Archive | May, 2012

Final Study Guide

6 May

Below you will find the study guide for the final. You will also receive a copy in lecture next Monday (May 14th). I will answer general questions tomorrow about them tomorrow then on May 14th we can talk more in depth as this will give you time to process the question and form an outline  for each of them. Two questions from this list will appear on the final.


1) In 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote that “if a nation expects to be ignorant and free…it expects what never was and never will be.”  Write an essay in which you discuss the ways that the rise of public relations in the 20th and 21st centuries relates to Jefferson’s concern.  How has the field of public relations been used to mislead, distract, and/or inform the public? How do you think shifting ideas about the public, and changing strategies for communicating with the public, have affected the quality of public awareness and civic engagement?

You must:

A. Ground your argument historically by utilizing clear examples from at least three of the following in developing your essay: “Century of the Self,” “Visiting Edward Bernays,” “Selling Lucky Strike Cigarettes to Women,” or online reserve selections from Walter Lippmann.

B. Cite examples from recent events in contemporary society to support illustrate your argument.


2) In The Photoplay: A Psychological Study (1916), Hugo Münsterberg claimed that movies “act as our imagination acts. [They have] the mobility of our ideas which are not controlled by the physical necessity of outer events but by the psychological laws for the association of ideas.  In our mind past and future become intertwined with the present. The photoplay obeys the laws of the mind rather than those of the outer world.”


Imagine that you are a film critic writing for a New York City newspaper in 1924. Write a review of “Sherlock, Jr.” (1924) as if you had just watched it for the first time. Compare it to “The Kleptomaniac” (1905) and “A Corner in Wheat” (1909), making specific references to plot, scenes and filmmaking techniques used in each film. Discuss the evolution of storytelling from a method based on the factual presentation of “outer events” to one that increasingly “obeys the laws of the mind.” Also include ideas about changing audiences, making reference to lectures and the “City Lights” article. What social developments may have influenced the change towards an increasingly psychological approach to storytelling?


3) Edward Bernays argued that “the right to persuade” was a natural extension of the Bill of Rights, and that public relations techniques were consistent with the values of democracy. To what extent do you agree, or disagree with Bernays’ argument? Write a well-argued essay in which you juxtapose pro- and counter-arguments. What is your final conclusion? Be sure to read Bernays’s “Engineering of Consent,” Ewen’s “Visiting Edward Bernays,” and the Walter Lippmann selections before attempting to answer this question.  Your essay should demonstrate a working familiarity with these texts, and with pertinent issues raised in the second half of the course.


4) In lectures, as well as in Bernays’ “Selling Lucky Strike Cigarettes to Women,” we see how advertising, from the 1920s onwards, began to speak less about the products being sold and more and more about the lives, aspirations, and anxieties of prospective consumers. Discuss the ways three social realities of an emerging consumer society helped propel this change. What assumptions about “consumers” and the best way to persuade them may have contrib­uted to the emergence of modern advertising strategies? Select a recent magazine advertisement or television commercial that has appeared this semester (between September and December 2011) and discuss how the lived experience of consumers [including desires, fears and/or aspirations] continues to be reflected in product advertising. Be sure to include a copy or detailed description of the adver­tisement you are analyzing along with your answer.


5) In the second half of the course, we have explored the ways that the idea of self-improvement, or the construction of self, has evolved from Benjamin Franklin in the late 18th century through the promises offered by 21st century advertising.  Write an essay in which you compare and contrast the tale of before and after in relation to three of the following.


  1. Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography;
  2. Horatio Alger’s Ragged Dick;
  3. Buster Keaton, “Sherlock Junior”;
  4. Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X;
  5. The rise of modern advertising, and its emerging concept of self;
  6. “The Story of Stuff.”



Campaign Presentations

1 May

I will be sending out a google doc with two dates to present your campaign either May 7th or May 14th. I would be appreciative if I could have volunteers for atleast two groups to present their campaigns for next Monday. I will be sending a google doc shortly to sign up for dates. Therefore, we can spend some time on the last lab going over exam questions. For those of you who present on Monday May 7th you can turn in the proposal into me on May 14th instead of the listed date of May 9th (you can either email me or give it to me in lecture) .