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Trans gaze in the movie Tangerine

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Units 2, 3, and 4 Exams: Black, Indigenous, and Trans* Gazes


Review and synthesize course materials and concepts at the end of each unit. Opportunity to further consider and demonstrate comprehension of each unit’s ideas.


Using two course readings and one course film for each, answer the following unit questions in a well-organized essay due at the end of each respective unit:

  • Unit 2: How can cinema position the spectator to see/hear through a critical black feminist gaze?
  • Unit 3: How can cinema facilitate a return gaze from indigenous feminine subjectivity?
  • Unit 4: How can cinema position the spectator to see/hear through a trans* gaze?


3-4 pages (about 5-6 paragraphs) double spaced, clear font, 1 inch margins, small header with name, submit via Canvas.


Directly answer the question in your introduction and briefly introduce the two course readings and one course film you will use. Comprehensively summarize one idea you will use from the first reading. Comprehensively summarize one idea from the second reading. Provide a detailed example from the film to illustrate these ideas (no plot summary, be very specific). Bring the ideas and example together in the conclusion to show how they answer the question. See Grading Guide below for suggested organization (answer to question, reading 1, reading 2, film analysis example, conclusion.)


You should NOT need to look for outside sources for this assignment. All the information you need is in the course readings and films, our class discussions, and other course materials. If you do use outside ideas, you must cite them properly. Otherwise, you can assume that our syllabus counts as your works cited page and simply refer to authors by name when you use their ideas in your essay. Avoid extensive quotes; summarize ideas in your own words and credit the source. (Ex: Stryker argues that…)

Regarding the film, cite the film the first time you mention it formatted as film titles are in the syllabus: Title (director, country, year, time). Use just the title (in italics), thereafter. To introduce a character: Character’s Name (Actor’s Name). Thereafter, just use the character’s name, NOT the actor’s name (unless you are specifically discussing something about the acting.)

Tips, Tips, and More Tips:

  • Directly answer the question. Your answer is the thesis for the essay.
  • Clearly summarize – in your own words – each author’s argument. You can use the reading’s overall argument or one sub-point from the reading. Be specific.
  • Identify and define key terms (such as rupture, the negation of black representation, the ethnographic gaze, whiteness, fantasy, transgender time, etc.), referencing (but not excessively quoting) authors where needed. Summarize their arguments in your own words (hooks argues…; Columpar says that the colonial gaze is…).
  • Be very precise in your description of each filmic element (such as, eye-line match or non-diegetic music) you discuss as an example to illustrate your point. Avoid plot summary. A sentence or two of plot summary in your introduction is fine; more than that is a waste of writing space, thinking time, and reading effort.
  • To frame your analysis, say something like, “As Columpar argues, the colonial gaze in cinema constructs indigenous people as sub-human. In Pirates of the Caribbean, this is evident in the exaggerated costuming of Caribbean Islanders. In the Islander scene, the film shows the Islanders in long shots where their bone jewelry blends together to create one exotic spectacle…” Later, you could say, “Rhymes for Young Ghouls refutes a colonial gaze when it does…”
  • In response, I am likely to say something like, “It sounds like you’re saying this scene exoticizes Islanders through cinematography. Whose point of view is the camera taking here? Is it just the camera? Or is it lined up with a certain character’s point of view?” I also tend to ask, “Where is the camera in relation to …,” “Do you think the film knows that it is doing this?” “Whose point of view does the film want the spectator to see?” You can anticipate these in advance and edit your essay accordingly.
  • Do NOT pontificate about the history of cinema in your introduction or conclusion; I will ruthlessly cross out unnecessary fluff or broad arguments that cannot be proven in a short essay. Instead, very briefly introduce your chosen readings and film and give a precise thesis that you can prove using those materials in a short essay.
  • Again, you should NOT need to search for outside information. The purpose of this assignment is for you to practice the type of analysis we did in class this week and to show me you understand the readings and concepts as we (not google) discussed them.
  • Helpful resources:
    • Review the discussion instructions for each day of the unit. You can also find guidance in my responses to individual student replies or to the discussion thread, in general.
    • Review the unit powerpoint for summaries, links, and additional discussion questions to generate ideas.
    • Samples responses from previous students (slightly different formats, but same topics) are available for you to peruse.
  • Film analysis terms (Use them if you understand them, provide rich description if you don’t.):
    • Use film analysis language if you have it. If you do not have experience with formal film analysis, simply describe what the film element looks and sounds like.

ENG/CINE 381M: Film, Media, and Culture

Dr. Allison McGuffie

Units 2, 3, and 4 Exam Essays

 Grading Guide

(Staple to Back of Paper)

Grading Guide:PointsNotes
Directly answers the question with an answer that reflects deep consideration of course materials.  (2 points)____ 
Clear, correct summary of an important idea from one course reading.  (4 points)____ 
Clear, correct summary of an important idea from a second course reading. (4 points)____ 
Provides close analysis of specific details from the course film that illustrate the ideas discussed. (4 points)____ 
Conclusion brings readings and film together to answer the question. (2 points)____ 
Clearly written and well-organized essay. (2 points)____ 
Demonstrates attention to course materials and discussion; demonstrates thoughtfulness on the consequences of the unit question and the student’s answer. (2 points)____ 
Total:____÷ 5 = _________
 out of 20out of 4.0

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