Academic Samples

Below are samples of my academic work as well as a presentation I created for a series of workshops on media literacy at University of Detroit Jesuit High School. The samples can be read on this site by clicking on the titles or downloaded as PDF or PowerPoint presentation files.


The Burden of Being a Woman: Female Spectacle and Gender Performativity in the Television Series Mad Men, 2012
Written to complete the essay requirement for the Media Studies concentration, this essay looks at the ways in which Mad Men creator  Matthew Weiner uses the three lead female characters — Betty, Joan and Peggy — to assert the spectacle and performative aspects of femininity in the series and examines how these portrayals function within the storylines of these three characters to represent the shifting roles of women in the 1960s. Download PDF.


Portrayals of Female Teen Rebellion in Hollywood Films of the 1950s, 2011
Portrayals of teenage rebellion in the 1950s primarily focus on young men, yet there exists a strong body of cultural work that portrays teenage female rebellion in a variety of ways. Written for a class on ideology and 1950s Hollywood cinema, this paper looks at the portrayals of female teen rebellion within both mainstream and exploitation film of the 1950s.  In the paper, I examine the films Rebel Without A CauseTeenage RebelHigh School Hellcats and The Violent Years and pay specific attention to the roles that sexuality, class and family life play in the rebel identity of teenage girls. Download PDF.


Sex and the Single Girl in Early 1960s Cinema, 2011
Written for a course on ideology of Hollywood films of the 1960s, this paper looks at how the films The Apartment, Where the Boys Are, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Sex and the Single Girl focus on single girls and their sex lives, or lack thereof.  Positioned a few years before the sexual revolution of the later 1960s, these films reveal the beginnings of change in American sexual mores. However, they also retain many of the traditional attitudes toward sex of previous decades. In the paper I explore how the films of the early 1960s portray this transitional moment of changing attitudes about women and sex. Download PDF.


Catherine Breillat as Auteur, 2010
This paper, written for a course on women directors, considers French filmmaker Catherine Breillat as an auteur. Breillat has directed thirteen films, all of which deal with the sexual and emotional lives of women from a female perspective. In this paper I look at three of Breillat’s films  — 36 Fillette, Romance, and A Ma Sœur — and argue that she is indeed an auteur in the way she destabilizes standard images of female sexuality through both characters and film technique. Download PDF.


Spaces of Modernity in Double Indemnity, 2009
This paper, written for a course on film theory, looks at how Billy Wilder employs “spaces of modernity” in his film Double Indemnity to represent the changing postwar society. The paper particularly focuses on how the absence of the city and the presence of the automobile and other private spaces in the film illustrate theorist Edward Dimendberg’s assertions that film noir expresses both nostalgia for older urban forms as well as fear of the postwar urban form. Download PDF.


The Objectification of Women in Advertising, 2009
This presentation on the Objectification of Women was used to teach media literacy to high school students. The intent of the presentation is to have students analyze the portrayed media images in order to discern the underlying messages and values they represent and to discuss the possible affects of these images. Download PowerPoint Presentation.