VIDEO PROJECTS: Students will view ONE of the video options listed below and will write a brief 1Â½ – 2-page single-spaced paper on each, following the prompts and guidelines for writing them outlined below. Penalties apply if the length exceeds the page limit by more than a sentence or two.
Content: The written assignment should include critical analysis and personalization, but it’s not typical research papers. Students are encouraged but are not required to include quotes from authoritative sources, journal articles, or research. If you quote materials, students must use any of the established styles for documenting college papers.
The prompt to answer for one of the videos are below and serve as a guideline for writing the assignments. Students may express themselves freely but must articulate a well-documented argument to support their point of view to achieve a good grade. Mere expression of unsupported personal opinions will not count as critical thinkÂing.
Choice 1: The People Paradox
This PBS/NOVA documentary film addresses the problems of recent and rapid changes in human population worldÂwide. Explain the population paradox. Why was an 11-year-old boy sitting alone in a spacious classroom in Oguchi, Japan with the undivided attention of his own teacher? What is happening to the populations of Russia, Japan, and much of Europe? What about the USA? What is happening in India’s Uttar Pradesh and why? Why have birth control and family planning efforts in India struggled? What does the film say will be the economic and social impact of these population changes?
Choice 2: Outfoxed
This is a 2004 documentary film that criticizes the Fox News Channel, and its former owner, Rupert Murdoch, claiming that the channel is used to promote and advocate biased right-wing views. What was the strongest argument that supports the filmmakerâ€™s point of view about Murdock and his Fox media outlet and the best argument that disputes or discredits the filmmakerâ€™s point of view? Since the film was made, has Fox changed its approach to reporting political events? Watch one TV show of a pundit from Fox (e.g. Hannity, Cavuto, Ingram, etc.) and one from MSNBC (e.g., Matthews, Maddow, Hayes, Williams, etc.) and compare how they covered the same news event. Which did you think was more biased and which was more credible, and why?
Choice 3: Slums and Money: A Socioeconomic Analysis
This film cuts across many sociological issues and problems: poverty, urbanization, urban decay/megaslums, job and market development, globalization, and economic inequality. The film offers a set of wide-ranging opinions from economists such as Paul Krugman, about what can be done about the expansion of markets and the mass migrations of rural dwellers into the overcrowded, squalid megaslums of modern cities. Based on what you saw in the film, does it make good social and economic policy to try to resist (or even reverse) the trend of millions of poor people leaving their rural homes and moving into the squalid slums of cities? Should governments accept that this mass migration is going to continue to happen, and therefore begin to do more urban planning, infrastructure expansion, and investment of money into expansion of housing? Why or why not? How can society reap the benefits that come from expanding market trade & job creation with the inherent and unavoidable unfairness/unevenness of that growth â€’ growth for some people, but growth that leaves behind (or worsens) living conditions and future opportunities for millions of others? Select one of the cities presented in the film and imagine what it would be like if you were born into poverty in a poor rural village 100km from that rapidly-growing port city. What would you do? Would you stay home and try to survive there? Or would you move to a slum and live in squalor on the chance that you might be one of the lucky ones who gradually (over 2 or 3 generations) manages to pull yourself up â€’ step by step – out of that slum?
Choice 4: Killing Us Softly [version 3 or 4]
Jean Kilbourneâ€™s series of documentaries describes how images of women in media advertising impart subtle messages about men and women. Women are portrayed as weak and passive sex objects while men are shown as violent and dominant. After watching the video, leaf through magazines and/or watch television to find other examples of similar portrayals of males and females in advertising. In your written analysis, describe the images and subtle messages you found and explain the impact those images had on you. Optionally, you may also attach up to three examples of print media or video clips that you found that support and illustrate your written analysis. (Note: The attachments do not count toward the page total). Available on DVD disc in the College Library and other libraries and some commercial outlets.
Choice 5: Film and brief article on Foster Care
Film: A Home for Maisie
Most of us grow up in families, but some children cannot live in their birth families and end up in foster care. This film is the story of an emotionally-damaged girl in Britain, Maisie, who suffered abuse, neglect, and then rejection as she was moved to ten different foster placements. Maisieâ€™s early experiences left the 7-year-old with anger, confusion, and distrust. What were the major reasons Maisie had so much difficulty adjusting to life with Jim and Sue? What made the difference in helping Maisie get ready for permanent adoption? The â€œSix problemsâ€ article addresses other issues related to foster care system in the U.S. What does it say about LGBT identity, family reunification, and the propensity for homelessness after foster youth age-out of the system?
Read this article:or can be Googled on the web.
Then watch this film, a BBC Production. (58 minutes) and is available:
Choice 6: Park Avenue, Money, Power, and the American Dream
This documentary compares the lives of the 400 richest Americans, like those who live on Park Avenue in Manhattan versus those who live on the extension of that street in Harlem and across the river in the South Bronx. Can you reconcile the economic philosophy of Ayn Rand with the principles of Christianity regarding treatment of the poor? How is the role of money affecting American politics and the ability of ordinary Americans to have a voice in shaping government and taxation policies like the carried interest provision? Which of the people interviewed in the film best reflects your own political and economic philosophies and why?
Choice 7: Trapped: a Look at the Sex Trade
Every year, two million women and children are tricked, beaten, raped, and forced by threat of death into the worldâ€™s growing sex trade. This video follows women selling sexâ€”from the African villages they can never again call home, to the cold, lonely streets of Europe. The film captures the violence and danger of life working on the streets. How are these women lured into a life of prostitutÂion? Why canâ€™t they run away or go to the police? How is Annaâ€™s story different from Joyâ€™s? What can be done to end these practices? Note: because of the poor audio in some segments and the heavy accents, it is recommended the film be viewed with subtitles displayed on the screen.