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You will produce a 3-5 page essay that answers the prompt following the end of the unit.


Our introductory unit explored basic concepts related to representation in the media. It also broached many “hard questions”: conundrums or central contradictions pertaining to the issue of stereotypes, diversity, identity politics, and cultural appropriation.

For this review, your job is to:

1) Identify one of these “hard questions”

2) Propose an answer to this question

3) Consider at least one relevant counterargument (that is, why would someone disagree with you and what would you tell that person)

4) Refer to at least one media example not taught in class

5) Use at least three class readings to support your answer, and include relevant terms where applicable

Your answer to the question may not be definitive—hard questions are by nature debatable and complicated. The goal of this paper is to prove that you can think through the complexities of the issues your question raises, and use the readings to make your point.

Examples of hard questions include, but aren’t limited to:

  • If stereotyping is a common human tendency, why does it produce bias?
  • Is everyone intersectional?
  • Is there such a thing as “overrepresentation?”
  • If diversity is widely believed to matter, why is it so hard to achieve?
  • Can cultural appropriation be prevented?
  • No outside reading is required for this paper, but you will need to think about a relevant example. If you wish, you may use additional materials from beyond our class.


    Review material list is here!!:


    January 14

    Introduction: Class Policies, Learning Environment, and Goals Renner, “How Social Media Shapes Our Identity”


    January 16

    Kidd, “Introduction” to Representation, pp. 1-15

    WEEK 2


    January 21

    McGarty, Yzerbyt, and Spears, “Social, Cultural, and Cognitive Factors in Stereotype Formation” pp. 1-7(in attachment files)

    Waterson, “UK Advertising Watchdog to Crack Down On Sexist

    Stereotypes” https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/dec/14/uk-advertising-watchdog-to-crack-down-on-sexist-stereotypers

    January 23

    Crenshaw, “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and

    Violence against Women of Color,” pp. 1241-1250 (in attachment files)

    Rothman, “The Equality Connundrum” https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/01/13/the-equality-conundrum

    WEEK 3


    January 28

    Eagleton, “Postmodern Prejudices”

    (in attachment files)

    January 30

    Saha, “Diversity Initiatives Don’t Work, They Just Make Things Worse” Sherwood, “Why Diverse Talent Is Being Found And Hired, ButNot Sticking Around”https://mediadiversified.org/2017/02/16/diversity-initiatives-dont-work-they-just-make-things-worse-the-ideological-function-of-diversity-in-the-cultural-industries/

    Hernandez, “Reaching Latino Consumers Means Thinking BeyondCelebrities and Stereotypes”


    WEEK 4


    February 4 Friedersdorf, “Unraveling Race” https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/11/thomas-chatterton-williams-self-portrait-black-white/601408/

    February 6 Screening, “The World’s Most Controversial K-Pop Group”


    February 11

    Malik, “In Defense of Cultural Appropriation”https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/14/opinion/in-defense-of-cultural-appropriation.html

    Wang, “Finding the Beauty in Cultural Appropriation”https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/20/opinion/cultural-appropriation-coachella.html

    Jackson, “Who Really Owns the Blaccent?”https://www.vulture.com/2018/08/awkwafina-blaccent-cultural-appropriation.html

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