Research Project Assignment
Gender and Humor (Unit 3)
How does this assignment fit into the larger context of the class?
This project is an important part of the course—your chance to tie together the concepts you have been working on all semester. We will draw on the analytical skills and close attention to specific details that we learned in the last unit. However, this paper will differ from our previous work in that it will require more extensive research and an ability to smoothly integrate multiple arguments into our own original analysis. By incorporating outside sources into our interpretation of a topic, we will learn to look at issues from different angles, to synthesize concepts, and to fairly represent the ideas of others.
Annotated Bibliography Assignment
For this assignment, you must find at least two sources. Both print and online sources are acceptable. You may (but are not required to) use one of the texts we discussed in class.
Here is an example of what an annotated bibliography looks like:
Carney, Dan. “Affirmative Action Issues Top High Court’s Docket.” Congressional
Quarterly Weekly Report. 55 (1997): 2406-08.
Carney focuses on legal issues as diverse as euthanasia and crop restrictions in
this article. However, his main focus is a bill of current legislation in California
known as proposition 209. This legislation ends all affirmative action programs in the state.
Only the main arguments on both sides of the issue are provided by the author, and he tends to
side with the conservative faction. Consequently, his analysis would strongly oppose
Christensen’s definition and arguments in favor of affirmative action.
Annotated bibliographies should be in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. Also note that this example uses MLA format (if you are unsure about how to do this, refer to your handbook). An annotated bibliography is basically a “works cited” page with a brief description of each source below each citation. Your “annotations” of your sources will summarize the source and perhaps give an indication of how you would use it in your paper. Think of an “annotation” as the tiniest sort of summary. Be sure to be charitable, accurate, and faithful to the source. Annotations should be five to seven sentences long for this assignment.
Research Paper Assignment (Required)
Humor can serve many purposes. I would like you to look at comedy specifically in relation to gender. You are welcome to choose your own approach to the paper, but it must have an argumentative thesis statement in the last sentence of the introduction that you develop in each of your body paragraphs. Topic and concluding sentences, as well as transitions, will help to orient your reader and prevent you from digressing. As for sources, you may (but are not required) use one of the stories or articles we read for class.
Here are some possible ways to approach this paper:
1) Write a compare/contrast essay between a comedian’s comments about gender stereotypes (men do or should do X, women do or should do Y) on YouTube and a story that we read in class. Do the comedic sources use similar or different depictions of men and women? To what extent do the gender stereotypes challenge or preserve traditional representations of men and women?
2) Focus on one source and ask the following question: what parts are funny and why? Does the comedian or humorous writer violate taboos, use irony, slapstick, slang, or some other approach to make you laugh? Does he or she combine the mundane and the sacred in unusual ways? What specific language choices make a particular sentence or line funny? The other source or sources can provide background information about humor and/or gender.
The paper should be 4-5 pages long, typed, stapled, and double-spaced; it should also use 1 inch margins and size 12 Times New Roman font. It should have at least two sources (both online and print are acceptable). You should have a “works cited” page in the proper MLA format; refer to your handbook or an internet guide such as OWL (Purdue University’s online writing lab). All due dates are on the syllabus.