Your assignment is to analyze one of the films we’ve recently viewed—Sleep Dealer or Zootopia—and craft an argument regarding what this film says about the issue of immigration, policing, social justice, or a related issue. Please only choose a single issue for this focus. Additionally, you are required to tie your argument about the film into one of the critical texts we’ve read: the writing of W.E.B. Du Bois, Bell Hooks, Aviva Chomsky, or Michelle Alexander.

As with the last essay, what you choose to argue is up to you, but your thesis must include both a clear Focus and, most importantly, an Arguable Assertion which can be disagreed with. Again, your argument should center around meaning: what this film is saying about your chosen issue as it relates to the U.S. or, in the case of Sleep Dealer, the U.S./ Mexico relationship.

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Your essay also requires concrete evidence: specifics from your film. You should both quote from dialogue and describe the specifics of the films visuals (shots and composition). While you can craft your argument around the film as a whole, you should ground your argument in the analysis of scenes. Go into depth with specific moments rather than quickly cherry-picking from the whole film.

Finally, in your essay, you need to refer to and quote one of our readings: W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk, Bell Hook’s “The Oppositional Gaze,” Bell Hook’s “Artistic Integrity: Race and Accountability,” Aviva Chomsky’s Undocumented, or Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. There are no exact rules for how you must do this, but at the minimum, I suggest using one of these authors in your intro and/or conclusion. Let their writing provide a framework or useful context for your argument about the text.

In class, we’ve focused on the politics of representation. Does your film appear to comment on or even rebut common media representations regarding issues of policing, racism, immigration, etc.? Does your film offer a response to how criminals or immigrants are typically evoked in political debates?

Please refer to Essay Guidelines

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