By undertaking this assignment, students will:

Practice analyzing the rhetoric and representation of hackers, technology and technological culture in popular films/books/games
Demonstrate their analytical skill by isolating their focus to specific representations, content, themes and ideas within a text/film/game to produce a coherent essay with a clear thesis
Demonstrate an ability to draw and create thematic links between academic readings (theory & history) from our course to popular media
For this assignment you will provide a critical essay on the representation of hackers, technology and technological culture in a film, book or game (texts) which you will select from a list provided by the instructor. To provide a clear analysis, you will want to identify and isolate specific ideas, events, mechanics, themes, passages or structures from within your media selection that you can relate to readings from our course, or other academic readings (journal articles, academic books) on hackers you have identified in your research. Students are free to integrate other academic research materials they find or from other courses and to integrate interviews with authors, directors and developers (non-academic sources) of the media selection they feel are relevant.

Essays should follow a standard structure, with an introduction that includes a thesis statement & rationale, a number of body paragraphs to support the thesis and a conclusion. A good thesis statement will establish a clear position and analysis on an essay. A good essay has enough body paragraphs necessary to support its argument: this is not a fixed number.

APA in-text citations & an APA styled bibliography
Minimum length: 1,500 words
Maximum length: 2,000 words
Pages should be numbered
3-5 references to scholarly articles/books (of those, at least 1-2 from our course readings)

Questions a media analysis might want to answer:

Is there a relationship between technology and politics in your media selection? Is technology used for oppressive purposes? Empowering ones? What is the relationship between hackers and technology in your media selection?

Is there a relationship between hackers and politics and/or economics in your media selection?

What do hackers do in your media selection? How is their skill/talent portrayed? Is this portrayal important? Is it important that this portrayal is realistic?

How are the identities of hackers and/or hacker culture portrayed in your media selection? Does your media selection establish a specific criterion for who is and who isn’t considered a hacker? Is race and/or gender a factor in who is and who isn’t a hacker?

Can you identify any historical parallels between your media and historical events or figures?

Good advice:

Do not spend an excessive amount of time summarizing your media selection in any great detail. This is not a book report. Instead integrate summary into your analysis.
Focus on analysis and not personal criticisms. A critical essay should establish a link between ideas in your readings and lectures to themes and ideas from your media selection.
Identify elements of your media selection that allow you to make a coherent and cohesive argument. Do not try and explain everything that happens in your media selection, instead try to find threads of related ideas from our course and in the text. This will make it easier to write a strong thesis.

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