Essay 3: Zero Draft

Objective: produce a very rough draft (a “zero draft”) of your third essay. This will help you find raw material (i.e. potential evidence and rough ideas) that can be refined and further developed in your formal draft. This will also help you to recognize what further research needs to be done. Reminder: this draft should be very messy. I want you to explore *ideas* and not worry about making (or fixing) grammatical mistakes. You can use a combination of English and other languages if you’d like. Do not go back to fix any grammatical errors. As you now know, your draft will change significantly as you continue to revise and develop your ideas.
Due by 11:59 p.m. Monday, December 3rd
Estimated time: 2–3 hours
Assignment: Write a zero draft of 3 to 4 pages in which you begin to work toward an answer to your research question. Your main focus should be to analyze specific parts of your exhibit using relevant theoretical sources.
– First, incorporate any revisions to your introduction that we worked on in yesterday’s class. If you need to, review the Identifying Problems handout.
Note: I did not create a separate in-class writing post since it would be an extra step for you.

– Then read the Model Student Introductions handout and revise your introduction again (a second revision to your introduction). Your introduction should be two to three paragraphs and must end with your central research question. This part of your zero draft should be polished. There should be no more than two central research questions.
– In the final paragraph of your zero draft, use as many sentences as you need to think through your developing answer to your research question.
– Include a separate Works Cited page at the end of your zero draft. Use Purdue OWL as a reference.
– Submit your drafts as a Word document to Dropbox.

Exercise 3.4: Drafting Introductions for Research Essay

Objective: draft the introduction of your scholarly research essay.
Due by 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, November 28th
Estimated time: 1 hour
Re-read your annotations from “Motivating Your Argument,” and then draft an introduction for your scholarly research essay in which you:
– briefly present your exhibit to your readers
– describe the intellectual or interpretive problem you’ve observed
– ask the central question that you will try to answer in your essay
Your introduction should be two paragraphs long. Bring your introduction with you to Wednesday’s class.
For the afternoon class only, please arrive at Honors Hall 17 by 12:15 p.m.

Exercise 3.3: Virtual Research Class November 26th

Objective: use the research resources of the Queens College Rosenthal Library to find sources for your research project.
Due by 6:00 p.m. Monday, November 26th
Estimated time: 2 – 3 hours
Monday, November 26th will be a “virtual class,” meaning that we will not meet in the classroom, and instead, you’ll be working on researching sources for your scholarly research essay. I will be online to answer any questions you may have: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., 12:30 – 2:00 p.m., and 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Please check in with me via email at least once during our regular class time.
Homework due for Wednesday’s class will be posted on Monday.

For the scholarly research essay, you will need to situate your review within at least three contexts:
sociohistorical context i.e. you must consider the social and historical factors that contribute to the exhibit’s popularity (or unpopularity).
generic context i.e. you must evaluate the exhibit within the conventions of the particular genres that define it.
existing map of opinion i.e. you must critically engage existing ideas about your exhibit in order to develop your own original viewpoints.
To do so, we will use the range of resources accessible through the QC library. If you need additional help using the library’s sources, contact Librarians David Williams ( or Ned Wall (
For this homework exercise, you will use the library (and Internet search engines when appropriate) to find:
– ONE contextual source about the popularity of your exhibit.
For example, if you are analyzing the popularity of Hidden Figures, you will need to find a source that provides absolute and relative viewership statistics. How many people saw the film? What types of people? How do these numbers compare to other similar films currently in theatres? How do these numbers compare to similar films from other time periods?
– TWO argument sources that explain the existing main opinions about the aspect of your exhibit that you are interested in exploring.
For example, if you are analyzing the popularity of Hidden Figures, you will need sources that articulate the opinions that already exist about its popularity. Is there a predominant viewpoint about your exhibit? What is it? Has the predominant viewpoint changed over time? Is there a debate about your exhibit? Why? What are the different perspectives in the debate?
– ONE contextual source that provides relevant information about contemporary social or political issues that are arguably addressed in your exhibit.
For example, if you are analyzing the popularity of Hidden Figures, you may need to find a source that reports on the contributions of African American women to science. What are the main social or political issues addressed in the film? What contemporary real-world reporting has been done about these issues?
– ONE theoretical source that explains and explores the conventions, functions, and/or implications of the genre of your exhibit.
For example, if you are analyzing the popularity of Hidden Figures, you may need to find a source about black history films and films about historic women. How is the film typically classified? Is it classified or categorized in a variety of ways? (Start with how it is already typically classified.) How are these categories defined? How do they typically work (according to experts or scholars)? What do they typically do (according to experts or scholars)?
– Produce an MLA Works Cited list that includes your exhibit (i.e. the film you are analyzing) and (at least) the four or five sources that you will find from this exercise. Post the MLA citations for the sources, their context, and one or two sentences about how you will use them as a comment.

Reading for Wednesday’s Class

In preparation for Wednesday (11/21) class in the Rosenthal Library:

– Re-read the Functions of Sources handout.

– Read the Strong Research Questions handout.

– Continue to think about your research question that we went over in class today.

– Bring the most current version of your research question, along with the two handouts listed above, to our library class on Wednesday.

– 10:05 a.m. in Room 227

– 3:40 p.m. in Room 225

Exercise 3.2: Research Homework

Objective: clarify the central question of your scholarly research essay by problematizing your exhibit.
Estimated time: 2 – 3 hrs
Due by 9:30 a.m. Monday, November 19th

– Review the five ways of identifying an intellectual or interpretive we talked about in class (described in the Identifying Problems handout). You will need to conduct preliminary research on your exhibit and also analyze it in order to determine the main question you want to explore in your scholarly research essay. Therefore, make sure to look up existing opinions about your film. Find out how the film is categorized as a genre and how that genre is defined. Watch your film before our next class and take careful notes on patterns and anomalies you observe. You will use these observations and your preliminary research to create a clear, focused research question for your scholarly research essay.
Example: A past student noticed that central female characters in the animated film Inside Out seemed to be based on common female stereotypes, yet the film was universally praised as a feminist masterpiece. Therefore, in her research essay, she asked: Do the stereotypical depictions of Joy and Sadness undermine the film’s reputation as a “feminist” film?

– Bring your central research question to class on Monday.

Reminder: Our class on Wednesday, November 21st will be a library workshop, so class will be held in Rosenthal (room numbers below). You will need to bring the research question with you to that class as well.

– 10:05 a.m. in Room 227

– 3:40 p.m. in Room 225

Exercise 3.1: Selecting Exhibits for Research Essay

Objective: identify two possible exhibits for your scholarly research essay.
Estimated time: 30 mins
Due by 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, November 14th
Review the assignment guidelines for Essay 3. Your exhibit can be:
– Option 1: a feature-length movie like those listed below. As discussed in class, if you want to choose a film not on the list below, it must be available in the library or on Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, or HBO, and you must provide a synopsis of how the film represents cultural identity. The film does not have to be in English, but English subtitles must be available.
– Option 2: two to four credibly reported articles, essays, or interviews to explore a specific, current controversy related to cultural identity.
Whatever you choose, make sure it is something that you are genuinely interested in examining and writing about. Remember that you will ultimately focus on and analyze specific aspects of your exhibit – not the “entire” exhibit! Paste your selections as a comment below.
Film List
Before Night Falls (2000) Cuban LGBTQIA+
Bend it Like Beckham (2002) British-Indian woman
The Big Sick (2017) Pakistani-American
BlacKkKlansman (2018) African American
Boys Don’t Cry (1999) LGBTQIA+
The Breadwinner (2017) Afghan
But I’m a Cheerleader (1999) LGBTQIA+
Dances with Wolves (1990) Native American
Daughters of the Dust (1991) African American/Gullah women
Dear White People (2014) African American
Disobedience (2017) Jewish LGBTQIA+
East Side Sushi (2014) Mexican-American woman
The Education of Little Tree (1997) Native American
Fences (2016) African American
Hidden Figures (2017) African American women
Joy Luck Club (1993) Chinese-American women
Lagaan – Once Upon a Time in India (2001) India
Loving (2016) Interracial couples/African American and white
The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015) Indian
Ma Vie en Rose (1997) French LGBTQIA+
Margarita Through a Straw (2014) Indian LGBTQIA+
Mississippi Masala (1991) Indian-American and African American
Moonlight (2016) African American LGBTQIA+
The Namesake (2006) Indian-American
Pariah (2011) African American LGBTQIA+
Persepolis (2007) Persian/Iranian
Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) Australian indigenous
Real Women Have Curves (2002) Mexican-American
Skin (2008) South African
Smoke Signals (1998) Native American
Sometimes in April (2005) Rwanda
Today’s Special (2009) Indian-American
Tortilla Soup (2001) Mexican-American
Under the Same Moon (2007) Mexican immigrant
The Walkout (2006) Mexican-American
Whale Rider (2002) Māori

Essay 2: Final Draft

Estimated time: 2-3 hours
Due by 11:59 p.m. Monday, November 12th
Objective: produce a revised and polished final draft of your lens analysis essay. To produce your final draft, you will carefully revise and develop your formal draft using lessons and strategies learned in class and suggestions provided in my feedback.

1. Re-read the guidelines for the Lens Analysis Essay assignment.

2. Follow the revision procedure we used in class yesterday.

3. Create topic sentences for your analysis paragraphs that are specific sub-claims of your thesis for each of the three elements you’re analyzing. Use simple sentence structure to make sure that your ideas are clear for your reader.

4. Check to make sure that your thesis is arguable and made up of claims, not facts. For a reminder of what a strong thesis statement is, review Gordon Harvey’s “Elements of the Academic Essay.”

5. Write a conclusion paragraph that synthesizes your analysis of the ad.
6. Check your claims and thesis again.
7. Proofread your essay and make sure you follow all submission, formatting and assignment guidelines.

8. Post your revised final draft of Essay 2 to Dropbox.

As always, email me if you have any questions.

Review the course calendar for what is due for Monday’s class, which should only take about 10-15 minutes of your time.

For anyone awaiting feedback on their formal drafts, you will receive it by tomorrow (Friday).

Exercise 2.5: Revised PAS Outline

Objective: improve the organization of your argument by making your PAS outline more specific.
Estimated time: 45 mins
Due by 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, November 7th
Carefully re-read the Effective Paragraphing handout. For the formal draft of your lens analysis essay, you were asked to write out the PAS outline of your essay. For this exercise, you will revise it to make it more specific. To clearly explain what a paragraph is doing (in terms of PAS), you must specify what is being presented, analyzed or synthesized. For example:
Presentation: This paragraph presents a summary of “Decoding Advertisements,” an essay exploring how American advertising reveals core features of American culture.
Analysis: This paragraph analyzes the image of the woman cleaning in the center of the advertisement to argue that it is biased according to Hall’s definition of “the regime of truth.”
Synthesis: This paragraph complicates the viewer’s understanding of the advertisement and draws a preliminary conclusion about the message of the advertisement.
Start off by copy-and-pasting your thesis, then write out the specific function of each paragraph in your draft as demonstrated above. Submit your revised PAS outline as a comment below.

Reading for Monday’s Class

Estimated time: 1 hour
Due by 9:30 a.m. Monday, November 5th
Re-read the Model Lens Analysis Essay (now with paragraph breaks). Underline or highlight the analysis text in the three elements paragraphs.
Read and annotate pages 1-7 of “Mapping the Margins” by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw. Identify the problem she addresses in her essay.
Bring a PRINTOUT of your Formal Draft Essay with you to class on Monday. We will be doing a Peer Review Workshop, and you will be sharing your essay with at least one classmate. Electronic versions of your essay are not acceptable for participation in Monday’s class.