CJ 406  Criminological Theories Fall 2014
Movies or Book Short Paper Assignment

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Available 10/22/2014 / REVISED 11/28/2014 / 2ND REVISION 12/2/2014

PURPOSE

The purpose of the assignment is for you to get practice applying a specific theory that we have reviewed in this course to material from outside the course. Regardless of the content option you choose, you will apply just one theory.

NOTE - I am experimenting with several different media this time around - therefore there are different options for what you are doing. Do NOT take a non-writing option unless you already have some good experience with this alternate technology.

CHOICES: OVERVIEW

You have three choices for what outside material you can use.

(1) Choose from a list of specific films selected by the instructor, answer the question posed using ONE theory from the course.

(2) Attend an ASC presentation that purports to test one of the theories reviewed this semester and maybe have a follow up conversation.

(3) Analyyze a current event image from a newspaper or well known periodical, from within the last year.

 

OPTION (1): ELIGIBLE MEDIA FOR FILM OPTION

(NOTE: some of these movies have been remade. Do NOT see the remake, if there is one. Get the film with the date indicated. Quotes are from Muller, E. (1998). Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir. New York: St. Martin's Griffin.)

Double Indemnity (Paramount, 1944). Using one theory, argue either for or against this statement: the transformation of Walter Neff is plausible.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmi3YF0ybQg&feature=related

Force of Evil (MGM, 1948). Explain why Joe Morse (John Garfield) got involved in big time crime using one theory receiving extensive coverage in the the readings for class this semester

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTRPgwClQtc&NR=1

Gun Crazy (UA, 1950). Laurie Starr (Peggy Cummins) and Bart Tare (John Dall) love guns and robbing. Use one theory receiving extensive coverage in the the readings for class this semester to explain the criminal career of either one. You may have more information over more time for Tare, but Starr ends up being the more extreme (and hence more interesting?) one. You decide. Note the scene leading up to the bank robbery: it is four minutes, uncut, unheard of at the time. (BTW but just FYI: , this is based on a short story that has a very different set up and ending. A lot more interesting in some ways. Kantor, MacKinlay (1940). "Gun Crazy." Saturday Evening Post, February 13, 1940. You can find it reprinted in Ellroy, J., & Penzler, O. (Eds) (2011). The Best American Noir of the Century. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.)

On Dangerous Ground (RKO, 1951). Jim Wilson (Robert Ryan) "was once a decent cop" but no more. Use one theory receiving extensive coverage in the the readings for class this semester to explain his "uncontrollable violence." (BTW, Ryan was an Ivy League graduate and varsity boxer.) Ida Lupino was a famous "femme fatale" (see next movie) but also became a "trailbalzing woman director" in the 1950s.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU-B-krF3QU

Private Hell 36 (Filmakers, 1954). Two cops (Howard Duff, the blond; Steve Cochran, dark haired) respond differently to a criminal opportunity. Use one theory receiving extensive coverage in the the readings for class this semester to explain why the two responded so differently. Pay close attention to the scene unrolling with/after the opening credits, and the discussion of it early in the film. The closing voice over is a classic. The director, Don Siegel, also directed "Dirty Harry." Ida Lupino who plays what many might consider a stereotyped female role here went on to be one of the first women directors in Hollywood, and often highlighted current socal problems in her movies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi2vbSBvIlc

The Racket (RKO, 1951). Nick Scanlon (Robert Ryan) is a "Prohibition-style enforcer" having trouble adapting to a more "organized" style of crime. Using one of the theories receiving extensive coverage in the readings this semester explain: How he has come so far?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggraRvLiB60&feature=related

Response options

a. Write 500 words, typed double spaced, 12 pitch

b. Generate an MP3 audio file with at least one embedded bit of audio dialogue or embedded audio monologue from the film. Max limit for whole MP3 file: 5 minutes. Crucial here is how well the dialogue/monologue supports the points you are making. You are basically making your paper into a podcast type item, with a clip embedded.

c. Generate a PPT file with at least two embedded stills from the chosen movie. Ideally, there also would be some audio narration from you. Set this up as a slide show that is timed to no more than 5 minutes. Crucial here is how well the image analysis supports what you are saying.

If you are familiar with something like POWTOON you can use that.

BEFORE you select the PPT option be SURE you know all about embedding images and audio into PPT.

OPTION (2): ASC PAPER

Report on a paper that you heard presented at ASC. Explain how it applies to one of the main theories we have discussed this semester.

Response options

a. Write 500 words, typed double spaced, 12 pitch

b. Generate an MP3 audio file based on a Skype interview (that he/she allows you to record) or a telphone conversation (that he/she allows you to record). Have the conversation with the author AFTER you have heard the paper. Max limit here: 10-15 minutes. Point of the interview is to get to the relationship between the presented paper and the theory you are examining.

If you want to hear some longer, more professionallly done examples, go to Office Hours. http://thesocietypages.org/officehours/

WARNING: Be sure you have all your software/hardware issues sorted out beforehand - do not do this if you are unfamiliar with all this stuff.

OPTION (3): CURRENT EVENT IMAGE ANALYSIS

Take a still image from a major city newspaper, or major periodical, analyze it using one of the major theories covered this semester. I would rather you use a still image than a video. If you need a pair of images that is ok.

For a blog that analyzes images and video take a look at:

http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2013/07/17/framing-childrens-deviance/

Response options

a. Write 500 words, typed double spaced, 12 pitch. Be sure that the image is attached to the back of the paper. Link image to just one theory.

 

GRADING RUBRIC

If you write, I will use the following rubric. I have re-written it to be more general across the three different content options

 

Below Average (D) (score=1)

Average (C) (2)

Above Average (B) (3)

Excellent (A) (4)

Writing Quality (10%)

Large number of grammatical and/or spelling errors; and/or writing is hard to understand; and/or serious organization concerns.

Moderate  number of grammatical and/or spelling errors; small problems in overall paper organization.

A small number of grammatical or spelling errors; overall construction acceptable but could be stronger

No grammatical or spelling errors; well constructed paragraphs; well connected paragraphs; strong overall structure

Cogency of Analysis (50%)

No appropriate connections made between the theory  and the content analyzed

Only one or two tangential and/or vague connections made between theory and content; and/or the cogency of the connection(s) is (are) suspect; and/or the connection(s) made fail to address major points in the theory.

One or more cogent connections made between one or more specific theory elements and one or more specific film/image/ASC paper elements, but the ties are not as clear as they could be, and/or they do not address major points in the theory.

Strong, clear, cogent connections made between one or more major specific theory elements and one or more major aspects of the content analyzed

Reference to Supporting Theory (30%)

Paper fails to correctly reference at least one key concept or hypothesis from the supporting theory

Paper makes use of a couple of key concepts or hypotheses from the supporting theory, but the concepts or hypotheses are not clearly described or properly referenced; and/or the concepts used are not the most appropriate ones to use from that theoretical model

Paper makes correct use of a couple of key concepts from the supporting theory, with appropriate referencing; concepts used are relevant.

Paper makes correct use of at least 1-2 key concepts from the supporting theory, with appropriate referencing; concepts used are the most relevant

Bibliography and citations (10%) No bibliography at end Bibliography but it is incomplete and/or many references do not follow the standard format; and/or the in-line citations are either incorrect, missing, or lack sufficient detail Bibliography complete with mostly correct format; in-line citations mostly correct All bibliography entries included and sorted using a standardized format; all in-line citations correct.

If you choose NOT to write, I will try to adapt each of the above rubric points to the medium you select. For example, if it is a podcast, is it clearly and correctly spoken? Don't need the King's English, but ...