Uploaded by Matthew Boateng

Course Syllabus 2023-2024

Woodsworth College
ABP106Y1Y Fall 2023/Winter 2024
Class: Wednesdays 6-9 pm
Woodsworth Room 120
Michael P. Lapointe, PhD (he/him)
Online Office hours: Thursdays: 5-6 pm
A Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes the unique and enduring
relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories. For more
information, please visit https://indigenous.utoronto.ca/about/land-acknowledgement/
I wish to acknowledge this land on which the University of Toronto operates. For thousands of
years, it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of
the Credit. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across
Turtle Island, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to live and work on this land.
This interdisciplinary course provides an introduction to the cultural and social impacts of
present-day popular mass media. Themes explored include the economic and political forces that
shape the media world, the role of technology, and issues of representation, race, gender,
sexuality, and social justice. The course examines a wide range of texts, emphasizing popular
culture produced in Canada, and students will have the opportunity to draw extensively on their
own interactions with popular media.
The development of reflective and critical knowledge of the course discipline
The development of critical thinking skills transferable to subsequent studies within and
outside the discipline of Cultural Studies
A stronger and more fluid integration between reading, writing, and research as tools of
critical and creative thinking
Opportunities to make connections between the course material, your lived experience,
and your emerging academic interests.
Intellectual Property Rights:
Dr. Michael Lapointe holds the copyright in the works of all original materials used in this
course, and students registered in this course can use the materials for the purposes of this
course but no other use is permitted. There can be no sale or transfer or use of the work for
any other purpose without explicit permission of Dr. Michael Lapointe.
Successful Completion:
Students must achieve an average final mark of C (63%) with at least a 50% on the final
examination in order to pass the course and qualify for part-time admission to the Faculty of Arts
and Science. A final mark of B (73%) is required for full time admission.
Students are expected to attend classes regularly, submit academic work on time,
and meet important deadlines. Students who fail to meet these academic expectations may
have their registration with the University rescinded and be removed from the Academic
Bridging Program at any time during the term.
Academic Integrity:
Students will be taught the proper way to document sources, submit assignments and sit
exams and a number of guidelines are available from the Writing Centre. However, students
must be aware that it is their responsibility to avoid Plagiarism, which is dealt with severely at
the University. For their own protection, students are urged to keep their notes, rough drafts, and
photocopies of their essay until the original is returned. Instructors may ask to see the notes or
rough drafts or may examine students orally on the topic of their paper. Complete and correct
documentation in MLA is expected for citing research sources.
Chat GPT and Generative AI
The use of generative artificial intelligence tools and apps is strictly prohibited in all course
assignments unless explicitly stated otherwise by the instructor in this course. This includes
ChatGPT and other AI writing and coding assistants. Use of generative AI in this course may be
considered use of an unauthorized aid, which is a form of academic dishonesty.
Academic Writing Centre:
Students are expected to make use of the Woodsworth College Academic Writing Centre
for online help with writing assignments. Individual online appointments can be made:
Late/Missed Assignments and Penalties:
Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the date specified unless a special,
personal extension has been granted by the instructor. A late penalty of 1% per day to a
maximum of 5% per week may be deducted.
Students who are late with an assignment or miss an in-class exercise because of illness
must complete the standard University medical certificate.
Students who miss an in-class exercise must inform the instructor as soon as possible,
and, if there is a legitimate excuse, they will be allowed to make-up the work on a day and time
set by the Bridging Office.
All course work from the first half of the course needs to be completed and submitted by the
beginning of the second half (January 8, 2024) unless a special arrangement has been arranged
with the instructor.
Quercus and Electronic Communication:
Every student is required to have a UTOR account, including a utoronto.ca e-mail
address which is the means of all official communication with the University, the Academic
Bridging Program, and the instructor (no other e-mail address is accepted).
E-mail is the best way to communicate with the instructor but should be used sparingly
and mainly for important questions and urgent situations. Instructors will reply in a reasonable
amount of time. E-mail or hard copy (paper) is also the best way to submit assignments and
tests. Please no PDFs and do not post to Quercus.
Quercus (a learning management tool) provides the course with its own internet site. It
allows students to access course materials and announcements, to view their various marks and
to participate in online discussions. Students are required to use Quercus and are expected to
check the site regularly.
Class and Online Etiquette:
Students are expected to conform to standard university decorum, which includes no
chatting with friends, eating during lectures, arriving late, walking out of class except during
scheduled breaks, or interrupting the person speaking. Every student will display respect
towards the instructor and other students and their opinions, and this respectful attitude will also
be demonstrated in e-mails and on Quercus according to the rules of netiquette.
Electronic Devices:
All cell phones, Blackberries, iPhones, and iPods, etc. should be turned off at all times.
Copyright rules prohibit the taping of lectures and class discussions without the permission of the
instructor. No recording of any kind is allowed.
Accessibility Needs (www.accessibility.utoronto.ca)
If you require accommodations for a disability, or have any accessibility concerns about the
course, the classroom or course materials, please contact Accessibility Services as soon as
Mental Health Statement
As a student, you may experience a range of issues that may become barriers to learning, such as
strained relationships, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation.
These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance
or reduce your ability to participate in daily activities. The University of Toronto offers various
services to assist you with these and other concerns. You can access a broad range of
confidential mental health services available on campus by visiting
Essay Tests:
All students are required to write two essay tests, each valued at 5% of the final mark.
The test essays should be approximately 500-700 words in length.
Essay Test Dates:
04 October
28 February
Midterm Test:
There is also a comprehensive midterm test (15%) consisting of short identifications and
a choice of essay questions.
Written on: 6 December
Research Essay Proposal:
All students are required to submit a written proposal in which the proposed essay topic,
thesis and sources consulted are discussed. Instructions for writing the research essay proposal,
valued at 10% of the final mark, will be distributed in class/Quercus.
Due Date:
22 November
Oral Presentation:
All students will present a live oral presentation (in class) on a course related topic of
their choice, most sensibly related to their research paper topic. The presentation is to be 5-7
minutes in length with an accompanying slide deck and is worth 5% of the final mark.
Due Date:
20 March or 27 March
Research Essay:
Instructions for researching and writing research essays, including rules for the
documentation of sources, will be distributed and discussed in class/Quercus. The research essay
should be approximately 2000 words in length (about 8 pages type-printed pages, double-spaced)
and is valued at 15% of the final mark. A list of suggested topics will be distributed. Students
must consult at least five academic sources, excluding textbooks and online sources. The use of
Wikipedia and other non-authoritative sources is not recommended.
Due Date:
27 March
All written work will be graded on style, composition, and grammar, as well as on
content and analysis. It should follow the appropriate guidelines as set forth by the instructor
and in the guide: Instant Access: The Pocket Handbook for Writers or any other standard writing
guide. Please consult the very helpful website: Writing Advice at University of Toronto:
All students are expected to participate fully in the weekly class meetings outlined above.
Participation is valued at 5% of the final mark
04 October
22 November
6 December
28 February
20 March/27 March
27 March
Essay Test #1
Research Proposal
Midterm Test
Essay Test #2
Oral Presentation
Research Essay
Final Exam
Percent of
Final Mark:
Jason Haslam, Thinking Popular Culture. Toronto: Pearson, 2016.
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale. 1985. Toronto: Emblem, 2014.
Ins Choi, Kim’s Convenience. Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2012.
Extra supplementary readings and video links will be posted on Quercus in the course
All books are available at the University of Toronto Bookstore at the corner of St. George
and College and through Amazon.ca. Students may purchase electronic versions of the texts.
Hardcopies are far better for taking notes, however.
Course Content Note
At times, this year we will be discussing controversial topics that may be disturbing, even
traumatizing, to some students. Students are expected to conduct themselves in a mature manner.
If you suspect that specific material is likely to be emotionally challenging for you, I’d be happy
to discuss any concerns you may have before the subject comes up in class. Likewise, if you ever
wish to discuss your personal reactions to course material with the class or with me individually
afterwards, I welcome such discussions as an appropriate part of our classwork.
If you ever feel the need to temporarily leave a class discussion you may always do so without
academic penalty. You will, however, be responsible for any material you miss. If you do leave
the room for a significant time, please make arrangements to get notes from another student or
contact me individually to discuss the situation.
ABP106Y Media, Culture, and Society (Fall 2023/Winter 2024)
Instructor: Dr. Michael Patrick Lapointe
September 13
General Introduction to the Course
September 20
Defining Popular Culture in the 21st Century
Haslam’s Thinking Popular Culture Chapter 1
Quercus: Szeman & O’Brien’s “Chapter 10: Popular Culture in the 21st
Quercus: Jaron Lanier’s “Argument One: You are Losing Your Free Will”
September 27
Writing Workshop #1
October 4
The History of Popular Culture
Quercus: Szeman & O’Brien’s “Chapter 2: History of Popular Culture”
ESSAY TEST #1 (5%)
October 11
Theories of Representation
Haslam’s Thinking Popular Culture Chapters 2, 5, and 8* (pgs. 147-152).
October 18
Representation and Indigenous People
Quercus: nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up
Haslam’s Thinking Popular Culture Chapter 13
Quercus: Thomas King’s “One Good Story, That One”
October 25
Ins Choi’s Kim’s Convenience
November 1
Library Tour
November 8
Reading Week (no classes ☺)
November 15
The Corporation
Quercus: Croteau & Hoynes Chapter 4
November 22
The Corporation
November 29
Black Representation
Haslam’s Thinking Popular Culture Chapter 12
Quercus: Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist (excerpts)
Quercus: Justin Simien’s Dear White People (excerpts)
Quercus: Eternity Martis (excerpts)
December 6th
Midterm Test (15%)
January 10
Manufacturing Consent
Quercus: Alan MacLeod’s “Introduction/Chapter 3 Five Filters”
January 17
Canadian Media
Quercus: TBA
January 24
Research Paper Writing Workshop #2
January 31
Feminism & LGBT+ (Gender, Sexuality, and the Body)
Haslam’s Thinking Popular Culture Chapters 10 and 11
February 7
Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale
February 14
Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale
February 21
Reading Week (no classes ☺)
February 28
Contemporary Canadian Visual Arts
Haslam’s Thinking Popular Culture Chapter 13
ESSAY TEST #2 (5%)
March 6
Writing Workshop #3
March 13
Marvel Cinematic Universe vs. DC Extended Universe
Quercus: TBA
March 20
March 27
April 3