Project #158370 - Paper work

Philosophy Tutors

Subject Philosophy
Due By (Pacific Time) 12/09/2016 12:00 pm

Project Information




  • Five pages minimum of standard text, preferably typed, double-spaced.
  • Notes—internal, foot or endnotes used to document the use of quotations or ideas from your research sources.
  • Bibliography—a list of all sources used.  There should be a minimum of four (4) works consulted, but these can be of any medium (for example: books, magazine articles, websites, movies, television shows, visits, interviews, etc.).  Dictionary definitions do not count as sources but encyclopedia entries, including online sources like Wikipedia, do count as sources.
  • Sources used for factual information (secondary sources) should be reputable.  Be aware of who is saying what and why the information they are providing should be trusted.  Primary sources used as examples can be as disreputable as you like of course.
  • All papers will be due and turned in by Wednesday, December 14th, 2016 during the class period.


The topic of the project is up to you but must examine some element of the confluence or relationship between religion and popular culture.  You might do a paper on the representation of religion in popular media, for example how Native religious traditions are portrayed in Avatar, or Christianity in Family Guy or Supernatural, or mythological elements in World of Warcraft online gaming.  You might write about the use of popular culture in religion, for example religious tattoos or piercings, Christian Contemporary Music, Hare Krishna punk rock bands, the use of media technology in worship services, the Christian Wrestling Federation or online Jewish matchmaking services.  You might explore the use of religious imagery in popular culture, in Lady Gaga, Kanye West or Marilyn Manson videos for example, or the portrayal of the afterlife in Hollywood films, or Asian religious imagery in drug cultures.  You could look at elements of popular culture that have a religious quality, like the rave scene, 12 step programs, online gaming communities, fans of the Grateful Dead, Star Trek, or sports.  You could examine tensions between religion and popular culture or culture war issues like perspectives on censorship, secularization, war, family planning, environmentalism, sexual orientation, gender and sexuality issues, or you might look at the formation of new religious movements or the connection between celebrities and religion, like Richard Gere’s Buddhism or Tom Cruise’s Scientology.  Your focus could be local, national or international, religious, spiritual, moral or therapeutic, mass-cultural, sub-cultural, folk-cultural or avant-garde.


The choice of topics is very broad, but the one you settle on should be approved by the instructor before you get too far with it.  Let me know if you need help coming up with an idea.  Be prepared to let me know what you have in mind by the end of November at latest.  You may turn in a draft for evaluation and feedback any time before the due date if you wish, or simply bounce ideas off of me as you go along.  Let me know if you have any questions and, by all means, have fun with this project!



Suggested Bibliographic Format:


Fiske, John.  Understanding Popular Culture.  Unwin Hyman: London, 1989.


Holland, Suzanne.  “Our Ladies of the Airwaves: Judge Judy, Dr. Laura, and the New Public Confessional” in God in the Details: American Religion in Popular Culture.  Eric Michael Mazur and Kate McCarthy, eds.  Routledge: New York, 2001.


Stigmata.  Movie.  Rupert Wainwright, dir.  1999.


“Father Lucifer”.  Song.  Tori Amos.  Boys for Pele.  Atlantic: New York, 1996.


Pope Benedict XVI.  Telephone Interview.  Vatican City.  11 January, 2006.


First United Methodist Church of Tucson.  Worship Service Visit.  5 January, 2006.


The Simpsons.  Fox, Channel 11.  Tucson, AZ.  5:30p.m., 13 January 2002.


Colson, Charles W.  “A Secret Your Teenager Should Hear”.  Good News, Vol. 14, No. 5 (May 2001), p. 23.  HinduNet, Inc.  14 January 2002.  Richard Dawkins reading from his book, The God Delusion, and question/answer session at Randolph-Macon Women’s College, Lynchburg, VA., 23 October, 2006 (part 2).


An easy and informal way to do notes for a paper would be to number your bibliography and then every time you make use of one of your sources, provide the number of the source and the page number (if applicable) in parentheses.  If you use two sources by the same author or with the same title, be sure to distinguish them in your notes.    





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