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In Martha We Trust? The Cultural Significance of the Martha Stewart Phenomenon

Description: 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.
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Date: August 2003
Creator: Chmielewska, Katarzyna
Partner: UNT Libraries

Room 2046: A Political Reading of Wong Kar-Wai's Chow-Mo Wan Trilogy through Narrative Elements and Mise-en-scene

Description: As ownership of Hong Kong changed hands from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China in 1997, citizens and filmmakers of the city became highly aware of the political environment. Film director Wong Kar-Wai creates visually stimulating films that express the anxieties and frustrations of the citizens of Hong Kong during this period. This study provides a political reading of Days of Being Wild (1991), In the Mood for Love (2000), and 2046 (2004) through analyzing various story elements and details within the mise-en-scene. Story elements include setting, dialogue, character relationships, character identities, thematic motifs, musical references, numerology, and genre manipulation. Wong also uses details within the films' mise-en-scene, such as props and color, to express political frustrations. To provide color interpretations, various traditional aesthetic guidelines, such as those prescribed by Taoism, Cantonese and Beijing opera, and feng shui, are used to read the films' negative comments on the handover process and the governments involved. When studied together the three films illustrate how Wong Kar-Wai creates narrative and visual references to the time and atmosphere in which he works, namely pre-and-post handover Hong Kong.
Date: December 2006
Creator: Baldwin, Jillian
Partner: UNT Libraries

On Objects and Affections: Contemporary Representations of the Gay Man/Straight Woman Dyad in Popular Film and Television

Description: This project explores the representational strategies used to depict a gay male/straight female dyad across a variety of popular media. The study problematizes and critically evaluates how the narrativization of the dyad both challenges and reinforces stereotypes of gay men and at the same time circulates a troubling image of femininity in the figure of the straight woman. This line of argument is extended to the context of "Lifestyle Television" to demonstrate how the dyad implicitly structures two particular programs. It is suggested that the prevalence of the dyad is in part indicative of an assimilation of a particular gay identity into mainstream culture. The ideological implications of the dyad are discussed throughout this thesis.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Pillion, Owen L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

24, Lost, and Six Feet Under: Post-traumatic television in the post-9/11 era.

Description: This study sought to determine if and how television texts produced since September 11, 2001, reflect and address cultural concerns by analyzing patterns in their theme and narrative style. Three American television serials were examined as case studies. Each text addressed a common cluster of contemporary issues such as trauma, death, and loss.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Anderson, Tonya
Partner: UNT Libraries

The “Nigger Trinity”: Engaging the Discourse in Post Civil Rights/Post 1960s America

Description: The cultural and popular media landscape of the United States of America changed after the Civil-Rights movement of the 1960s. The word “Nigger” was changed during that same period of American history. There are several authors and a comic that helped change this word during the 1960s. The post Civil-Rights American has a different experience and understanding with this word than those born before 1970. This work triangulates the current cultural location of the word “Nigger,” “nigga,” and “the n-word” using linguistics, law, and two media case studies. The “Nigger” trinity is a model that adds value to the discourse that surrounds this one word in post civil-rights/post 1960s America.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Bell, Adrian Shane
Partner: UNT Libraries

Teen ages: Youth market romance in Hollywood teen films of the 1980s and 1990s

Description: This thesis examines the differences between teen romantic comedy films marketed to Generation X teenagers in the 1980s and Generation Y teenagers in the 1990s, focusing on the presentation of gender roles, consumptive behavior, and family. The 1980s films are discussed within the social context of the Reagan era and the conservatism of the New Right. The 1990s films are examined as continuing a conservative sensibility, but they additionally posit consumption as instrumental to achieving an idealized romance. Romantic comedy is traditionally a conservative genre, but these films illustrate female liberation through consumption. The source of difference between the cycles of teen romantic comedy is attributed to the media's attempt to position Generation Y teenagers as ideal consumers.
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Date: May 2001
Creator: Murphy, Caryn E.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Presencing Absence

Description: This thesis is a 'big-picture' look at the course of Western philosophy and its eventual arrival at ideas that look remarkably similar to the revelations of Guatama Buddha 2500 years ago. I look at the roots of how the West has understood itself and understood "being" through the centuries and at the revolutions in thought that took place in the 20th century. I look more closely at 20th century thinkers to demonstrate how their thinking begins to align with the ancient insights of Eastern philosophy, particularly the notions of a prevailing emptiness as "ground" of Being and of the fallacy of the individual subject. I also look at how some 20th century artists have engaged with these new ideas. I see generally two responses to the postmodern (post-subject) position: that of a play of surfaces, such as in the work of Andy Warhol and the philosophy of Jean Baudrillard; and that of an embracing of absence, presented in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger and the works of such artists as John Cage, George Brecht, Pauline Oliveros, Bill Wegman, David Hammons and others.
Date: August 2003
Creator: McMullen, Tracy
Partner: UNT Libraries

'Gimme That Ole Time Religion': Traditionalism, Progressivism and Popular Media

Description: This thesis examines the role of Christianity in contemporary American culture using 1990s popular media as cultural artifacts. Building on theories of ideological analysis and hegemony, this project uncovers a balance between progressive and traditionalist ideologies in American culture with progressive ideologies most often superficially acknowledged and incorporated into dominant traditionalist Christian ideologies through hegemonic negotiation. An analysis of the popular Hollywood films The Last Temptation of Christ, Leap of Faith, Michael, City of Angels, Dogma and Keeping the Faith, illustrates this process by addressing Christian dominance in multicultural America, a backlash against feminism constructed through patriarchal and “family values” ideologies, and an integration of popular culture and traditionalist Christianity.
Date: August 2002
Creator: Turner-Reed, Laura
Partner: UNT Libraries

Mama D's 2 Blocks: A Documentary Film

Description: Mama D's 2 Blocks tells the story of a neighborhood home in New Orleans that was transformed into a distribution center and used to assist residents impacted by Hurricane Katrina's devastation in 2005. Mama D stayed at her home throughout the storm and remained there until the floodwaters had subsided. After the water had drained, socially minded youth from all over the country were drawn to Mama D's home and stayed there while supporting local renewal efforts. The film documents their joining together, without electricity or running water, and assisting in the rebuilding process undertaken by Mama D and other neighborhood residents. This film captures a community in action, how it survived, and the first steps taken towards the rebuilding of New Orleans.
Date: May 2007
Creator: Ferris, Mika
Partner: UNT Libraries

Framing Femininity as Insanity: Representations of Mental Illness in Women in Post-Classical Hollywood

Description: From the socially conservative 1950s to the permissive 1970s, this project explores the ways in which insanity in women has been linked to their femininity and the expression or repression of their sexuality. An analysis of films from Hollywood's post-classical period (The Three Faces of Eve (1957), Lizzie (1957), Lilith (1964), Repulsion (1965), Images (1972) and 3 Women (1977)) demonstrates the societal tendency to label a woman's behavior as mad when it does not fit within the patriarchal mold of how a woman should behave. In addition to discussing the social changes and diagnostic trends in the mental health profession that define “appropriate” female behavior, each chapter also traces how the decline of the studio system and rise of the individual filmmaker impacted the films' ideologies with regard to mental illness and femininity.
Date: May 2007
Creator: Kretschmar, Kelly
Partner: UNT Libraries

Attracted to the Medium: An Analysis of Social Behaviors, Advertising, and Youth Culture in the Emerging Mobile Era

Description: This thesis is a reception study that examines potential reasons why the adolescent to college aged demographic of youth culture is embracing communicative and informational mobility. The project attests that the move to mobility is motivated by two major factors, the attraction of being an early adopter of technology and the way social behaviors are made attractive in mobile marketing. Chapter 1 explores the importance of these social behaviors, as they are very much intertwined and contribute to how youth acclimate into society. Chapter 2 demonstrates that creating social distinction and cultural capital is linked to being an early adopter of technology. The remaining portion of the document examines recent mobile advertisements and why youth would be attracted to the aesthetic and thematic elements contained in the advertisements. Chapter 3 examines how Blackberry utilizes the behavior of creating and expressing identity in their advertisements. Chapter 4 focuses on how Apple has worked to create a community centered around their brand. Finally, Chapter 5 looks at how Google/Android has highlighted the acquisition, sharing, and utilization of content through the phenomenon of applications. With this project, I hope to illustrate the rationale why youth would be attracted to communicative and informational mobility.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Battin, Justin M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

¿Cuándo te Veré? “When Will I See You?”

Description: This film examines the phenomenon of a family divided by the U.S.-Mexico border. Saul, the head of the family, migrated north in search of a better life for his wife and children while they stayed behind in Mexico. Not having the documents to cross the border has resulted in being apart from his family for more than ten years. This is a story about separation, pain, and the ultimate sacrifice a family makes as a means of survival.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Colunga, Elizabeth H.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A shanda fur de Yehudim: Jewishness in network sitcom television.

Description: This thesis is a cultural study of Jewishness in network sitcom television. Sources for the study included: historical film analysis, sociological studies on stereotyping and Jewish culture. The thesis studies how past forms of Jewishness impacted the current depictions of Jewishness on the television sitcom. After an introduction discussing Jewishness in general, the second chapter studies Jewishness in Vaudeville and early Hollywood film. The third chapter studies Jewishness in the first 40 years of network sitcom television. The fourth chapter studies Jewishness in the network sitcoms of the 1990s. The conclusions of the study focus on the state of Jewishness on network sitcom television at present, and ask what must be done within the industry to maintain a viable Jewish identity on network sitcom television in the future.
Date: August 2004
Creator: Minnick, Susan L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Lowest of the Low: Scenes of Shame and Self-Deprecation in Contemporary Scottish Cinema

Description: This thesis explores the factors leading to the images of self-deprecation and shame in contemporary Scottish film. It would seem that the causes of these reoccurring motifs may be because the Scottish people are unable to escape from their past and are uneasy about the future of the nation. There is an internal struggle for both Scottish men and women, who try to adhere to their predetermined roles in Scottish culture, but this role leads to violence, alcoholism, and shame. In addition, there is also a fear for the future of the nation that represented in films that feature a connection between children and the creation of life with the death of Scotland's past. This thesis will focus on films created under a recent boom in film production in Scotland beginning in 1994 till the present day.
Date: May 2008
Creator: McCracken, Michael
Partner: UNT Libraries

"Time for Teletubbies": Childhood, Child Participation, and the Struggle for Meaning

Description: 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.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Cowart, Agatha
Partner: UNT Libraries

Memories of Motherland: Gender, Diaspora and National Identity in 1990s Indian Popular Culture

Description: This thesis examines the role of globalization, an open economy and diasporic experiences on the 1990s popular Indian culture, focusing on discourses of gender, national identity and family. Recent Indian beauty queens and international beauty contests are discussed in the context of gendered nationhood in 1990s India. Several popular films of the 1990s are discussed as narratives expressing longing for an extended family and a homogeneous national identity under the leadership of a traditional father figure. In contrast, independent films interrogate the primacy of ethnic and national identity and raise interesting questions about exilic experience. All of these forms of national and popular culture reflect the conflicting and ever-changing anxieties surrounding national identity and the role of women in India.
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Date: May 2002
Creator: Sapre, Manasi
Partner: UNT Libraries

Gender, Identity, and Influence: Hong Kong Martial Arts Films

Description: This project is an examination of the Hong Kong film industry, focusing on the years leading up to the handover of Hong Kong to communist China. The influence of classical Chinese culture on gender representation in martial arts films is examined in order to formulate an understanding of how these films use gender issues to negotiate a sense of cultural identity in the face of unprecedented political change. In particular, the films of Hong Kong action stars Michelle Yeoh and Brigitte Lin are studied within a feminist and cultural studies framework for indications of identity formation through the highlighting of gender issues.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Castillo, Gilbert Gerard
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Question of Queerness: Case Studies of Contemporary American Television

Description: This project utilizes a case study approach to explore the various ways in which the portrayals of gay people have changed on American television. Three contemporary programs - Will & Grace, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and The L Word - are examined as examples of how far American television has progressed in terms of treating gay people with respect. Whether those shows move beyond merely presenting gay characters and into a level of actively challenging mainstream views on gay people is also examined. Findings suggest different factors affect the ability of the individual programs to test said views - including the genres to which each belongs, and their presence on network television (Will & Grace), basic cable (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) or premium cable (The L Word). While all three programs show some tendencies toward queerness, they also take steps toward negotiating with mainstream culture, indicating that complete queerness may be an unattainable goal on American television.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Bentley, Jon Alexander
Partner: UNT Libraries

Wine & Beer

Description: Wine & Beer tells the story of childhood friends Brian and Vic who, after spending some time apart, deal with the tensions of sexual orientation after they attempt to renew their friendship. At the beginning it seems that Vic's sexuality will not be a problem, but after the two friends hang out in a local bar, Brian realizes his hometown is not as tolerant as he is. The couple is faced with family and social concerns, which goes from the argumentative to the violent. As the main characters try to mingle with the conservative town, they soon find themselves looked upon by a small town resistant to change. This 35-minute film explores homophobia and violence in small town USA.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Maysonet, Joel R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

"They Don't Make'em Like They Used To": Cultural Hegemony and the Representation of White Masculinity in Recent U.S. Cinema

Description: The purpose of this work is to illuminate how white male hegemony over women and minorities is inscribed through the process of film representation. A critical interrogation of six film texts produced over the last decade yields pertinent examples of how the process of hegemonic negotiation works to maintain power for the ever changing modes of postindustrial masculinity. Through the process of crisis and recuperation the central male characters in these films forge new, more acceptable attributes of masculinity that allow them to retain their centrality in the narrative.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Schneider, Matthew
Partner: UNT Libraries

Playing Nice: the Limitations and Stereotypes Placed on Female Hero Representation in Video Games

Description: This thesis provides an investigation of how gender stereotypes affect the narrative, mechanics, and experience of three different console based video games (Venetica, WET, and Velvet Assassin) with female protagonist. Each game is addressed within separate case study chapters and discusses how gender is integrated and intertwined with each narrative structure, image representation, and interactivity. Further analysis is provided in each case study as gender is addressed across several parts of each game, beginning with the female protagonist’s role as hero, her representation throughout the game (i.e. body image, attire, and weapons), and the game play experience. In conclusion, this thesis shows that the protagonist gender within a video game does affect the game in its entirety. More specifically, all three female heroines discussed in this thesis showcases stereotypes associated with the dominant sexual representation of female video game characters, as well as similar traditional feminine and masculine stereotypes associated with heroines in film and television. This provides for rather problematic representations of female heroes, alone with the games designed for them which are equally as stereotypical in their narrative, mechanics, and game play.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Cisneros, Linet L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

True Bromance: Representation of Masculinity and Heteronormative Dominance in the Bromantic Comedy

Description: This project explores the representation of white, American masculinity within the Hollywood bromantic comedy cycle. By analyzing three interrelated components (close homosociality, infantilization, and relationship to patriarchy) of the model of masculinity perpetuated by this cycle of films, this study reveals the hegemonic motives therein. Despite the representation of a masculinity nervously questioning its position within the romantic comedy narrative and the broader patriarchal structure, the results of this representation are, ultimately, regressive and reactionary. Cultural gains made concerning gender, sexuality, and race are doubled back upon in a cycle of films that appeal to regressive modes of misogyny, homophobia, and racism still present in Hollywood filmmaking, and the hegemony of white, patriarchal heteronormativity is rigorously maintained.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Hartwell, David B.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Textual Analysis of the Closer and Saving Grace: Feminist and Genre Theory in 21St Century Television

Description: Television is a universally popular medium that offers a myriad of choices to viewers around the world. American programs both reflect and influence the culture of the times. Two dramatic series, The Closer and Saving Grace, were presented on the same cable network and shared genre and design. Both featured female police detectives and demonstrated an acute awareness of postmodern feminism. The Closer was very successful, yet Saving Grace, was cancelled midway through the third season. A close study of plot lines and character development in the shows will elucidate their fundamental differences that serve to explain their widely disparate reception by the viewing public.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Stone, Lelia M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Piracy on the Ground: How Informal Media Distribution and Access Influences Cultures in Contemporary Hanoi, Viet Nam

Description: This thesis explores how pirate cultures and “informal” distribution circuits operate on the ground level and integrate global media texts (mainly Hollywood films) into a small section of the local everyday society of Hanoi, Viet Nam. Situating the pirate stores and its components as active and central, this thesis will examine the physical flow of media through these store sites. In addition, by exploring the interactions between media texts, store owners and workers, customers, and the store’s design itself, this thesis will reveal how media piracy (as a form of distribution and “normal” access) influences and negotiates modernity, cultures, identities, and meanings in Hanoi and Viet Nam.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Tran, Anthony
Partner: UNT Libraries