POPULAR CULTURE ICONS

 

For our first research essay assignment in POPC 1600, students are asked to choose an iconic person from American popular culture (past or present) and analyze what makes them achieve their iconic status. Please recall that an iconic figure is not merely a celebrity, but rather someone who has achieved a culturally significant stature in our society. Your topic may be either a person who actually lived or a fictional character (such as Superman, Barbie, GI Joe, or Wonder Woman). An icon can make us reflect upon who we are, what we aspire to be, and what we value. Your essay should explore how your topic reflects the American experience out of which he/she sprang and how they achieved relevance by adapting to, and perhaps influencing, the evolving American character.

An icon is one who has had a great impact on the broader American culture. One aspect of iconicity that facilitates this impact is that the icon is symbolic; it represents more than itself. For examplehe, Rosa Parks has come to represent the rights movement; while Gloria Steinem is an icon of feminism. Some icons represent the traditional aspects of a society and others might have an impact from challenging the status quo and forcing us to re-examine the values of our culture. Essays should be more than t biographical papers, but should provide an in-depth exploration of the icon as a product of and influence on American culture. Your chosen icon may have enjoy his/her heyday well before our current era, or it may continue to radiate tremors across the cultural landscaotpe.

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Each research essay should be divided into 3 main sections:

• The icon’s biographical history; the significant events and incidents that shaped his/her character.
• The icon’s impact on popularculture; his/her influence on their profession, field of endeavor, others in their profession.
• The icon’s impact on American culture; what is their larger/mass significance.

Students will post their topic choice on our class Canvas site for the Instructor’s approval.

The requirements for this essay are as follows:

• Essays should be approximately 7-8 full pages (typed double spaced)
• A works cited page must be included.
• Students’ citations should conform to either MLA or APA style formats.
• A minimum of 4 sources must be used for your research. Only 1 may originate on the Internet.
• Wikipedia, Google, and other mass search engines are not valid for college-level essays.
• Late papers will not be accepted (unless the student provides a valid/authorized excuse).
• Completed rough drafts will be critiqued by the Instructor prior to the final due date if the student wishes to take advantage of this option.