The Hollywood Sign

Research Paper: The Hollywood Sign


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Final Research Paper: (6 full pages minimum—1800 words)

The final paper provides student with an opportunity to apply the class content to an issue or problem of interest. For this assignment, you will select an issue or problem related to one of the assigned readings and options listed below. There are five options from which to choose. They are posted after the Important Due Dates section below. Regardless of which option you pursue, you must include references to at least 6-8 additional readings/outside sources.

  • In addition to the principle reading from our textbook, at least three of the required sources must be text-based and accessed through the library databases (you may also obtain all your sources from the library databases, if you like).
  • The remaining two or more outside sources may be blogs and other websites, videos, or other visual and textual mediums.
  • Of course you are free to use more than six outside sources.

The following powerpoint details how to access the LASC Library databases and cites access codes for retrieving articles on line when off campus: Finding Sources

When accessing from off campus, use the following codes:

  • Your usernameis your LASC Student ID number.
  • Your passwordis the 4 digit month/day of your date of birth. Example: if you were born on April 20 your password would be 0420.

If you have access to other college library databases you may use those or the ones accessible in the public library system.


  • The outside research must be engaged/discussed in sustained ways—that is you need to discuss the ideas in the readings to the extent that you demonstrate an understanding of the arguments presented as opposed to merely dropping a quote in here and there.
  • Wikipedia and other online dictionaries and encyclopedias do not count as outside sources;
  • The research paper should not simply be a “report” or “summary” on the topic where all you do is organize and present a lot of non-controversial information. Instead, this paper should contain a thesis and support that expresses some opinion/analysis you have regarding the topic. Basically you are following a standard essay format just as you have done all semester: Introduction with thesis, focused body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
  • The outside sources should be documented using the MLA format for in-text citations and accompanied by a works cited page. Page 66 in our textbook demonstrates in-text citation format and beginning on page 67 sample works cited entries are listed. Your paper will be down-graded if your paper does not make accurate use of the MLA format which includes a works cited page (again, done accurately). A sample works cited page can viewed on page 55. Our Library also has links to helpful resources for MLA formatting(Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..
  • Plagiarizing will result in an “F’ for the course.




Write an essay that supports, refutes, or complicates Christian’s assumption in “The End of Post-Identity Television” (556) that mass media outlets have entered a phase in which they are less inclined to rely on conventional categories(stereotypes) of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and other demographics. And/or write an essay that supports, refutes or complicates Michael Omi’s claim in his essay “In Living Color: Race and American Culture” (538) that in “television and film, there is a tendency to present and equate racial minorities groups and individuals with specific social problems” (para 30). Keep in mind that Omi’s essay is from 1989 and Christian’s essay is from 2012. Basically you are assessing the degree to which CURRENT television depictions of racial or other minority groups have changed in 2018-20 (cite specifics characters and scenes from TV series as examples). And, if you see changes in these depictions, are the changes more positive or negative? A great show to work with is Blackish–we use this show in my on campus class. Again, you need 6-8 sources total—at least three must be from the library databases.

Sample thesis statements:

Although the show Blackish is often applauded for offering progressive (non-stereotypical portrayals of African-American men and women), the “What’s Up?” episode actually reinforces negative stereotypes of African American women. (This statement is just for the sake of an example–I could easily argue the opposite–by the way, this episode title does not exist). The body of the paper would closely analyze scenes from the “What’s Up?” episode of Blackish and incorporate outside sources that discuss racial stereotypes in the media–I would not include reviews of the show–I would want the emphasis to be my reading of the characters in the show from a single episode. I could use just the one episode or I could use several episodes and even compare it with another show. I could even use a different show like Scandal or Empire. ( the show needs to be from within the last two years). Another option might be to focus on latino characters in a CURRENT crime drama. To me, it is easiest to focus on one episode


Watch an episode or two of Sanjay and Craig. Then write an essay in which you defend, refute, or modify Jones’s assumption in “Sanjay and Craig: Nickelodeon’s Hilarious New Mixed-Race Heroes” (554) that the program eschews (avoids) typical ethnic stereotypes and “features people of color that are three dimensional characters and not just racist caricatures” (para. 8). You are free to compare Sanjay and Criag with another example or two of CURRENT CHILDREN’S cartoons. Your support should include detailed examples from scenes within the programs. Again, you need 6-8 sources total—at least three must be from the library databases.


Write an essay in which you argue for your explanation as to why antiheroes have become so dominant on TV, focusing on YOUR interpretation of two or three CURRENT programs and specific examples and scenes from those programs. Your paper should engage Heather Havrilesky’s “No Sympathy for the Devil” (465) and Laura Bennett’s “Against Antiheroes” (471)(or as an alternate text Robert Ray’s “The Thematic Paradigm” (450). Again, avoid rehashing on line reviews. Don’t forget, you need 6-8 sources total—at least three must be from the library databases. Your thesis should address the question: Why has our culture become increasingly fascinated with antiheroes?   ( Your support needs to discuss specific characters and include specific scenes)


Working from Michael Parenti’s “Class and Virtue” (361) and George Packer’s “Celebrating Inequality” (474) does the American media and by extension the American people continue to promote class bigotry by associating desirable qualities with rich people and less desirable qualities with poor people? For this option you should rely on 2018-20 media such as television, film, news, and other current events; However, as we have practiced all semester, the example should be detailed and not just loosely referenced. Again, as with all the options you need at least six outside sources (see guidelines above).


In Spring 2017 at least 10 students had their Harvard University admissions offers retracted after participating in a  meme group chat that grew out of a larger, unofficial Facebook group for the incoming class of 2021. They called the group “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens.” The qualifications for being accepted amongst the horny bourgeois consisted of proving oneself worthy by posting “provocative” memes to the larger group. Once in the secret group, the content fast escalated, “ranging from Holocaust jokes and racist descriptions of Mexicans, Middle Eastern children, and illegal immigrants, to jokes about death, bestiality, pedophilia, and child abuse.” After concerned students emailed screenshots to Harvard authorities, the university investigated, and this resulted in disciplinary actions and the rescinding of admissions offers for ten students. As some sources noted, another incident involving offensive content last year with the incoming class of 2020 did not result in disciplinary action, with the college’s official stance then that the students were not yet matriculated and the activity independent of Harvard affiliation. Where do you stand on this issue? Was Harvard justified in rescinding these students admissions to the prestigious University?  Did Harvard violate these students’ right to freedom of speech? As an institution of education, by punishing these students (retracting their admissions) did Harvard miss an opportunity to educate these students and others on hate speech?

Since our textbook does not have an essay on this topic, you should begin with Samantha Schmidt’s article from the Washington Post ” Harvard Withdraws 10 Acceptances for Offensive Memes in Private Chat. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. As with the other options you must include at least 6-8 outside sources (see guidelines above). Be careful not to plagiarize sources.


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