Application of Criminological Theory to Popular Film

Essay ? Application of Criminological Theory to Popular Film:
The essay is designed to improve your ability to research and critically examine how crime is represented in popular media. Drawing on research literature and key course themes and concepts relating to explanations of criminal behaviour, you will critically examine how crime is represented and explained in one film or documentary.

Your research essay must have a clear thesis statement, and must be primarily analytical rather than descriptive.

You must choose from the following films for your essay:
? American Gangster (2007)
? A Clockwork Orange (1971) *
? A Rebel Without a Cause (1955) *
? Blow (2001)
? Boyz n the Hood (1991)
? Catch Me If You Can (2002)
? Dangerous Minds (1995)
? Falling Down (1993) *
? The Godfather Part 2 (1974) *
? Goodfellas (1990)
? The Grifters (1990)
? The Italian Job (1969 or 2003)
? Matchstick Men (2003)
? Memento (2000) *
? Menace II Society (1993)
? Monster (2003)
? Natural Born Killers (1994)
? The Negotiator (1998)
? Ocean?s Eleven (2001)
? The Outsiders (1983)
? Reservoir Dogs (1992) *
? Now You See Me (1; 2013 or 2; 2016 )
? Black Mass (2015) ? Scarface (1983)
? Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
? Smack (2000) *
? The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) *
? Taxi Driver (1976)
? Thelma and Louise (1991) *
? Thirteen (2003)
? The Usual Suspects (1994) *
? The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
? The Town (2010)
? Donnie Brasco (1997)
? L?on: The Professional (1994)
Note: * denotes that the film is available for viewing in the library.

If you wish to select a film/documentary not listed above that relates to a criminological theory covered in the course, you must have the approval of the course instructor, prior to beginning the research process.

Evaluation Criteria

Your essay will be graded using the following criteria:
? the quality of your analysis (this includes your comprehension, interpretation and critical evaluation of both course materials and the research literature on your topic and how well you relate them to the film selected);
? the structure of your essay (how well you develop a clear, coherent line of argument);
? direct references to and citation of course materials;
? and how well you follow instructions.
? Problems with organization, logic and clarity, as well as errors in grammar, spelling and syntax will figure significantly in the grading process, so thoroughly review and edit your essay prior to submitting it.

? Your essay must be 5 to 7 pages in length, not including the cover page (see instructions below) and bibliography.
? Your essay must be double-spaced and typed using a 12 point font and 1 inch margins.
? Late assignments will will incur a 5% penalty.
? An additional 5% penalty will be applied for each working day that an essay is late.
? The maximum penalty that can be assessed to a late essay is 30% (5% for not submitting at the beginning of lecture, and 5 working days @ 5% per day). Extensions will be granted only in exceptional circumstances and must be arranged in advance of the due date. Documentation (e.g. medical) will be requested.

? Your research essay must include lecture, textbook and other course materials

Your essay must include the following components:
? Cover / Title page: Your title page must include a title for your essay that represents your thesis statement and sets the tone for your essay (centre, bold the title and place it about half way down the page). Also include your name, identification number, the instructor?s name, the course for which the essay is written, and the date of submission. These items are usually located near the right-hand bottom corner of the title page.
? Introduction: Include a broad statement that identifies the film selected and the criminological theory or theories that you believe relate to the representation of crime. The introduction should set the context of your essay and end with your thesis statement. When developing your thesis statement, consider how criminological theory helps you to understand the crime(s) being depicted in the film selected.
? Body: The body of your essay will include main ideas with corresponding supporting arguments that relate back to your thesis statement. For each main idea to support your thesis statement, include concrete examples from the research literature and the film selected. Basically, in the body of your essay you will be summarizing the main themes, concepts and research findings mentioned in the sources that you selected and explain how they relate to the film and help to support your thesis. You may find subheadings useful to organize your essay.
The body of your essay must include / consider the following:
o A brief summary of the film and brief description of the criminological theories reflected in the film.
o More significantly, your essay must include comparisons of the film to what we know about explanations of crime. How closely does the film reflect explanations of crime covered in the course? Consider how the film affects the average viewer?s understanding of the causes of crime and whether that understanding is accurate or inaccurate. Consider the limitations and strengths of the theory / theories selected in relation to the film. What are some biases in the film?s depiction of crime and its causes?
o Based on the representation of the causes of crime in the film, identify and critically evaluate a criminal justice response / policy to reduce crime. For example, if a film like ?Dangerous Minds? depicts the causes of crime as being linked to poverty, what type of policy has been / might be introduced to address poverty as a cause of crime? What does the text or course materials say about such a policy / response and its effectiveness?
? Conclusion: In your conclusion, provide the reader with a summary of the main arguments covered in your essay. Summarize the contribution made by the film to your understanding of the causes of crime and a relevant criminal justice policy / response that may arise from such an understanding. You must also raise a question related to your research topic that you feel needs to be studied in the future.
? A List of References / Bibliography:
? Students taking this course agree that the research essay and other assignments may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to for the detection of plagiarism. Failure to submit will result in a grade of zero on the assignment. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. Use of the service is subject to the terms of agreement posted on the website. Students who do not want their work submitted to this plagiarism detection service must, by the end of the second week of class, consult with the instructor to make alternate arrangements.

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