overall process.  Specifically, I hope the composition/production of the proposal will be PRODUCTIVE to your understanding of both the object you’ve chosen and the goals of the class more broadly. I encourage multimodality.  To that end, the style and format of your proposal is up to you. Having said that, the proposal should include some semblance of the following:

-Clearly and specifically (and visually) identify the object and the reason you are drawn to it.

-Give a narrative of some kind about how you’ll complete the assignment.  This could include an overview of equipment, ideas for production, media needed, etc. Who might you interview?  Where might you film?

-Propose some kind of initial thesis statement. (Of course, this will probably evolve after you do your library/archive research).  What do you expect to get out of this process?

-What research do you need to do in order to better analyze your object? What do you need to find out more: facts about your object’s history/cultural context, or people’s views about the object? Are there images you need to find to support your claims?  Who will you need to contact about rights to portray this object?

The following questions are designed as heuristics to help you shape your thoughts on the object you’ll be analyzing. 

-What values or attitudes are associated with the object? How? Are these values or attitudes of American culture in general, or of particular subcultures? Do variations in the object represent conflicting values or attitudes?

-What practices does the object suggest? How? Are these practices common to or familiar in American culture in general, or are they specific to certain groups?

-What is interesting about the object’s history? Which details of the object are more significant as a result of considering its history/culture?

-Has the object always looked and worked the way it does now, or has its design or details changed over time? Has the object always been made in the same way? If something has changed about the object, what might this tell us about changes in culture?

-Is the object always used in the same way, or do people use it differently? How does its use vary among people of different genders, ethnicities, regions, economic classes, educational backgrounds, ages? How does the object’s use contribute to a sense of identity for those using it?

-Are there different versions of the object, or different contexts in which it appears? What do these differences tell us about culture, gender, ethnicity, economic class, etc?

-What does the object or its use suggest about power structures in society?

-Overall, in what ways does the object define culture, and in what ways does culture define the object?

-Does the object influence our understanding of what is possible, real, or understandable? Has the object helped us to gain knowledge, communicate, store information or in any other way changed knowing and access to knowledge?

-Does the object aid, hinder, alter, or in any other way affect human movement or perception? What has that done for culture(s)?

-How does the current historical/cultural period influence our understanding of the object? Is there another historical period or cultural context that would produce a different understanding of the object?

-How will you portray this object?  What styles/aesthetics are associated with it?  How has it been portrayed in various kinds of media in the past?  Are there advertisements (old and current) that might shed light on some aspect of the object?  What kind of music is associated with this object?


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