MS 190: Authorship is the course website for the Fall 2006 Media Studies senior seminar at Pomona College in Claremont, California.
Wow! So we got that first big chunk of thesis out of the way. I am so relieved. It took me so long to completely figure out my interest and how they could all be molded into a coherent, structured argument.
(It ended up being about the relationship between women and the digital biography--past, present, future, and how they are using it for activism, expression, and more. I ended up dropping a lot of that crazy talk from class presentations about how post-postmodernism=feminine=multimedia. It was faulty logic and not practical.)
So, going on now to plan the next stages of thesis, I went to look at some examples from last year. One thesis stuck out to me in particular: Melissa Budinic's "It's a Theme Park After All: Constructing Disney as a Postmodern World's Fair." Because Disney has long been a fascination of mine, and because I find postmodern theory very interesting, this topic appealed to me. It also seemed to be of real interest to Melissa, which really showed in her writing.
Some quick observations helpful in writing a thesis:
*about 60 pages long
*about 4 pages worth of references (works consulted, as well as works cited)
*appendix of images (a nice touch, I think)
*quotes to start off chapters (with interesting intro on quote perhaps, like a fyi trivia history bit)
*In historical sections, she seems to make generalizations, without necessarily quoting every little thing. That makes sense to me, because it is practically general knowledge when so many books so the same thing. I want to double-check on this though. Also, it is not just history that she gives, but an analysis of that history, synthesizing various sources to show the impact of various events.
*The bibliographies of old theses contain excellent sources.
I also want to give a general summary of her structure, as guidance for myself (and maybe for some of you):
1. Prologue: Once Upon a Time--introduces thesis and basic ideas, (Thesis: "In my thesis I would like to discover how this concept [Utopian Disney Realism] is applied to Disney's theme parks and why this type of realism is so successfully promoted. I would also like to discuss how Disney's representations of reality are a result of the influence of world's fairs, and demonstrate that Disney has now taken over for the fairs as the world's harbingers of culture" (2).) gives background on information/studies already available on her topic, general terms to know, introduction to all chapters; uses first-person "I" and "my" thesis (uses "we" throughout essay; chapter 3: "The two attractions I am focusing onâ€¦"(49))
2. Chapter 1: It All Began With a Fair--history of world's fairs and Disney company/theme parks
3. Chapter 2: The Happiest Places on Earth--design of Disney theme parks, traffic flow, exterior/interior spaces, compared to world's fairs; 2 main examples: "It's a Small World" and the World Showcase at Epcot Center (with pix)
4. Chapter 3: It's a Small World, After All--assessment of cultural impact of Disney and world's fairs, with thoughts for the future; addresses Disney criticisms, corporate backing, participating nationalities, politics, specific examples (Morocco pavilion (53))
5. Epilogue: Happily Ever After? (short, 3-4 pages)--Conclusion: "Therefore, the reverence of Disney as the new harbinger of culture presents a problematic outlook to its future audiences" (61).
I hope that maybe some of you find this helpful. It was great for me to see one of these in its completed form. Really, we are about a third done, and that makes me feel pretty good. If y'all want to check out the theses, they are located in the Media Studies library in Hahn. Later!