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- In Martha we trust?: The cultural significance of the Martha Stewart phenomenon.
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The thesis examines the relationship between Martha Stewart's rendition of domesticity and a broader cultural trend of the late 1990s U.S. domestic retreatism. It argues that the mode of construction and representation of the "domestic dream" in Stewart's programs cannot be examined outside of such concepts as class and ethnicity, whose understanding depends on the cultural, social, and political context of a given era, a context, in which they become transparent as aspects of the Western (white, patriarchal) status quo. Performing a deconstructive reading of these categories as employed by Stewart in the process of creation of her media persona, the thesis examines what the negative as well as positive reactions to "Martha Stewart" convey about the condition of American society of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
- Journey for Jazz
- This written thesis accompanies a 32-minute documentary video, Journey for Jazz, which explores four Korean students who major in jazz at the University of North Texas in Denton. Detailed accounts of the pre-production, production, and post-production of the video guide the reader to understand the challenging and rewarding process of making this documentary. Theoretical issues are also discussed, including Bill Nichols's typology of documentary modes as a useful tool for analysis of hybrid documentaries and conventions of the observational and interactive mode in Journey for Jazz, which is considered a hybrid of both modes. The film focuses mainly on the scholarly and artistic experiences that the four students undergo while studying jazz in the United States.
- Just $10 A Month: A Television Advertising Campaign
- This written thesis accompanies three television public service announcement spots. Two of the spots are 60 seconds and one of the spots is 45 seconds in length. I produced this public service television advertising campaign to highlight the issue of child illiteracy in Pakistan and to encourage expatriate and resident Pakistani's to donate to educational charities. A Website created by the filmmaker is promoted in the campaign. This Website provides information about various charities that educate children in Pakistan. Detailed accounts of pre-production, production and post-production of the campaign allow the viewer to comprehend the challenges in producing television campaigns for social causes. Theoretical issues are also discussed, including the causes of illiteracy, the importance and role of social campaigns, the history and uses of propaganda as well as the aesthetic concerns of a public service campaign producer. I discuss the importance of creating the culture of public service campaigns in a third world country like Pakistan, and states that the Pakistani community needs to look inwards to overcome the challenge of illiteracy.
- No Way Out: A Historical Documentary
- No Way Out: A Historical Documentary is the written companion to a forty-minute documentary film entitled "No Way Out". The film deals with a 1974 inmate standoff at a prison in Huntsville, Texas known as the Carrasco Incident. The film examines the prison takeover through the eyes of those who lived through it. Composed of five interviews, "No Way Out" is a compilation of various points of view ranging from former hostages, members of the press, and law enforcement. The written companion for this piece discusses the three phases of the production for this film. These chapters are designed to share with the reader the various intricacies of documentary filmmaking. The thesis also explores theoretical issues concerning collective memory, coping behavior, and the ethics of historical documentary filmmaking.
- Our enemy, ourselves: Political conspiracy in American cinema, 1970-present.
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This thesis is an examination of "paranoid conspiracy" films, a film noir subgenre that emerged in mainstream American cinema in the early 1970s and turns on vast, shadowy conspiracies located within U.S. "power structures" (government agencies, the military, the media) and directed against the American public. Specifically, it focuses on the emergence of these films in the 1970s, their almost complete disappearance during the Reagan presidency, and subsequent reemergence in the early 1990s. Placing representative texts in the context of U.S. political and social reality of the last three decades, it analyzes the relationship between the conspiracy theory genre, the "crisis of confidence" in the American society, and the process of formation of American national identity.
- Side By Side: Reinventing Mother/Daughter Relationships
- Beginning with mother/daughter film classics such as Stella Dallas (1937) and Mildred Pierce (1945), and moving to consider recent mother/daughter texts, Anywhere But Here (1999) and "Gilmore Girls" (2000 -), this thesis, in both its written and visual components, examines the multiple and often contradictory ways in which mothers and daughters have been represented in popular culture. Challenging the discourses that singularly stress struggle and separation, this research highlights representations that emphasize mother/daughter connection, and examines how such identification empowers mothers and daughters. This project is guided by cultural studies and feminist film theories. The first two chapters outline past and present paradigms of mothers and daughters respectively; the third chapter examines the goals and findings of the visual component.
- "Time for Teletubbies": Childhood, Child Participation, and the Struggle for Meaning
- The children's television program Teletubbies and its concomitant controversies are analyzed along with the media attention surrounding the program. A textual analysis is presented, including the methodologies of narrative theory, semiotics/structuralism, and poststructuralism. The context is also analyzed, using a cultural studies and historical reception approach, in order to chronicle and analyze the show's controversies and elucidate how these arguments have affected reception and interpretation of the show. Following textual and contextual analysis, a social science approach is utilized, reviewing literature and research that supports or refutes the arguments at hand. Finally, the results of a qualitative, ethnographical study are presented in order to include the child's perspectives on the show and inform the larger, cultural issues of childhood.
- Vieques: Island of Conflict and Dreams
- This written thesis is a companion to a 30-minute documentary video of the same title. The documentary is a presentation of the historical conflict between the United States Navy and the people of the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. For over 60 years the island was used by the United States Navy as a military training facility. The documentary attempts to present an analysis of the struggle between citizens of the island and the Navy. This written component presents a summarized history of Puerto Rico, Vieques and the conflict with the United States Navy. In addition, the preproduction, production and post-production process of the documentary are discussed. A theoretical analysis of the filmmaker's approach and technique are addressed and analyzed as well. The thesis's goal is to provide a clear understanding of the Vieques conflict to United States audiences who do not a familiarity with the topic. The thesis is presented from the perspective of a person who grew up in Puerto Rico.