The goal of the Final Paper is to demonstrate how, precisely, the figure of Jesus is ingrained in contemporary popular culture at large. For the purposes of this assignment, popular culture is understood as cultural items that are known and accepted within the population. Popular culture includes television, media, newspapers, magazines, popular literature, music or music videos, advertising, video games, comics (graphic novels), art, etc. Also, please note that for this project, no films will be accepted as a topic.
Students will pick one topic for their paper. Try to be as precise s possible when choosing a topic. For example, if you want to look at music then be specific and choose a particular song or two and one or two artists. For example, saying that your topic will be Hip-Hop Music is too broad. You need to be specific. A more suitable topic would be looking at the figure of Tupac Shakur as a Christ Figure. When it comes to television and literature, it is up to you to decide whether your focus will be on one character, one scene, one chapter/episode, the entire series, etc. Depending on how you approach the topic each one can be acceptable. Also keep in mind that the focus is on the figure of Jesus, not on Christianity.
Students must think about and decide on a topic by July 3rd. Only topics that have been accepted will be allowed to go forward into the writing stage. If your topic is not given approval, then it is not acceptable to write your Final Paper. For the topic approval, you simply submit the topic you want to write on with a brief 1-2 paragraph explanation of what it is and why you think it is suitable for this assignment.
For the Final Paper students are expected to (1) offer a brief summary of the popular culture medium they have chosen to investigate, (2) analyze how elements from the Christian tradition, specifically a scriptural passage they have chosen, relates to it, (3) study the popular culture topic they have chosen in terms of the material covered in class; and (4) present their own response to the cultural phenomena under study. Through observing the ways in which the figure of Jesus is and continues to be expressed in popular culture, students will gain experiential knowledge integral for developing a more nuanced understanding of religious and historical personages present in everyday life and outside the bounds of the classroom.
Proper essay structure, spelling and grammar are all important components of this paper. The sources should be cited in text and in the works cited using the most recent version of the MLA style. The assignment should be 4-7 pages in length double-spaced (no cover page needed). Any assignment over 7 pages will not be accepted or graded. The assignment must be uploaded electronically by the date that it is due.
I will be uploading my class lectures and readings over time, you may use those for sources, but no outside sources are allowed 🙁
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